Arms Around The Child: An Incredible Charity Doing Some Fantastic Work

This week I want to write about a charity called Arms Around The Child (AATC) that I have recently been in contact with over the possibility of developing a partnership with BODO. They are a fantastic organisation that does a lot of great work in incredibly impoverished parts of the world and I wanted to tell you a little bit about them and help promote their incredibly worthy cause.AATC
They were founded in 2012 with their mission being to provide safe, loving homes for children living in adversity. They have three main aims based around protecting children and providing a nurturing environment in which they can grow and achieve their full potential.
They do some incredible relief work within communities in India and South Africa that have been devastated by AIDS/HIV by helping to provide anti-retro viral treatment and providing the medical and social care needed to promote good health.
Another focus of AATC is to raise awareness of the plight of children living in communities that have been impacted by AIDS/HIV and/or living in parentless households, by conducting campaigns and promoting education and understanding. As well as this, the AATC is also determined to have a positive impact by increasing the understanding of governments by making them aware of the reality of the situation faced by children living in these communities, in the hope that they can bring about positive changes in policy to help the situation improve.
They provide a loving and nurturing environment to children who have lost their parents to AIDS or who are at risk of contracting HIV. They provide much-needed education on the subject, helping these children to understand the risks and how to keep themselves safe, they provide medical treatment and most of help to empower these children to go on to lead happy, healthy lives.
Describing their mission on their facebook page, AATC explain the dire situation of many orphans:
“Orphans are affected by many factors. Shame, fear, rejection, denial of basic education and health care, discrimination. Orphans suffer with depression, anxiety, neglect, emotional trauma with little or no support and this often results in exploitation and abuse. The future can be very bleak for these gorgeous children. Arms Around The Child aims to advance awareness of this horror and through Global media and campaigning we will engage the public and translate that engagement into action.”
I think they are an incredible organisation carrying out some really important work and they really deserve our support and respect. I have a great deal of admiration for the work that they are doing and hope that in the future, BODO can play its part in helping them to achieve their goals.

The Racism That Has Left Us All Reeling

The last few weeks have been incredibly shocking for myself as a British citizen. The EU referendum results have left everyone reeling and emotions are running high. Whilst I do not want to be drawn into the politics of either camp, one thing that I will speak out about is the incredibly horrifying racist attacks that have taken place since the result was announced. All over the country, race crime is being reported, as community centres, individuals and entire ethnic groups have been verbally abused and worse!
I can’t explain to you how upsetting this has been for me and basically all decent human beings who have functioning moral compass!
I was near tears as I watched a former soldier being abused by some unruly teenagers on a tram in Manchester, being told to get out of the country and having beer hurled at him on a crowded carriage! This gentleman remained calm and did not retaliate to this disgusting and vile attack, when many others would have. Another story that broke my heart, was about an elderly German lady in Chester, who had had excrement hurled and her door and suffered unspeakable abuse. This poor woman, who has lived in the UK since the 70s, has not left her house in 3 days because she was too afraid!! What kind of country have we become if our citizens are too afraid to leave their homes in case they are racially abused in their own neighbourhoods!!
I have spoken to friends and family, many of whom were born in the UK, but have non-white origins who claim that they are afraid when they travel alone, looking around nervously on trains and buses, hoping to see other foreign faces that might be allies if they are targeted by racists!
I have also read about the safety pin campaign that is gathering momentum, an American living in London started the movement on twitter, suggesting that people wear a safety pin to show their solidarity with immigrants. To show people that you are someone they can sit next to on a train, or a bus stop without fear of abuse or intolerance. It is a simple symbol, cheap and easy to obtain, without any affiliations to any political parties, but it lets people know that you are a friend not a foe.

The safety pin campaign started on Twitter

The safety pin campaign started on Twitter

I think it is an incredible idea, but it saddens me greatly that it has come to this. We shouldn’t have to look out for allies when we are out and about, we shouldn’t have to hope that we can go to the shops to buy some bread without people being told to “F**K off out of the country”!
There are no excuses for the disgusting, despicable, behaviour that we have seen in this country over the last few days and it is plain to see that there is something very, very wrong with our society. I can but hope that these horrible rifts that are appearing will heal soon and I urge all residents to show some compassion to their fellow man and stop this madness.

Recuperation Time

The last few months have been some of the most intense times I have ever experienced, with entering #VOOM and launching BODO’s Kickstarter campaign, I haven’t had a spare minute! I’ve been running on a highly charged tank of coffee and other caffeinated products and have almost forgotten what it feels like to have a full, normal night’s sleep!
Regrettably we were unsuccessful in the #VOOM campaign, just missing out on reach the final 80, by something like 17 votes and we also missed out on our Kickstarter target of £11,000 meaning that we won’t get any capital from this crowdfunding campaign.
Ideally it would have been better if there was a little more time between the two campaigns, but that’s just the way life goes and sometimes you just have to get scribbling in that diary and make time where previously you thought there was none! The first thing to get sacrificed in situations like this is sleep, so I feel like I have earned a few nights of well needed sofa and pillow time!

