The 2B-Community impact investment fund, which was established by Yoel Cheshin, is making an initial investment in the social fashion project Co.Co. The fund will purchase the project for about 2 million shekels. The fund was established in 2015 by Cheshin, and was later joined by Shahar Botzer, Chairman of Issta Lines. Chechin is the son of the late Judge Mishael Cheshin and Ruth Cheshin.
“What stood before us in establishing this fund was the corporation’s commitment to the array of players that come in contact with it”, says Cheshin in a conversation with “Globes”. “It is important to us that the values of business are directed towards the promotion of social goals, as in the case of Co.Co. We went through a long line of searches for a project that would meet our criteria and to my delight we found Co.Co”.
Dalia Kapuza and Tzafra Perlmutter, both of whom had a background in fashion design and entrepreneurship, established Co.Co in 2013. Perlmutter, who serves as CEO, tells us that: “the idea was conceived in order to establish a just and contributing company, one which belongs to the masses of customers and which also gives them value in return. The rationale was to fight the injustice. It is difficult to tell the upper 1% to distribute the money to the 99% who do not enjoy it and it is difficult to tell the poor to work harder. Our only choice is to find a different model. We said – let us take a simple product that is a regular expense in every home and turn it into an investment. Our highest salaries are limited to no more than ten times the lowest salaries, there is a clear declaration about employment diversity, and this comes from an understanding that gender inequality is not just a problem for women, but for men as well. In addition, we contribute to the community, for instance by holding an open event with a lecturer, who talks about spiritual enrichment, and in general – 10% of our profits go to the community. We do this by selling clothes whose time has passed for 50 shekels. Most fashion companies have them shredded; we conduct an online sale, with the money being donated at the end of the year.”
Perlmutter objects to defining the project as a store. “It is a platform for a collaborative economy”, she says, seeking to correct and refine the definition of the start-up. “All of our partners (about 560) purchased products in advance. We seek to create a better mechanism, and apply it to the world we know – The fashion world. When we set up operations, everyone had raised an eyebrow and said that this an elitist indulgence. However, textile is the fourth largest economic sector in the world and it needs to be changed. We do not need to consume less, but perhaps we should produce less.”
Cheshin adds: “the professional part of the business is important to us because we need to establish the strength of the impact investment. Co.Co is a business that generates women’s fashion through an interesting model that is committed to the community, thus calling upon civil society to favor them.”
– Are you looking into additional investments?
“We are in negotiations with several other business. It is an interesting and fascinating world, and over the coming months we will make additional investments.”
– Do you think that impact investments are not just a trend?
“I believe that they express the zeitgeist as well as pave the way. I am certain that it will grow stronger”.