Social enterprise Bloodless gives rebels a cause
New Aussie streetwear label Bloodless is set to give young rebels a cause. On the first Monday of every month, Bloodless releases a limited edition in-house range of T-shirts that’s connected to a local change-maker in a developing nation. Each collection provides the change-maker with the seed capital they need to kickstart their initiative.
Not only that, Bloodless also aims to get young Australians engaged in social injustice issues. Co-Founder of the social enterprise, Nishan David, says “fashion is a natural conversation starter”. By combining fashion with a cause, Bloodless aims to have the right conversations unfold.
David, who’s worked in a variety of non-for-profit youth engagement teams, including World Vision and the Foundation for Young Australians, decided to join forces with a friend to build an edgy profit-for-purpose business. Both co-founders have a rebellious streak; passionate about disrupting the status quo and facilitating justice in the world.
While the vision may be ambitious, the beginnings are humble. The Bloodless gang launched their first limited edition range on crowdfunding platform Pozible two weeks ago with a goal of raising $7,000. Currently, they’re sitting at over $4,500.
The first collection will help fund a project called ‘One Step Closer’ conceived by Charles Irai. In Irai’s hometown Six Mile in Papua New Guinea, three out of five teenagers drop out of high school; many young men are sucked into a life of crime, drugs and alcohol, while women are forced into prostitution, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy. Irai’s mission is to launch a ‘street business school’ to pave an entrepreneurial career pathway for local youth; and he needs only $1,000 to get the initiative off the ground.
This is one of four social enterprises that Spark International, a non-for-profit organisation, is helping launch across Papua New Guinea, Kenya and South Africa by the end of summer. Bloodless has partnered with the organisation to accelerate the process.
David says he initially called the brand ‘Oracle’, but had to find a name different to the multi-national IT corporation.
“We decided we wanted a more ‘street’ identity … I really loved the idea of a bloodless revolt, bringing social justice not by marching outside the parliament or burning down factories, but by being a positive force,” says David.
“Names can be the hardest thing and we’ve gone through so many terrible ones.”
David says they chose to launch on a crowdfunder to market-test the concept and better estimate how big an impact they can make with their business model.
At the moment, they are targeting young Australians aged between 18 and 22 through word-of-mouth and social media.
“Entrepreneurs who love our concept have helped spread the word, but we’re focusing on targeted Facebook ads and getting our friends to help us promote the brand through social media,” says David.
One of the biggest challenges for the team has been getting the right combination between style and social consciousness when it came to designing the T-shirts. The T-shirts had to reflect the social cause it supports while still maintaining a street style.
At the moment, the Bloodless gang is trying to figure out what kind of activities they need to engage in to stand out from the crowd, and how they can be good storytellers for the changemakers they’re supporting.
David has always wanted to do two things: be an entrepreneur and make difference in the world. He realised five years ago after finishing high school that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
But he feels social entrepreneurship only recently started gathering momentum.
“I feel like I’m on the edge of where it (social entrepreneurship) is heading. Right now, it’s an exciting time to be a social entrepreneur in Australia,” says David.
“Anyone that tries to marry business with social good has the potential to be a trailblazer in this cultural shift.”
David stresses that Bloodless is not only about selling merchandise, but also about encouraging Gen Y to become changemakers.
“If everyone incorporated a social element into their passion, it would make a world of difference. Whether they love fashion, film, music or anything else, it can be connected to something bigger and make a real impact,” says David.
The Bloodless crowdfunding campaign can be viewed via www.pozible.com.