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My Dream Crazy Story: Starting a Social Enterprise
19 May 2015
As creator and Chief Energy Officer for new social enterprise Moeloco, I am often asked about the why and the how? Why I do what I do and how I am managing to pull it all together?
Moeloco means Dream Crazy and that seems to be the running theme throughout my career. Now as I work hard on building the Moeloco brand towards something that can help with transformational change in India, the dream is still crazy but it is also a reality.
I have been a bit of serial entrepreneur in the past with branding, marketing and design businesses on my CV. When I decided to start Moeloco in 2014, it was really the culmination of a 20-year journey of my own personal development. I had to go through the process to discover who I am and to appreciate and love my unique gifts and get those gifts working for me. And for Moeloco.
In realising my own self-worth and by accessing my source, I discovered a deep desire to inspire individuals to connect to their hearts, find their purpose and then touch and inspire others. This is what I call the ‘rippeople’ effect, ultimately improving humanity.
As I travelled through life and connected with like-minded people, one of the things that stopped me in my tracks was the discovery that there are 300 hundred million children in the world with no shoes, some dying from diseases obtained by being shoeless and many unable to access education as schools don’t allow children without shoes to attend. I knew I had to help.
That’s when I knew that Moeloco was going to be all about 'flip-flops'. We design and manufacture flip flops where each shoe has a positive message etched out of its sole: “I am Peace” “Because I’m Happy” “Live Love” and “Dream Crazy”.
These are phrases that represent a piece of my soul and when worn in the sand, the words are left as footprints. To me, the flip-flops were a perfect way not only to tell the story of these 300 million children without shoes across the world but also to provide shoes for them that could literally change their life.
For every Moeloco flip flop sold, we donate a pair of much needed shoes to orphans or street children in India being cared for by our charity partner, The Hope Foundation.
The Hope Foundation do an incredible job of educating and empowering women and young girls living on the streets or in slums in abject poverty in Kolkata. Kolkata is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women. The Hope Foundation is chipping away at making it safer and giving the girls and women educational and vocational strategies for change.
We mainly sell our shoes online and now have seven retailers on board. We are only five months old, with almost 1000 shoes sold and 400 shoes already being worn by the children of The Hope Foundation in India.
We’re making the dream a reality.
I often speak at events and people ask how I got here. How did it actually happen? How did I dream crazy and then turn that into a socially responsible business with the power to transform little lives across the other side of the world?
1. The Why
I have known for a long time that a socially responsible business with a focus on parallel giving was simply an extension of my soul and who I am as a person. But the more specific why of helping these children in India by providing an item of clothing we in Australia take for granted is what I have never lost sight of. Starting a business is never easy. When it gets tough and I have ‘those’ sorts of days I never second-guess myself because I know why I am doing this. And it’s worth it.
2. The Who
Knowing where my skills start and finish has been helpful. I am pretty tenacious and simply ask people for advice in the areas where I had no experience and no skill. If I get stuck with something I simply find the best person with the best experience to advise me.
3. The Work
It’s not glamourous. It’s not pretty. But neither is living on the streets in Kolkata. In this past year, I have put my head down and worked harder than ever before. Long hours, early mornings, late nights. I have never given up no matter how challenged I’ve been. When you are working with passion and perspective, working hard is easy.
4. The We
Networking and collaborations have been vital in getting Moeloco to where it is today. I attend and present at lots of events and have met the most incredible like-minded people. Some fantastic collaborations have started from putting myself out there. And of course I use social media to gather my tribe to support me and keep my dream alive.
The biggest lesson I have had to learn on this journey is about help. It’s one thing to ask for help but another to really receive it. I’ve had to accept people absolutely want to help without me feeling like I must pay them back all the time.
It truly is incredible what you can tap into when your passion, purpose, skills and dreams are all aligned. There is no limit.
For more information on Moeloco, go to: www.moeloco.com