Where I'd like to be right now

Where I’d like to be right now

I won’t be doing anything too drastic though because there is still so much work to be done with BODO. I’m obviously a little disheartened by missing out on the Kickstarter funding, but I will be focussed on making sure not to dwell on the negatives and not letting the momentum slip away.
That being said, I know if I don’t let myself recuperate at least for a few days, I am going to end up burnt out and probably suffering from some sort of dreaded Manflu – that well known side-affect when you don’t eat or sleep properly for 2 months!

Where I actually am.

Where I actually am.

Ideally I’d love to go and spend a few weeks snoozing in a hammock

on some picturesque Caribbean beach somewhere, but that isn’t likely to happen so I’ll have to settle for a few days off in England and hope that the British summer wakes up from its hibernation and remembers that it’s supposed to be here by now! If I’m lucky, we might get a few days of sunshine so I can take my young daughter to the park!

The Kickstarter Results

So yesterday BODO’s Kickstarter campaign drew to a close at 1:00pm GMT, sadly we didn’t make it to the £11,000 target that had been set.  The amount we raised was just under half of what we needed, sitting at £5,090 when we ran out of time.  Because of the ‘all or nothing’ nature of the Kickstarter platform, sadly BODO won’t get any of that money, and those of you who pledged will not have the money debited from your accounts.
It has only been a few hours since the campaign ended and it is all still sinking in. I am obviously very disappointed that we didn’t reach our target amount and am going through it all in my mind.  I know that I can’t let this knockback stop us, or be defeated, but it is all still very fresh at the moment! I keep wondering if there was anything we could have done differently that would have had an impact on the end result, going over and over the various different options I came across during the campaign, but I know deep down that this kind of thought process is unhelpful as no matter how much you think about it, you can’t change the past!
One thing I am sure of though, is that I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated and helped to promote BODO’s cause by sharing our Kickstarter page on their social media platforms.  The support we have received both with this Kickstarter campaign and with the Virgin Media #VOOM campaign have been tremendous and I will be eternally grateful to all of those who leant a hand, reached into their wallets to pledge and shared our story with their family and friends.
I also want to show my gratitude to the BODO team who worked tirelessly to get everything ready for our campaign and promote it, we may not have been successful, but people’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.

That’s about all from me this week, I’m going to spend some quiet time digesting all that has happened in the last few weeks and seeing what lessons can be learned from it!
Once again though I want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to all of those who have supported BODO!

Bodo Logo2

BODO Kickstarter: 1 Week To Go

keep calm and crossed

this pretty much sums me up right now

The deadline for BODO to raise our Kickstarter target is fast approaching, there is just under one week to go as the deadline for pledges is Thursday 16th June, at 13:00 BST.
As I’m sure you can imagine, my world has revolved around our Kickstarter campaign for the last month or so. I’ve been focussed on creating a PR hurricane, making sure that we market it out successfully and try to reach as many people across as many different platforms as possible!
There is so much to running a good Kickstarter campaign, making sure you contact the right bloggers, websites, publications and ensuring that they have access to the right kind of material – good, solid content about your company, excellent photographs and other multi-media and of course a personable, informed point of contact should they wish to obtain any further information. Making sure that this is all in place is essential, there is absolutely no point asking people to write about you if don’t give them something good to write about!
The other thing that is really important is the aesthetics and the design of your Kickstarter page. I recently carried out a little bit of research on how we as people assess content on the internet, the way we subliminally react to certain triggers on a page without even realising! This is why the arrangement of your content is so important, as sometimes people don’t even realise they are unconsciously ignoring certain areas of a webpage or simply just can’t see where to click in order to donate to a cause!
This has all been stuff that I have been focussed on getting right for the BODO Kickstarter campaign, obviously I want to give it the best possible chance to succeed as it is really important to us!
As the closing date draws nearer, the nerves are creeping in a little bit and I find myself regularly checking on the amount we have raised so far. At the time of writing this post, BODO had raised just over £4,000 of our target of £11,000 (though I hope by the time you are reading this, we will have raised a lot more) so there is still quite a way to go. As this is my last blog post before the closing date, I want to take this opportunity to ask for your pledges a final time. Visit our Kickstarter page https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1647601013/buyonedonateone-bodo-footwear-0 and please pledge what you can! You can also help us greatly by sharing the link on social media pages! My fingers and toes are crossed!

