Mamas Retro

From exclusion to social enterprise

Mamas Retro is a non-profit organisation whose primary purpose is to offer rehabilitating employment in a second-hand shop. We sell children’s clothes, maternity clothes, toys and children’s articles.

The shop is run as a social enterprise with the aim of offering women and transgender people paths to empowerment, education and meaningful employment.

At Mamas, we want to change power structures by promoting entrepreneurship for women and transgender people from different backgrounds, who are far removed from the mainstream labour market.

We are grateful for donations of clothes, toys and other children’s products! Any profits are reinvested in the enterprise.

forum SKILL started Mamas Retro in 2011, as a joint project with Coompanion. The project was financed by Arvsfonden (the Swedish State Inheritance Fund), Västra Götaland Region and the city of Gothenburg. The aim was to create a space in which women’s entrepreneurship was in focus.

forum SKILL is contracted by the city of Gothenburg to conduct daily activities in line with LSS (The Swedish Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments) and has an agreement with the Swedish Public Employment Service to provide job training.

Mamas Retro’s second shop, Mamas Retro Gårdsten, was opened in 2014.

Accumulated knowledge and experience from Mamas Retro, both as a project and as a business, has resulted in several publications:

  • Mitt Livs Affär (The Business of My Life) – a presentation of Mamas Retro, the strategies we use in our work and short texts on the employees’ experience of and thoughts about Mamas.

  • Trivas på jobbet (Thriving at Work) – educational material on cooperation, responsibility and participation in the workplace.

Mamas Retro franchising – a social franchising manual

From a personal perspective

Linnéa, one of the entrepreneurs at Mamas Retro, gives her side of the story about getting back to work and society through a social enterprise:

Before I ended up at Mamas Retro, I had been home for six years due to mental illnesses. I never had a job. I was stuck, lost in bureaucracy, and I started to lose faith in ever getting back on my feet again. I was living in a bubble filled with depression and hopelessness. I thought that years just would keep on passing me by and that I would be stuck on welfare forever.

Luckily, that did not came true for me. So far, I have grown a lot during my time at Mamas Retro. I have found a bigger purpose and better structure in my everyday life thanks to having a place of work with real chores and where I am needed. My self-esteem has grown bigger and I have found my way back to interests and knowledge I thought were lost.  

At Mamas Retro I feel that I am being seen for what I can do, what I know and what I am good at instead for being seen for what I am not capable of and my dysfunctions. I am seen as a co-worker who is skilled and important, and not seen as a mental patient put in an arrangement.