Interview: Sisters Rising With Ethical Fashion
We asked the project creator of Three Birds One Stone a few questions about the inspiration behind the project, the challenges and their insights in running a crowdfunding campaign. Here is what they had to say,
- Where did you get the original inspiration for your project?
The team have always been passionate about women’s rights and sustainability issues, but the seed was planted after travelling to Cambodia in 2016 and participating in programs centred around maternity care and the treatment of cataracts in rural villages. The experience was great but it was clear that funding for the program was very dependent on ongoing intensive fundraising efforts and this was hampering the organisation and taking a heavy toll on some of its members, who were trying to hold down jobs in Australia while volunteering their services overseas.
The actual idea for Three Birds One Stone came several months after this trip and pretty much just came to Bri (although we had been looking at the social enterprise model more generally before that). Lots of discussions with friends and families helped validate the idea for us and Three Birds One Stone was born.
2.What was the hardest aspect of starting a project?
Starting a new project requires a lot of belief that what you are doing is worth all the effort that goes into getting it off the ground. For us it was really helpful to read inspiring stories about other people just like us that had achieved this. Reading about others who had dared to tread this path helped us understand that to succeed with a new idea you have to be prepared to take a chance and therefore you have to be prepared to fail. A failure shouldn’t mean the end of your project though. We try to maintain the attitude that we will do the project anyway, even if we don’t get startup funds, because it’s worth doing. As the poet Samuel Beckett said; “Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better. The world is yours…”
It starts with an idea, then there is the feasibility from a business perspective to consider. It’s one thing to have the desire to do some good in the world and another thing to back it up with a social enterprise model that actually generates enough profit to create real change and can be scaled up to achieve a substantial impact over time. Then there are the start-up costs to consider…
But if the initial idea is good enough (from a social perspective AND an entrepreneurial perspective), then often the rest will fall into place. You will have a strong belief in the why behind your project. You will get the support of friends and family. The money will come etc.
3.Why did you decide to crowdfund?
The short answer is that we worked out that we had some considerable start-up costs to get our project off the ground quickly. There are small grants available for start-up businesses and social enterprises but somehow they seemed less accessible than crowdfunding. The crowdfunding model works in well with social media tools and helps you connect with a grass-roots community of supporters that might end up turning into customers. Because we are looking to develop an online store for our ethical fashion products, it made sense for us to focus on quickly developing an online presence and social network, getting feedback from potential customers etc. Crowdfunding also forces you to develop a good pitch, which is essential to getting a startup project off the ground.
4.What does ultimate success look like for you and your project?
Success for us in the longer term would be a network of community-run coops established across multiple developing Countries such as Cambodia and Nepal, supported by a large and growing customer base and generating enough revenue to support a broad range of impactful community development projects that were genuinely improving the lives and trajectories of whole communities. At least two of us would have quit our day jobs to focus totally on Three Birds One Stone and we would have a strong network of employees, supporters, collaborators and project partners.
5.How are you keeping the momentum for your project going?
We are mainly working through social media and email to get the message out to our collective networks. The girls are over in Cambodia at the moment, so we are trying to time our campaign around this 3.5 week trip so we can provide regular updates and blog about progress in sourcing materials etc. This helps with the process of providing a steady stream of content to share on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Social media isn’t everything though, and I think that an event to kickstart the campaign would have been ideal, but this didn’t quite work out for us timing-wise.
6. Why did you choose StartSomeGood as your partner?
We looked at a number of different platforms and StartSomeGood just seemed like the best fit for a social enterprise such as ours. A number of the others are a bit more tech-focussed.
7. What kind of support do you think that changemakers in your community need?
I think case studies and blogs such as this are great because they give you the inside scoop on how it all works. It would be good to have more options that allow stronger connections with supporters perhaps. We need more options for connecting with our “virtual community-of-practice” in general that enable collaboration and partnerships to maximise our collective impact. In our case this is the ethical fashion industry and the international development sector.
Having the flexibility to choose between all-or-nothing and keep-what-you-raise would be good. Also, it would be good to have the ability to post on your crowdfunding page directly rather than have to go through social media all the time.
8. What would be your one piece of advice for people who want to make a positive impact?
Spend the time to really think through your idea. Talk to lots of people and really listen to their feedback. Refine your idea and test it again with your friends and family. When everyone is telling you that you have to do it, go for it! Then watch some youtube videos on how to develop a killer pitch…
9. What are you enjoying the most about StartSomeGood?
We are definitely getting some good support and advice from the StartSomeGood team on building the content for our campaign so that’s been great.
You can help support this project today! Click here to donate and become a #changemaker.
Do you have an idea to create a better future for your community? YOU can start some good today! Click here: buff.ly/2yya6iv #crowdfund #socent