My Incredible Experience With “Pitch to Rich” and #VOOM

At the start of April I received a phone call from #123VOOM where I was told that I’d been successful in my initial application. I’d initially applied through 123Reg (#VOOM’s partners for 2016) and it was a great feeling to be told that my pitch had been one of the few selected out of approximately 6000 applicants to get to the next stage! VOOM
I was invited to a “Team Clinic” day on the 12th April which took place at The Hospital Club in London and was given the opportunity to listen to expert advice on putting together an awesome pitch. The Team Clinic day was a truly incredible experience and I met some really inspirational people who gave me some really sound advice that is not only invaluable in helping me to shape my pitch, but that I feel will also be really useful for the future of BODO. At the end of the day, there was a chance to meet journalists and do a little bit of informal networking, which I thoroughly enjoyed and thought was very useful.
I had to be prepared to give a two-minute pitch and could provide supporting material such as a PowerPoint presentation. Probably the hardest thing about the whole thing for me was ensuring that I didn’t go over the two-minute time limit (this is definitely not allowed) as I love to talk about BODO and the vision I have for the company! But with some practise I managed to get the pitch down to the required time and was pleased with my delivery on the day. Now I am just preparing to make a formal pitch via #VOOM and hoping I make it through to the next stage of the competition!
Before attending the event, all applicants were advised to think about what makes their pitch really stand out from the crowd, to make sure our pitch including the things that made our idea special and innovative. As a little heads up, we were advised to listen to a TED Talk by the inspirational Simon Sinek, who is a renowned motivational speaker and leadership consultant. His talk was fascinating and I feel it gave some really good ideas, so I’ll leave you with that for today and hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.

An Action-Packed April

Last month has been a pretty hectic one for me, initially I assumed that all my energy would be focussed on getting the BODO Kickstarter campaign just perfect (watch this space for more info on that) but little did I know that the universe had other ideas! First I was offered the brilliant opportunity to be interviewed by renowned sustainable lifestyle magazine Sublime!
Then I was also contacted by Richard Branson’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ competition and was chosen to attend an event on the 12th April where I got to make a 2 minute pitch, but that deserves its own blog post so I will go into more detail about that next week. Obviously these were opportunities that I’d be foolish to turn down, so April turned into something of a whirlwind of a month for me! I’ve been so busy that I can’t describe, but it really has been the best kind of busy! Working on projects like this is something I find really exhilarating! bodo pic sublime
The Sublime interview featured on their website on the 21st April and I am really chuffed to have been given such a great opportunity. Sublime are arguably one of the best and oldest sustainable fashion magazines, with a huge readership. After their inception in 2004, they quickly grew as it became clear that people wanted to read a publication with intelligent content and ethical values.
I have read Sublime for many years and especially since I founded BODO as I believe it is a magazine with similar ethical values and ideals. The interview covers what inspired me to start BODO, how the idea came about, my biggest challenges, my hopes for the future, my motivations and much much more!
The article was written by the wonderful Charlotte Marceau who really captured the essence of the message I was trying to get across to the Sublime readers. It was a great experience to be featured in a publication as high profile and admired as Sublime and I am very grateful for the opportunity to feature BODO’s ideas and vision on their platform.
If you haven’t already, then you can read the article here: Please feel free to share it on your social media platforms and help us to promote BODO!

Earth Day: Doing Our Bit

Last Friday it was Earth Day 2016 and whilst I always try to be an environmentally conscious person, I always find Earth Daythat the incredible movement that Earth Day is an inspiration to do even more. Having a positive impact on this planet is always something that has been important to me and it is one of the reasons I started BODO, not just to help people living in poverty, but also as a way of using a globally abundant resource such as car tyres and putting it to good use by recycling it and making it into a product that can make a positive difference in people’s lives!
Since becoming a father a few years ago, it has become even more important. I want my daughter to be able to enjoy our world, to be able to go out for a walk without having to wear a smog mask, to be able to live in an amazing city like London, without being afflicted with respiratory diseases caused by the dangerous levels of pollution! I want her to know that we share our earth with beautiful creatures like elephants, tigers and the whale and not see them become part of our history. To me, it is all the more reason to get involved with this incredible global movement, to be inspired to make small changes to the way we live our lives that when you add them all together, have a huge impact. Very recently, I started making the change from vegetarianism to veganism, not only for my own health, but also for the health of our planet. I have always been someone who recycles, but this week I have been thinking about how I can create even less trash and make my carbon footprint even smaller. I have taken to using a water bottle rather than buying plastic ones and I always reuse carrier bags rather than obtain mass loads of new ones. recycling clothing
Clothing is also important, so many of us seem to perpetually acquire new clothes and to do so we need to make room in our wardrobes. Clothing isn’t always something that sticks in people’s minds as an item we can recycle, but thankfully there are new and inventive ways we can put our old clothing to good use. I always try to donate my old clothes to charities or appeals following earthquakes or other natural disasters if they are still wearable. Some of my friends love going to swap shops, where you can take items you no longer want and swap them for something you do! Occasionally though you get that really comfy old t-shirt that really is too grotty to even give away, but even those can be put to good use. Many recycling places will take clothing for the materials and I also find that old t-shirts make good cleaning cloths!
I hope you all had a good Earth Day and were all encouraged to do something good for our environment!

