Figuring out 'how it Should be'

2013-14 Scholar Zoe Draisey reflects on her recent work placement with social enterprise hiSbe.

A leap of faith…

After I finished my Zoology degree in 2008 I did the travelling thing for a year, before joining M&S HQ.  Although it was a good job, I could not shake off the feeling that I was ignoring my true passion for sustainability.

After much deliberation, I discovered Forum’s Masters course, took the plunge and I can safely say I have not looked back!  Here’s just one of the reasons why:

From large to small…

I think it was during my second week at Forum that I found out that my first placement would be with hiSbe in Brighton, which is a completely new type of food retailer.  Comprising just three members of staff, it certainly contrasted to the 3,000 strong office that I had left behind at M&S!  With my background in food, it seemed as though it was meant to be that I should be given a placement with a start-up supermarket.

As I strolled along Brighton beach heading to hiSbe for my first day, I felt a mix of emotions ranging from anxiety to excitement.  This was mainly due to that fact that I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but also because I was slightly in awe of the monumental task that the two sisters, Ruth and Amy, had embarked upon.

When I arrived I was greeted by a relaxed, friendly and dynamic atmosphere and could tell that I was going to really enjoy the experience.  It was very clear that they had put their all into creating hiSbe and I just could not wait to learn all about it.

Putting some ethics back into the food chain…

hiSbe stands for ‘how it Should be’ and its purpose is to help make the food industry fairer and more sustainable.  Boldly venturing onto the Brighton food scene, hiSbe has a unique set of values and principles which stand out amongst the blandness of the supermarket norms that we have come to accept.

A very lucky scholar…

I consider myself very lucky to have been there for the six weeks building up to the grand opening of the store, and I felt privileged to be part of a whole range of lively and interesting debates about how the store would operate.  Not only was it fun and exciting, but I also gained valuable experience in being part of a team working towards such an important deadline, learning how to navigate the unanticipated obstacles inherent in start-ups.

The hiSbe team have taken their passion from an idea to a reality, which was both fascinating and extremely motivating to witness.  It’s great to see such an open and honest food business taking such pride in their values which are central to all that they do, and I really hope there will be more hiSbes to follow!


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