The Business Overview of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society
Secret Projects CBS- An introduction
Secret Projects CBS is the home of Secret Pillow Project, Secret Sari Dress Project and Secret Shopping Bag Project. Secret Projects CBS drives female led micro enterprises in India through the making and selling of foldable, useful, purposeful and charming products. For example, a Secret Pillow is a pillow that unfolds into a blanket. The overall aim of Secret Projects CBS is to empower marginalised women.
Established in 2014, Secret Pillow Project CBS operates as a social business training and empowering women who are economically challenged. The project connects to them through Indian, grassroots charities/NGOs which support the women to establish government backed self-help groups. Secret Projects CBS invites the women’s group to become makers of its products, trains them and shares the project’s simple POWER mantra.
We believe in ourselves, we support one another, we persist, we think and think again, we trust our instinct, we take pride, we work with joy and we pretend until we know how.
As the women produce products, which are sold domestically and internationally their resources and confidence increases.
Through this process the vision of Secret Projects CBS is realised. The project’s dream is a world where all women have the confidence and resources to make their own choices for themselves and their children.
The project has 7 networks of makers which span 5 states. Over 500 women have been trained as makers since the start of the project. Click here to meet our Makers.
How the project empowers
Secret Projects uses are variety of models to empower women. The basis of these models is a 4 stage empowerment programme, starting with support and introduction from the NGO. The 4 stages are training, professionalism, development and independence.
Manjusha, from Kerala, is a Secret Pillow maker, she says now I can feel what it is like to be an entrepreneur nobody can put me back.
The ultimate goal of the programme is that each maker network will run itself with those who were first trained training others, as well as makers taking on specific roles like fabric sourcing, logistics and training. Each maker network will be supported to develop sales marketing skills so they can find other stitching work locally e.g. uniform making.
Secret Projects products are far more than just a product on a shelf, each tells a unique story and each product is a powerful vehicle of empowerment.
"Secret Pillow is a clever start-up combining the best elements of microfinance and retail. By creating a shop with a powerful social slant, the consumer can feel good by doing good." Rebecca Burn-Callander, Enterprise Editor, The Telegraph.
The empowerment of women is the business of Secret Projects. To assess impact the project has 5 measures, quantitative and qualitative; the number of makers, the number of children they have, quality of production, progress of the women through the 4 stages of empowerment, progress of the women on an individual basis. This information is gathered through an initial maker profile each trainee must fill in, through quality control monitoring and through one to one interviews.
How the business works
Secret Projects CBS is a UK registered company with a subsidary company in India responsible for training, production and logistics. Secret Pillow Project UK is leading a steady expansion of its sales bases through a social franchise model. This model is being piloted with Secret Pillow Project USA.
Our customers are welcomed to invest and own the business through our community benefit society business model. The investment this creates is the working capital we are using to scale our activities.
Who runs the business
Secret Projects CBS Customers are a key strength to the business. They share the project’s vision for women. Many of them play a role is telling the story of the project and inspiring further sales of Secret Products. The customers are a tribe who feel connected to the makers because every product comes with a signed certificate from the person that made it. Customers are encouraged to send in photos of their products in use and these are printed and send to the makers groups whenever there is training or connection over material drop off and product pick up. Customers are encourage in some cases to send back postcards of thanks to the makers and feedback is constant requested from the customer base. Customers can be investors if they choose. Find out more here.
Secret Project Works with Big Business
Secret Projects works with big business in a variety of different ways. Click here to read stories of how we are working businesses including international law firm, Hogan Lovells
Links to online shops, crowdfunding history, film and social media
Secret Projects UK: https://www.secretpillow.org.uk/
Secret Projects India: https://www.secretpillowprojects.in/
Secret Projects USA: https://www.secretpillowproject.com/
Secret Projects Crowdfunding history: https://www.secretpillow.org.uk/pages/crowdfunding
Secret Projects Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_UbfXtu3LBrASxFnKPU4bQ
Secret Projects can be found on Instragram, Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube and Linkedin