Getting Our Kickstarter Campaign Off The Ground

The last month or so, my world has pretty much revolved around organising BODO’s Kickstarter campaign. To me, making sure the campaign is perfect is paramount. I want to ensure not only that I capture all that is important about BODO’s goals and mission, but also that the campaign projects the right tone, captures the essence of the company as well as the public’s imagination. One of the hardest things about it is the process of evaluating the information that goes on the Kickstarter website. Obviously you want to provide as much information about your company as possible, but you also have to ensure that your campaign does not bore the reader and keeps their attention. One of the worst things you can do is overload the campaign with too much stuff that will end up detrimental to your campaign because people get bored and simply stop reading. It’s so important to contain the right kind of information, be honest and open, but without waffling on so much that your readers end up clicking away and looking at cat videos instead! Bodo sandal photoshoot2
There are several elements to a successful Kickstarter campaign, such as providing the public with a product that they really really want, but also making the campaign so intriguing and enthralling that it has the potential to go viral. You want people not only to want to contribute because they want to be one of the first to get their hands on your product, but you also want them to share your page on social media platforms because they think their friends will also want to get involved and help your company achieve its goals so that they can guarantee that they will actually see what is advertised come to fruition!
Colour Choices 3You could have the best product or idea in the world, but if it doesn’t get picked up by the media, or shared on social media and only a small amount of people see it, then it’s unlikely that you will meet your funding target. That is why I have been so focussed on ensuring that the BODO Kickstarter campaign has all the right elements needed to make it a success.
We have carried out extensive research and gone through the information that will be going on the website with a fine tooth comb. We are now at the stage where we have done all that we can do and it is just about watching and waiting!

Preparing To Launch: BODO’s Kickstarter Campaign

This week I have a very important announcement, one that is integral to BODO’s success – the imminent launch of our Kickstarter campaign. Bodo barefoot
Over the last few weeks we have been putting the final touches to our campaign draft which we submitted to the Kickstarter team for approval on 11th April. The platform will then review our proposals and not long after that, it should go live on the platform and of course I hope anyone who reads this blog will help us out by visiting the page, donating and sharing to help us spread the message and achieve our goals!
We are hoping to raise somewhere in the region of £60,000 (though this figure will need to be finalised with the Kickstarter board) that will go towards a number of different things including donation items, our actual product, PR & marketing and general company upkeep costs.
We will have 30 days to raise our much needed target amount, during which time the BODO team will be focussed on promoting the campaign across all of our social media and web platforms.
I hope that our readers will get involved and help us, either by donating and/or by helping us to spread the word and sharing our pages, posts and tweets. People can contribute any amount upwards of $1 and there will be a number of perks offered to those who help us to reach our target amount by contributing.
The reason I have gone for the crowdfunding option is because I believe that it gives startups a chance to fund ideas, starting directly with the people who are closest to it (friends, fans, community-followers etc ). I wanted to find a way to break beyond the traditional methods — bank loans, investment, industry deals, grants etc and explore what can be achieved through value and creation without a middleman dictating the product and terms.
Once the campaign has been approved by the Kickstarter board I will be sharing the link and providing you with more details on here and across BODO’s other web platforms.
As many of you will already know, funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing. If people like the project they can pledge money to help make it happen, but they will only be charged for that amount if the project is successful in reaching its funding goals. If the target amount is not met within the 30 day period, then no one is charged and the project won’t receive any funding from Kickstarter. That’s why it is paramount that we reach our goal and I hope that you will help us to achieve this!
Bodo Logo2

