“One of the biggest benefits of working with True Accounting is having an arm’s length relationship. They can question what we do, but they aren’t intimately involved in the business on a day to day basis. I think that really contributes to the overall governance of Two Good… especially of the foundation.” – Kyle Westgarth, General Manager, Two Good Co.
Two Good Co. is a social enterprise that focuses on providing employment opportunities to vulnerable women. The organisation oversees two separate businesses – Good Food, working in catering and events and Good Things, a toiletries and lifestyle business.
We spoke with Two Good’s General Manager, Kyle Westgarth, about the ups and downs they’ve faced over the last two years and how they navigated the challenges. Plus, Kyle also gives us some insight into their relationship with True Accounting.
From soup kitchen to major social enterprise
Two Good started in 2015 when founder Rob Caslick opened a small soup kitchen in Kings Cross. He served delicious food to the local community and found opportunities to support some of area’s less fortunate residents. His initial ‘Buy One, Give One’ dining model meant that for every meal sold, they would give an identical meal to a local women’s refuge for domestic violence survivors.
While the first week wasn’t immediately a huge success, there was a gradual increase in demand and other women’s services started requesting the meals. Since then, Two Good has evolved into so much more. Kyle explains:
“Rob wanted to understand why people specifically wanted their food… Sydney isn’t a city where people usually go significantly hungry. There are a lot of great food services like OzHarvest and Foodbank… they do a really good job on that front. The difference was that this food was beautiful and made people feel like they were worthy of something special. It wasn’t a foraged find or recycled or donated… it was made with intent for them.
Off that basis the business began to grow and not long after we were able to start employing people from some of the shelters… and over time that became the core focus.
We exist to be a platform to make a change in people’s lives. We say that we believe in people until they believe in themselves again. We do that by offering vulnerable women – those who have experienced trauma and domestic violence – a job in our business.
We’ve found that when we put someone into meaningful employment and we support them to rediscover themselves, it really builds their confidence and puts them on the right footing to be able to get back into the workforce.
We train people in specific skills… especially hospitality, but our program and organisation are about demonstrating to people that they are worthy and helping them find their sense of self-worth and self-respect after they have been through a difficult time in their lives.
Our Good Food business does regular office catering… everything from boardroom lunches through to high end corporate events. And in Good Things we produce beautiful premium toiletries like hand soaps, body products, candles and other gift items.
We still provide about 600 meals a week to women’s services and the purpose is not about ensuring people are fed – it’s really about providing people with their highlight meal of the week. It’s really good food, created for them, supplied in lovely packaging, and we hope that it makes people feel worthy of something beautiful.”
The COVID pivot
With their main businesses closely connected to offices and hospitality, Two Good was significantly impacted when COVID-19 hit Australia.
People working from home and no regular corporate events meant their catering service stopped… and even though they do sell Good Things products via retail channels, many of their major clients are restaurants or office buildings. Essentially, both areas of the business came to a grinding halt.
But Kyle explains they were able to make a successful change to their business model:
“We were very lucky to have some government funding and support from philanthropists right at the start of the pandemic, but we had to come up with a way to keep running… we had to pivot the business.
Working with some of our amazing partners like Lendlease, Charter Hall and Amex, we started sending out ‘work from home’ care packs.
We sent them to employees and each pack included a little candle, a room spray and some meals to keep them going.
These packs have really helped get us through the tough period and we’ve actually become busier than ever! We’ve been able to bring on more people, which means we’ve filled more places in our Work Work program and we are really looking forward to people coming back into the office so our core businesses can come back online.”
Cookbooks and a Goodcierge
In addition to the care packs Two Good have also been working on a cookbook. Two Good Cookbook Two – Recipes for Resilience was released at the end of October 2021 and features recipes from many popular chefs intertwined with stories of courage.
Plus, they have also been hard at work developing a partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation. Kyle tells us:
“The Paul Ramsay Foundation is relocating its office and they have invested in a precinct that they are developing for not for profits. Their vision is that their new office building will be a gathering place for the NFP and social enterprise community… to provide them a meeting space.
We tendered to run their catering kitchen, a small cafe and the ‘Goodcierge’ service at Yirranma Place in Darlinghurst. We are very excited to have a team of about eight or nine working there… plus another ten program positions for people to come and work with us. They can work in the kitchen but also front of house where they will learn customer service skills on the concierge team.
The office was meant to open in October but was pushed back because of the recent Sydney lockdowns. It now opens in January 2022 and we will be with them for the first three years at least. It’s going to be great.”
Partnering with AFG
Kyle joined Two Good in 2019 and knew quite quickly that she needed to change the financial management. Two Good has a unique structure with a trading social enterprise as well as a not for profit foundation. These two entities work together to deliver programs and services, as well as selling products and services. Kyle understood the complexity involved in managing them.
“When I started, we had two separate bookkeepers managing the two separate entities and it wasn’t really working. An old colleague of mine recommended True Accounting and suggested I speak with Kirsten to see what AFG could do for us.
I know our finances were a bit of a mess when they first came onboard and it probably took six months to a year to get everything up to the standard where I wanted it to be. Since then, their insight into the not for profit world has been really valuable.
I started with Glenn as my account manager and he knew so much about the NFP side of accounting, it really helped us set everything up in a structured way and helped us to oversee the governance of the two entities. More recently I’ve been working with David who has a bit more commercial experience, which is the right fit for us now!
From our point of view, we aren’t big enough to have a finance department; we wouldn’t choose to have a finance manager because the role is too varied. On one end we need people who can reconcile accounts and the other end we need strategic advice and direction. For our size right now, having an outsourced team that can do everything for us, from banking and payroll through to supporting me with budgets and auditing… it really works. Maybe when Two Good is a $20million company it might be different, but while we are this size, AFG is the perfect solution for us.”