Women in Need Cooperative

Women in Need (WIN) is a community cooperative that has been supporting women in the Victoria community for thirty years. They believe women, trans, non-binary, and Two Spirit people deserve equal voice and opportunity to provide healthy, environmentally and financially sustainable lives for themselves and their families in a vibrant and supportive community. We interviewed Jasmine Phillip, WIN’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, to learn more about WIN and their passions. 

What does Women in Need provide, and what is the mission behind it? 

“Victoria Women in Need is a non-profit community cooperative. We operate three re-sale stores and one online shop in Victoria. We use the revenue from our stores, as well as financial donations to cover the cost of our operations and to fund our five empowerment programs for women, trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people. Through those programs, we’re there along their unique journeys between crisis, self-sufficiency, and wellness. And we’re there at each step of the way of that journey.”

How did Women in Need begin? Tell us about the history behind it. 

“WIN started as a non-profit society in 1991 and was created by our founders. Thanks to their ingenuity and courage, they found practical and sustainable solutions for supporting women who were leaving abusive relationships. They had one shop, and through that one shop funded our two original programs, our new start and our gift certificate program. Since then we have expanded our programs and our shops, thanks to the passion and dedication of everyone involved, and our very generous community. In 2006 we became a cooperative, and we’re very excited to say that it’s our fifteen year anniversary of that, and quite a milestone for us. We deeply appreciate all of our customers and donors, because without them, we couldn’t do what we’re doing to support women, trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people in our community.” 

How do you think your business positively impacts the community? 

“Through our five empowerment programs, we support women, trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people with relevant referrals, emergency funding, food gift certificates, as well as gift certificates for our stores, so that they can access the essential items that they need. Our transformation self-sufficiency programs are designed to support them along their unique journeys towards financial independence and wellness. Through our new start program, which is unique to our community, we support women who are leaving transition houses. We supply them with furniture and household items, and everything that they need to start their new homes and their new beginnings.”

“In 2020, we supported over 1500 women, trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people through our five empowerment programs, along their journey between crisis, self-sufficiency, and wellness.”

What is one thing you wish you could tell someone who has never heard of WIN? 

“WIN is so much more than a thrift shop! We provide essential services for the community and by shopping, donating, volunteering, our supporters are improving the environment, as well as helping our community be strong and healthy.”

Is there any special ingredient to keeping your business successful? 

“WIN’s special ingredient is definitely community. WIN’s strength comes from the dedication of its members, donors, shoppers, and volunteers, as well as our staff, and the huge generosity of our community.”

What is the workplace culture like at WIN? 

“We have a shared commitment to our mission and our programs, as well as our values of empowerment and diversity. We care deeply about our environment and the community, and we’re a really dedicated group of people. And we love working at WIN!”

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