Technology & Our Children

My young daughter is just 20 months old and already she can work an iPhone better than a lot of grown-ups I know. babies with techI watch her in awe as she effortlessly navigates YouTube, selecting the Peppa Pig or My Little Pony videos she wants to watch. She has a range of different toys and play things, ranging from soft toys that are simply there for their cuteness and a number of different learning enhancement toys, but her two favourite words seem to be iPad and iPhone as she favours them much more than any of her other toys. In some ways I feel lucky that she doesn’t have the same attraction to my blackberry as she does to my wife’s iPhone, as I swear she spends more time on it than my wife does!
The other day, my wife’s best friend came to visit and not long before she was about to leave, she gave my daughter her iPhone to play with. When her lift arrived to pick her up, my little one didn’t want to part with her phone and in a bid to appease her, we tried swapping the friend’s phone for my wife’s iPhone, but she wasn’t happy with the trade, she knew the difference and really wasn’t pleased with being downgraded! My wife’s phone was a 5S and her friend’s a 6S, I don’t believe that my daughter knew the difference in the model, but she certainly knew something was going on – this was a different machine to that which she normally got to play with and she definitely wasn’t too happy when the swap took place.
I know she’s not alone either, as many of my friends and family have children around the same age who also share the same fascination with technology and an almost instinctual understanding of how it works. I remember when I had to learn how to use a computer for the first time, or indeed when I have to figure out new software and it honestly feels like my daughter could probably pick it up quicker!
Sometimes I worry too, I wonder whether she will be too heavily reliant on technology as she grows up, one of those teenagers whose face is firmly planted in her phone whether she is at the cinema out at dinner or whatever. Thankfully though, she also enjoys interacting with people, I watch how she laughs and jokes with her mum or with our friends and family when they visit, so I am hopeful that she’ll get the balance right!

Sales People & Not Falling For The Spin

Two of the most important things in life to me are honesty and integrity, which is why I believe I get so wound up when sales people try to fob me off with bare-faced lies and what is basically a fictional account of their product!

There always seems to be cowboys on the horizon

There always seems to be cowboys on the horizon

Since BODO’s inception several years ago, I have obviously had to negotiate with various different sales people, for a number of different things, from purchasing office supplies and equipment to the manufacture of the product itself. During these negotiations, I have certainly met my fair share of cowboys – you know the kind of person who tries to convince you that it is in your company’s best interest for you to buy that stapler on credit for 1million % APR!
Some cowboys are much easier to spot, they might as well be carrying a neon sign that states “I am telling you big fat porkies” and these are not so harmful, because you are less likely to fall for their spin. There is another breed though, the super-cowboys, who really are much more dangerous, because the tale they spin is much more carefully thought out and believable, making it much more likely that you will hand over your hard-earned cash to them and be left ruing your costly mistake when they fail to deliver.
Personally, I much prefer the straight-talking kind of sales person, someone who is as honest about the limitations of their service or product, than the kind of person who offers you the moon when in reality all they are providing is a mouldy old block of edam.
In my personal experience, the best way to sort the shysters from those who will actually be an asset to your business is to think carefully and do your research before signing anything. I have found it best to work with those who come recommended by friends or acquaintances, and where that isn’t possible I will always do my internet research on a company, looking for reviews etc (that aren’t listed on the company website) before I’ll agree to anything.
Unfortunately it seems to me that there are a million people out there who are just looking to make a quick buck and take advantage of those naïve enough to fall for their lies!

Defeating The Dreaded Ransom Virus

The other day I fell victim to the dreaded Ransom virus that has afflicted thousands of people all over the world. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is basically a vicious form of malware that once in your system begins secretly encrypting all your files behind the scenes, basically turning your computer into a 1980s toast machine. The computer owner is then ordered to pay a “ransom” to unlock the computer, hence the name and many people, desperate to get into their files simply pay up! Cyber bandit
As you all know, BODO is a social enterprise with employees and contractors who all work remotely from all parts of the world. As founder of this small ethical fashion business, I have a great deal of important information on my computer, so you can imagine the ghostly shade of white that I turned when I realised my system was infected with this malicious virus.
To be totally honest with you, I was so close to paying the ransom, the idea of all the hard work, that myself and many others had put into BODO being lost for good was a terrifying one and for a few moments paying the ransom seemed like my only option. But luckily for me and for BODO, I have some very talented friends, and one in particular popped into my head like the hero of the piece – picture John McClane storming through the flames and shattered glass of my technical world to save the day! This guy is what you might call an ethical hacker. Someone who knows and can navigate this dark world for the sole purpose of combating the destruction and devastation that viruses of this nature inflict on the unsuspecting!
So I reached out with my SOS and my friend dropped what he was doing and rushed round to me. Within a little while, he had out-hacked the hackers and all was right with my virtual world without me having to pay a silly amount of money to some cyberspace bandit! I honestly could not be more grateful to this guy for saving my virtual bacon!
Despite the happy ending to my story, I feel that cyberfraud is becoming a massive issue and our authorities definitely need to do more to combat it, before yet more people fall foul to this kind of scam. Right now though, I’m just glad that I’ve got an ethical hacker as a friend!