Meet The Young Melburnian Using Fancy Pyjamas To Help Young People Sleeping Rough

“I think that Australians need to realise that anyone can find themselves without a place to sleep at night.”

Brought to you by ING DIRECT Dreamstarter

Brought to you by ING DIRECT Dreamstarter

One Night Stand was made possible thanks to ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter crowdfunding project, turning big ideas into social change. To get involved and make a difference, head here.

With youth unemployment at its highest level in years, more young people are sleeping rough; social workers in Brisbane have noticed a marked uptick in homelessness in the inner city, and Sydney’s Belmore Park is now home to a makeshift ‘tent city’.

But there is some good news out there too. Making a small but symbolically powerful contribution to helping out is One Night Stand, a sleepwear brand that donates a portion of its profits to organisations supporting young Australians sleeping rough. Every sale goes towards a meal for a young person, as well as shelter and employment projects. We spoke with founder Jamie Green about his uniquely progressive brand: the highs, the lows, and a brush with sleeping rough himself.

Why Youth Homelessness?

Youth homelessness isn’t a cause Green is passionate about from a comfortable distance; before One Night Stand had come to fruition, it became a very real prospect for him just a few years ago. “It’s more that I became passionate about helping youth homelessness through my own experiences with hardship,” he said.

Green was running a financially-unsuccessful cafe in Melbourne and had ended up sleeping on its floor after coming up short on his rent. For both his livelihood and his entrepreneurial ambitions, the future looked bleak. Luckily, he managed to sell off the cafe and come out on top of his debts. “Once I got back on my feet I felt compelled to create a business that addressed the issue creatively,” he said, “For me, it starts with the cause.”

What Do You Think is One of the Bigger Public Misconceptions about Youth Homelessness?

“That they are all drop kicks who don’t want to work. To be frank, I think that’s what people tend to assume,” says Green. According to horrifying statistics from the ABC, nearly half of Australia’s homeless population are under the age of 25 and yet, in the public conversation, the issue is riddled with misconceptions and misguided assumptions.

“The issue is so layered, so misrepresented. It’s complex and widespread – from everyday people having a bad run to those experiencing all kinds and all levels of personal suffering,” he says. “I think that Australians need to realise that anyone can find themselves without a place to sleep at night.”

Courtesy of One Night Stand.

What Sets One Night Stand Apart From Its Competition?

While One Night Stand is first and foremost a business, supporting young Australians sleeping rough is the ethos that drives Green’s project; if One Night Stand does well, so do young people sleeping rough.

“I believe that young people will help other young people when they’re given the chance — and it helps if it appeals to them,” Green says. “I think it’s important for social enterprises to hold their own in their markets, otherwise the business is really no different from a charity and doesn’t maximise the potential to change the business landscape.”

What Does A Typical Day At One Night Stand Involve?

“Today I flew from Queensland to Melbourne and have had a meeting with Grill’d, picked up a few new items for our next drop and caught up with our photographer,” says Green, “Every day is a different day for me!”

Is There One Person (Apart From Yourself) Who Was Instrumental in Starting One Night Stand?

Ever a humble entrepreneur, Green insists it took collaboration from talented colleagues to get One Night Stand up and running. “I can’t really name one person, but there’s at least a handful of key people that continue to help the brand grow,” he says. “To me, a good entrepreneur recognises that they aren’t the best at everything and surrounds himself or herself with talented people who complement their skills.” Basically, don’t turn a blind eye to the infuriating mates of yours who know their way around HTML coding.

What Part is Crowdfunding Going to Play in Future Start-Ups?

For young entrepreneurs (and the showrunners of your favourite axed TV shows), crowdfunding is becoming an almost essential part in getting fresh ideas off the ground. “[Crowdfunding’s] definitely a valid option for start-ups,” Green says. He got the ball rolling on One Night Stand after a successful crowdfunding campaign with ING DIRECT Dreamstarter, and the business soon found steady footing with a few brand partnerships. Ultimately, Green found convincing his loved ones of the legitimacy of his business most difficult. “It wasn’t until Grill’d Burgers and ING DIRECT supported us with our launch campaign that my friends and family started to think it was an actual thing and not just another crazy Jamie idea,” he says.

What Advice Would You Give to Young People Sleeping Rough?

“For the young people sleeping rough: reach out and ask for help! I know it can get dark — I shut all my closest friends and family out — but once you park your pride, just ask, you’ll be surprised by the help you can find,” said Green, “It’s clichè, I know, but there really is no knowing if you don’t ask.”

Where’s One Night Stand Going In The Future?

Not just content to keep things safe at home, Green already has one eye on expanding overseas as well: “We just signed a deal with a big retailer so we will give Australia a run then try and crack the US market,” he says. “As 17 percent of our fans are from the States and there’s so much work to be done to support youth homelessness there.”

How Does It Feel to Look Back At Your Journey With One Night Stand?

From sleeping on the floor of his cafe to signing partnerships with major brands and even having a crack at the US marketplace, Green’s journey is far from your typical business origin story. “Recently we signed off on a huge deal with one of Australia’s biggest retailers, and when I read that email it felt like I gained back ten years of my life,” he says. “I am incredibly proud and humbled with where we’ve come.”

Head to ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter to find out how to make your dreams possible.

Sean is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with an unhealthy addiction to movies. He also tweets irregularly from @ssebast90.