Melbourne-based social enterprise MET is combining a passion for literature and the desire to help those who can’t read – the results being a solution everyone can be a part of.
Think of it as wearable literature: clothing and accessories with literary quotes that make you think, with funds invested in the education of those who need it most.
We were so inspired by this new idea that we caught up with co-founder Matthew Taylor to hear more.
What is MET?
MET is a social enterprise dedicated to raising literacy and numeracy standards by creating beautiful fashion and accessories. MET products celebrate language, ideas and creative expression. Our first line of products is the Literature Series, which consists of five T-shirts inspired by timeless literary classics. We have successfully launched this series through a crowd-funding campaign on Pozible. Future products will explore other creative fields such as art, philosophy, music and cinema. We also plan to expand into stationery to provide the tools people need to keep creative. Our main focus is on Indigenous and refugee communities and the scope extends to some of the most remote areas in Australia.
How did you come up with the idea?
In typical Melbourne fashion, it all started with a cup of coffee. While writing at one of my favourite cafes, I discovered that particular sentences, when framed and presented in an unexpected way, can actively engage a reader’s mind and encourage them to investigate and explore beyond the text. Each MET product is uniquely designed to celebrate and promote active participation in artistic and cultural life. I soon realised there was close alignment between the function of our products and empowering disadvantaged people to participate more actively in our society and reach their potential. This alignment between business and social mission made me consider establishing MET as a social enterprise to create positive change in our community. It was at that point that co-founder Jack Lang joined the project, and later Amy Gilmour.
Our business and profits are dedicated to raising literacy and numeracy standards for all children. That’s why we have partnered with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF), a charitable foundation with significant expertise in this field. The impact we want to achieve is for all children to obtain the basic skills necessary to succeed in education and in life.
If your business was a person, how would you describe them?
MET would be wise and creative with an inquisitive mind but also a bit rebellious, cutting against the grain and challenging the status quo. You’d probably find MET exploring the hidden treasures of Melbourne, highly caffeinated, dressed in tweed and juggling a briefcase, coffee and a hardcover book with paint- or ink-stained hands!
Where does the name MET come from?
MET is short for ‘metamorphosis’, a single word that defines the heart and spirit of our social enterprise. We aim to empower some of the most marginalised members of our community to transform their circumstances through education – a metamorphosis, if you will.
So who else is on the team and what brought you together?
I am a lawyer, Jack is a banker and Amy works in wine marketing, but it was our shared love of language, ideas and creative expression that brought us together to create MET. I have known Jack since high school and Amy has been my best friend since we were 15!
We were extremely fortunate to have obtained a world-class education, and also have a common understanding that millions of Australians are not so lucky. We wanted to contribute our time and individual skill sets to a creative project and social cause we are passionate about.
What is the big dream for MET?
It has been humorously said that a social enterprise’s big dream is putting the enterprise out of business; that is, be so successful that you solve the social problem. Our vision is a commercially-viable business that achieves tangible, sustainable outcomes for those in need.
Do you have favourite literary quote? (Okay, we’ll let you have two!)
There is mercy in letting me choose two! I’ll make my life easier and choose two favourite opening lines from literature:
‘All this happened, more or less.’ – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
‘The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.’ – Samuel Beckett, Murphy
Why are they favourites? They are beautifully crafted sentences and make me want to read more.
Fashion, literature and helping people learn to read…Sign us up! This Pozible campaign ends Monday 16th November – help them reach their goals here.