Today (Monday, 10th January) former Big Issue vendor, Philip Waltham, who now runs his own multi-million pound sustainable fashion firm, has spoken out about how his time selling the magazine helped him start his multi-million pound business, Bulk Vintage Wholesale.
Philip Waltham sold the magazine for three years in Clerkenwell and Hampstead, London, after running away from his home in Hull as a teenager, to escape his drug addiction. The 44-year-old now credits his time spent selling The Big Issue with helping him develop the business acumen he needed to start his own sustainable fashion business, which currently turns over £9 million a year.
On first arriving in London, Philip found himself sleeping rough and ended up selling the magazine to keep up with his £30 a day drug habit – until he was offered help by Big Issue distributors at the time to battle his addiction.
Waltham opened up: “The Big Issue helped me put money in my back pocket and feed myself. They really did help me so much. They taught me how to respect myself, they taught me how to budget my money and how important a roof was. I had to have money to buy Big Issues so I could sell Big Issues and that taught me how to budget.”
He continued: “The thing that has saved my life is selling second-hand clothes and I wouldn’t be here right if it wasn’t for The Big Issue and my discovery of second-hand clothes.”
Waltham took his business skills from selling the magazine and put them into buying and selling second-hand clothes, and after two years as a Big Issue vendor he opened a market stall in Camden.