For Lauren Shuttleworth, the mission of her social enterprise, Words With Heart, is well close to her heart.
“I was volunteering at a school in Kenya a couple of years ago and was hugely affected by the number of girls I saw dropping out of school simply because they were unable to afford the school fees,” she told Upworthy in an email.
She wanted to find a way to “provide a sustainable funding source to see these women and girls through school.” So she came up with Words With Heart, an eco-friendly stationery company that also funds women’s and girls education projects.
Why girls’ education?
Convinced? Lauren’s future customers were.
After Lauren came up with the idea for Words With Heart, she set off to start a crowdfunding campaign.
They needed to pre-sell at least $15,000 of stationery to get things off the ground. She started a Facebook page and began sharing videos and posts of Words With Heart’s crowdfunding campaign.
After 30 days, due in large part to the connections made through Facebook, Words with Heart had pre-sold $20,000 worth of stationery.
Lauren has come out on the other end of her enterprise with some great tips for anyone starting their own thing.
1. Reach out for help.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of reaching out and connecting with those that can help your business. Its amazing how much support will come your way if you simply ask for it.”
2. Tell your own story.
“I’ve also learned that being authentic, transparent and telling your personal story goes a long way. … I quickly realised that on the occasions when I shared a bit of my story on our Facebook page, our sales always went up.”
3. Remember your “why.”
“When things get hard go back to your WHY. When I make a mistake or something goes wrong (which happens A LOT) I go back to my passion for womens’ and girls’ education. I’ll read the stories from our charity partners and remember the reason why I started the business and what its really all about for me.”
In love with with this image from our incredible charity partner @onegirlorg. They’re currently recruiting for 200 passionate, committed ambassadors to join them in leading a movement in girls education. Check out all the deets via www.onegirl.org.au/ambassador
A photo posted by Words With Heart Stationery (@wordswithheart) on
For Lauren, the why is crystal clear. As she puts it,
“Life for a girl receiving an education is filled with opportunity. These girls will live longer, healthier lives, get married later, have fewer, healthier children, and earn more than they would have without an education.”
Words With Heart is currently funding primary and secondary education projects (along with some small business training) in Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Working alongside charity partners such as OneGirl.org.au, and Care.org.au, each stationary product funds a specific number of education days for women and girls in the developing world. Each product shows where its funding goes and how many days of education your money will buy!