On day one, a stranger donated his Hi-Fi for our opening night. As time has passed, we have increasingly found ourselves at the centre of a Coffee, Cake & Kink community. People who might not normally meet, and activities that do not normally go together all that comfortably, do so under the Coffee, Cake & Kink banner. Goodwill has snowballed from there, and in no time we have become the keepers of a Lovemark rather than owners of a brand.

We have now brought together 400 or so pages of CCK guest books with people's comments and art. Together they tell a story of the community we serve, their naughty thoughts, heart-breaks and romance, and they create a uniqely personal snapshot of Londoners.

Why A Social Enterprise?

cck team 2012 alana

You may not think of Coffee, Cake & Kink as a social enterprise. We didn’t, either. Over time, we have come to see that social enterprise has always been at the heart of our work. Alana Cassidy, one of CCK's founders, talks about what it means for us, and the community we serve.

When did you start associating the term 'social enterprise' with Coffee, Cake & Kink?

To be honest, it came out of our frustration with the prejudice we have encountered looking for new premises on the high street and having to explain ourselves again and again, only to never hear back. We needed something that landlords, and others, could understand and associate us with. When we started looking closely at what it was we were doing, and invited third party advisers to help us look at things with fresh eyes, it was suggested to us that we might be a social enterprise.

We then started looking at other organisations, seeing what they were doing and thinking ‘yes, we do that’. We looked at social enterprise websites and saw the other social enterprises that were out there, and the work they were doing in their communities. We started to see that you could act like a business and do social work at the same time. At the same time, given our name and the nature of our work, a ‘social enterprise’ association both strengthens the organisation by opening doors, and helps us fulfil our barrier-breaking mission by taking the word ‘kink’ into the mainstream.

Coffee, Cake & Kink As A Social Enterprise

CCK1 PR GuestBoard 001What is a ‘social enterprise’?

The definition of a social enterprise is the subject of some debate, but in essence, social enterprises are businesses that trade for social or environmental purposes, and usually for the benefit for a clearly-defined community. They can be any sort of business, with any legal structure, providing any kind of commercial goods or services; but they exist principally to promote their social or environmental projects, not to make profit for shareholders. All, or the majority of, profits from the business are invested back into its social or environmental aims.

As of 2013, the Government estimated that there were about 68,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24bn to the economy and employing 800,000 people. This figure is likely to keep increasing throughout 2014.

Various surveys, notably the 2009 State of Social Enterprise Survey, have consistenly found that social enterprises appear to be weathering the recession well and are much more optimistic about the future than other businesses. Social enterprises exist in many different business sectors. However, we believe we are the first and so far the only social enterprise working for the kink community, and one with rock-solid credentials.

How is Coffee, Cake & Kink a ‘social enterprise’?

Coffee, Cake & Kink was founded to make a comfortable space for the kink community to inhabit, a space that people could use to find out information, meet new people, learn to accept themselves or help others accept them; all with a good cup of coffee and some divine cake. We all have social needs - shelter, a place to belong - and kink and alternative communities have always struggled to claim their own. Coffee, Cake & Kink helps to create these spaces, physically, online, or just within people's minds and souls. If that's not a social aim, we don't know what is!

Moreover, we have never been an organisation that’s just about profit. Although we need to make a profit to be able to do our work, it is not our purpose. We also have multiple bottom lines.