Veronika Scott & The Empowerment Plan

I don’t need to tell anyone that there is a lot of pain and sadness in our world, there seems to be unnecessary death, Veronika Scott The Empowerment Plansuffering and violence, pretty much everywhere you look. Reading or watching the news can be a soul-destroying experience, but the way I counteract the negativity is to focus on doing good, on making a positive impact, not only through BODO, but with how I behave as a human being too. I also love reading about inspiring entrepreneurs who are putting their all into making this world a better place. Reading about the actions of these people, helps me to remember how much light and positivity there is in our world too.
One inspirational young entrepreneur that I read about recently, is a highly motivated young American woman called Veronika Scott. Scott somehow turned a college project into a lasting non-profit organisation called The Empowerment Plan, focussed on helping the homeless in Detroit, a city with a large population of rough sleepers, who suffer greatly during the exceptionally cold winters.
The idea for The Empowerment plan came about when Scott was a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. As part of one of her projects, she had the idea to create a sleeping bag that transformed into a coat and distribute these to the homeless, hoping that they would provide at least a little bit of comfort during the bitterly cold winter months.
The project transformed into something different, when whilst conversing with a homeless woman, Scott was told by the woman in question that really, the homeless needed jobs not coats. That was when the idea came about to somehow address both issues. The Empowerment Plan now educates and trains homeless women in the art of making these innovative coats/sleeping bags and employs them in the factory that produces the garments.
Since its inception in 2011, The Empowerment Plan has seen the production and distribution of thousands of these products and perhaps more importantly, has led to employment opportunities for several homeless women who previously would have had no means of supporting themselves and their families. The organisation works closely with local charities and shelters, helping the homeless to make contact with the right organisations and improve their situations.
Scott says that when she was starting up the organisation, she was told repeatedly that it would fail, not just because she had no business experience, but because the women she was hiring were not “capable”. I think it is safe to say that she has proved all the naysayers wrong! Scott says, “Every day I enjoy proving that the homeless women I hire are powerful and driven. I am so privileged to be a part of their lives.”
I hope she continues the fantastic work, the world needs more people like Veronika Scott!

BODO Headshots Photo Shoot: Take 2

So after all my ramblings the other week about the photoshoot with promotions agency Black and Blonde for some

At least we looked better than this in our pics!

At least we looked better than this in our pics!

well needed headshots, I have just found out that we need to take them all over again! This is not to detract from the incredible work from Black and Blonde that went into organising the whole thing, sometimes stuff like this just happens, but we are going to have to go through the whole rigmarole once again!
Currently there are two theories circulating about why the photographs will need to be taken again…Theory number 1 is that they were somehow corrupted when they were uploaded onto the computer and/or the photographer may have used the wrong kind of lens thus distorting all of our features. Theory number 2 is that we might not be as photogenic as we had hoped and I certainly know which theory I prefer. I’m not an overly vain person and neither are the rest of my team, but these pictures really didn’t do any one of us any justice, so the only logical thing to do is to get them done again…Take 2 here we come!
I was half tempted to put some of the most terrible ones up here, for you to all giggle at, but I don’t think that would make me very popular with my team, so I have decided against it!
Though it would have been nice to have been able to get the photos up on our website and in our promotional material after the first time round, because the team is super busy at the moment and we really need to get this material out there, one thing I am not disappointed about, is that it will be another good excuse to get the team all together again. After my musings last week about how good it is for team spirit to get everyone together all under one roof, I guess I should look on the positive side of this and focus on the good that comes out of another team meeting!
This time, we will all be going to a studio near Oval and fingers crossed to have the headshots taken and fingers crossed we will get some pictures where we don’t look like the cabbage patch kids!

Coffee With Lance Clark

Back in July, I wrote about the incredible meeting I had with Lance Clark, of the Clark’s shoes empire. After being

Lance Clark and I at our meeting last week

Lance Clark and I at our meeting last week

introduced by a mutual friend, Lance and I had a fascinating meeting whereby we discussed our social enterprises, mine being BODO and his being Soul Of Africa, a project which helps teach shoe-making skills to people in the poorest parts of Africa and provides an income to these people by selling the products online and in some of the many Clarks franchises across the UK.
In my July blog post about our first meeting, I expressed excitement at the prospect of working with someone like Lance Clark and this second meeting was set up so that we could have a catch-up and discuss the future of our social enterprises.
We met in a coffee shop in Kings Cross station last week and enjoyed a lengthy chat over a cup of warm caffeine. During our meeting, we updated one another on the latest developments of our respective enterprises and decided that because the goals and ambitions of BODO and Soul of Africa were so similar, (making a positive social impact in some of the poorest parts of the world) we decided that it made a great deal of sense to support one another in our ventures.
Soul of Africa ImageIn this second meeting, I found out more about the incredible work that Soul of Africa carries out, this project, not only sees valuable funds injected into projects to help children that have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic, but also provides local communities with the skills needed to find employment and economic sustainability. It provides an outlet for talented designers and artists to see their dreams come to fruition and allows people in the UK to really help in using the “Aid through Trade” business model. By using local workers and materials, Soul of Africa is helping to provide a steady and secure income for many people who would have otherwise had no means of supporting their families. It promotes projects that provide education and care for children who may have otherwise been destitute and trapped without hope in poverty’s vicious cycle.
I am really looking forward to the future of BODO and Soul of Africa supporting one another, with a shared vision to make a lasting difference!

BODO Team Headshots With Blonde and Black Publicity

Earlier this week the BODO team were brought together for a photo-shoot for some long overdue headshots that

One of the many great pics taken by Blonde and Black at our product photoshoot earlier in the year

One of the many great pics taken by Blonde and Black at our product photoshoot earlier in the year

were required for our press packs and multimedia. As the majority of the BODO team work from home, it was a nice excuse for us all to get together in person and have a catch up, although the majority of us were pretty reluctant about getting our mugshots taken.
I for one, hate posing for photographs and it is a sentiment shared by the majority of the team. Luckily I had the expertise of Blonde and Black publicity to call on to help bring out the camera-smiles and cajole my hesitant team into stepping in front of the lens.
BODO has been working with Blonde and Black Publicity for a little while now, earlier in the year we enlisted the services of this bespoke agency and have developed an excellent working relationship with them over the last few months. We used Blonde and Black services to create the fantastic array of publicity shots of our BODO sandal a few months ago and had a fantastic experience working with them. For me, the company has just the right balance, superb professionalism combined with a friendly and personable attitude that makes working with them all that more enjoyable and effective.
At the photo-shoot for the headshots, Blonde and Black co-founder Natalie Read was on hand to encourage my camera shy team into the spirit of it and there was an excellent makeup artist and photographer in the studio that managed to get the best out of everyone. It was also an opportunity to discuss future projects with Natalie, with some interesting input from the team too.
All in all, (once we got over our camera-phobias) it was a really pleasant experience and a highly productive evening.
With a great deal of startups, and as is the case with BODO, many of our team members have other jobs, or work from home in different parts of the city, so occasions where we are all under the same roof and get to see each other face to face can be hard to come by. I do try to get the team together as often as possible, but with the majority of us living firmly in the clutches of the London Rat-Race, it can be difficult to do it as often as I would like! When you do manage to get everyone in the same place, I find myself reminded of the importance of team get-togethers like this one!