Bodo Logo2

Pushing Kickstarter & Just Missing Out On #VOOM2016

As many of you are already aware, BODO entered the #VOOM competition at position 683 and after a strong surge of support, we made it into position 97 when the voting ended on the 23rd May 2016. Sadly, that was not quite good enough to make it in to the final 80 and the next stage of the competition, but I was so overwhelmed by the messages of support, the votes and the shares that we received during our push to succeed.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who took the time to vote for BODO for all their incredible effort and support. It was truly humbling to see how many people believe in BODO and want to see us succeed. To all those who voted for us and shared our posts to help us spread the word, I will be eternally thankful and despite the fact that we did not reach the final, your confidence in BODO has only encouraged us to increase our will to succeed! We were up against some amazing businesses and entrepreneurs and I wish those through to the final, the best of luck in the competition.
It was an incredible thing to be a part of and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been involved and for the wisdoms I have picked up along the way!BODO Infographic Sandal description
Though I feel as though I have asked a lot of you already, I need to ask people for their help once again as our need for your support is essential to our crowdfunding campaign. On the 17th May 2016, I set up a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise money for BODO Footwear (BuyOneDonateOne) although it’s been a challenge; we have been especially motivated by the excitement of knowing that BODO Footwear is such a worthy cause.
I am asking anyone out there who reads this blog to consider pledging towards this campaign. Our ambitious goal to complete is, to raise £11,000 in funds via Kickstarter to Launch BODO Footwear, as many of you know, this is a personal cause for me.
We have been in set up for approximately 4 years which is why your help and support will mean so much – pledges for a pair of BODO Sandals are £40.00 which will also generate a donation pair to a person in need, however you can pledge as little as £1.00
One day we will have sandals made from recycled vehicle tyres on the feet of every person in need, but until then please join me in supporting this very important cause.
See our Kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1647601013/buyonedonateone-bodo-footwear-0

BODO’s Kickstarter Campaign Goes Live & We Need Your Help!

Bodo infographic2

An infographic from BODO’s Kickstarter campaign

After loads of preparation and organisation, the moment is finally here as the BODO Kickstarter campaign has gone live!!
I’m conscious of the fact that just a little while ago I was asking you to help BODO and myself by voting for our pitch in the Virgin #VOOM competition and here I am again asking for your help once again. I hope though, that you can find it in your heart and your mouse to help support our cause as we will need all of our readers, fans, followers and friends to help us to reach our target. If you are in a position where you can donate to our campaign, then you can do so here:

Of course I understand that not everyone will be in the financial position to be able to donate but I’m hoping that you can still help us to spread the word and reach others by sharing our link on your social media platforms and enable us to reach more people!
I find it really difficult to find the words to describe what the last few months have been like, but I’m going to try, it has been totally hectic, exhilarating, informative and incredibly busy! What with entering Virgin’s #VOOM competition (which at the time of writing this post is still open and we need just a few more of your votes to make it through to the next stage of the competition) and then the launch of our Kickstarter campaign.

For me, it was paramount to get the Kickstarter campaign right and now that the moment is finally here and our appeal is up on the crowdfunding website, there is an element of relief that it is done, but of course this time is equally important, making sure that it is marketed and promoted in such a way that we give BODO the best chance to succeed.

We have set our target amount at £11,000, deciding after several discussions to opt for quite a small amount as we didn’t want to risk not meeting the target. This decision was made with careful consideration of Kickstarters “all or nothing” system, which basically means that the people who contribute are only charged for the money if we reach our set target. If we don’t make it to our set target, then we walk away empty handed.

The BODO Kickstarter campaign went live last week and we have 30 days to raise our target amount, the closing date for pledges is Thursday 16th June 2016 so please get clicking and sharing!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1647601013/buyonedonateone-bodo-footwear-0

An Appeal For Your Votes

VOOM BODO

A screengrab of our pitch whilst in 146th position

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been lucky enough to be chosen to enter BODO in the Virgin #VOOM competition for startups and entrepreneurs. Through this competition BODO can obtain much needed funding and/or tips and advice from the very best people in the business depending on how well we do. If nothing else, it has proved a fascinating and insightful experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed attending the pitch event a few weeks ago, I have already learnt some great things and met some very interesting people. But of course like the others, we are in it to win it and on Saturday 7th May my pitch for BODO entered in at position 687. After a few days of plugging the business across BODO’s various different websites and social media channels, as well as asking for support from friends and family who shared our pitch via Facebook and twitter, we made a huge leap up the rankings, making it to 155 in just 4 days. At the time of writing this, we are currently in 146 position, but I hope by the time you are reading this, we have climbed even further!
This post is basically asking for your help, if you read this blog, you probably fall into one of two categories, you are either a friend/loved one, or you are intrigued and interested in BODO and what the company hopes to achieve. I hope whatever group you fall into you will show your support for BODO by taking a few moments out of your day to click on the link and register your vote! You can register via LinkedIN or Facebook and it will literally take under a minute (I’ve timed it so I know). Those of you who are feeling particularly generous with your time/support then please feel free to share the link across your own social media platforms to help us to reach even more people and achieve our goals!
In case you missed it earlier, I’ll repeat the link again here: https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/bodo-footwear you can also watch our pitch video below!