Personalised Secret Pillows - The story
My name is Fritha, welcome to my crowdfunding campaign selling personalised Secret Pillows.
There are two secrets to the pillows: the first secret is that the making and selling of Secret Pillows unfolds women's power in India, and the other secret is that the pillow unfolds into a snugly blanket.
I have been selling Secret Pillows since I set up my social business, Secret Projects, in 2014. I have trained over 500 women in India to make Secret Pillows and have sold thousands all over the world. We work with women in India in areas where there are limited employment or income-generating opportunities. Our aim is to support them to earn a decent living through the setting up of their own micro enterprise. When women have confidence and resources they are able to make the best choices for themselves and their children.
Recently we have developed our product range to include other homeware and clothes but they all share the same features - they are foldable, useful, purposeful and charming. However, even with the excitement of these new products the Secret Pillow remains our most precious product. This is because it is the first product our Makers are trained to make.
Because of this we want to protect and evolve the Secret Pillow. This year we have worked with Hogan Lovells, the international law firm, who have provided Secret Projects with helpful pro bono legal advice around trademarking. Our dream for evolving the Secret Pillow was always to include a personalisable Secret Pillow in our range. We searched India to find a digital printer who was good enough to partner with. We have finally found one!!!!! They are called Quancious and we love them very much!
Quancious are a progressive fashion brand and digital printing company based in Bengalaru, India. They specialise in eco-friendly fabrics and they are printed using environmentally-friendly techniques which do not pollute India's fresh water resources. They have blended customisation and sustainability and we are excited to have teamed up with them to launch our personalised Secret Pillows . As partners of this campaign they are covering all the costs to the cutting and the digital printing of the panels for each Secret Pillow ordered, up to 350 orders. Our long-term goal is for Quancious to print our own designs for Secret Pillows and to give our customers access to Quancious's vast library of patterns which include Disney characters! In fact one day you will be able to design your own fabric for your Secret Pillows!! The mind boggles...
Here is the wonderful Sunitha. She is the super lady who is leading the partnership. She says "We are excited about the long term partnership with Secret Projects and feel great to be an India-based company giving back to women in India."
Let's focus on the personalised Secret Pillow
This is the product we dreamed of: the personalised Secret Pillow. We have chosen the following messages: Best Teacher; Good Luck; Love; Thank you, or you can choose a letter of the alphabet.
Best Teacher: This one is the perfect end of year gift for your child's teacher. The children and parents can cover the blanket with message of thanks and pictures. *
Good Luck: This is the perfect "off to uni/college/traveling" gift. Messages can written by old school friends and the family.*
Thank you: The perfect gift for a colleague who is leaving their job after years of dedicated service.*
LOVE: To be signed at a wedding by all the guests (image not available)
A, B, C: Gives so much room for creativity! (see the film)
* Sharpies not included. We have tested a varity of fabric paints, sharpies etc and the Secret Pillow washes well with them. You can buy these supplies online or at your local craft shop.
Here is a video that shows a secret pillow being personalised. You can see the love and energy that can be captured in a Secret Pillow through the drawing process. What fun!
Once this personalised Secret Pillow crowdfunding campaign has ended, we will put the Secret Pillows into production through our Maker network. We will prioritise the Best Teacher Secret Pillow so that we can meet the end of the school year for both USA (May) and UK (July). The children in India don't finish school until April 2019, so we have plenty of time there. We aim to dispatch the remaining Secret Pillows by October 2108 at the latest.
Secret Pillows and Women's Empowerment
Before we move on, let's take a little time to explore how the making and selling of Secret Pillows empowers women in India. Secret Projects is an ethical brand, providing training and support to our Makers and paying them at least twice the minimum wage. Our Training for Empowerment Programme has 4 stages, training, professionalism, development and independence. Many of the women we work with are now able to pay for their children to go to school, buy food and medicine for their families and feel empowered to work towards their goal of financial independence.
We hope you can help us to support them on their journey by backing this campaign and buying a personalised Secret Pillow.
A personalised Secret Pillow is £42.50 ($59.37)
with £5 ($7) for shipping
And here is a pie chart showing how the total cost of each Secret Pillow is divided up. Most importantly, the Maker receives 500 rupees per Secret Pillow. If you consider that on average the women will generate an informal income of 2000 rupees per month, Secret Pillow making is truly transformational for them. We are very proud of this. 500 rupees goes a long way when you are talking food, medicine, rent or educational expenses for children. (500 rupees is about £5.50 / $7.70)
Let's dip in to how Quancious's printing process is good for the planet
Quancious have a low-waste digital print process. Their Neo Pigment™ inks are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Quancious’s inks and dyes have been tested for harmful chemicals (like formaldehyde and lead). They use patented Eco-friendly inks which are 100% biodegradable, Pigmented, water-based, plant based and child-friendly. And that is not all... Quancious digital process is low water and low power. In fact, no water is actually used in the printing process. There's no need for pre-or post-treatment of fabrics, which means eliminating the need for mass water consumption. Compared to the preparation and clean-up needed in rotary screen printing, digital printing truly advocates sustainability.
The above process is only referring to the panel printing on the peronalised Secret Pillow. The denium fabric and the calico is not printed by Quancious at this time. We will be bringing out a range of Secret Pillows that are made of organic, fairtrade cotton, printed fully by Quancious in the future. A dream comes true!
Love the personalised Secret Pillow? Yes!
Then it is time to back the campaign
Here is how...
1. Head over to the rewards section and select a reward (eg, 1 x Secret Pillow, 2 x Secret Pillows, etc)
2. You will be prompted to make a payment which can be done by credit card or debit card. The payment will made when the crowdfunding campaign closes on 28 March 2018.
3. If you have chosen the reward for two or more Secret Pillows, please follow these instructions:
When you have completed your purchase, please send a brief email to [email protected] telling us which messages you would like on your pillows. Please include your full name and use the same email address you entered for your Crowdfunder purchase.
You are welcome to mix and match and the options are:
A letter of the alphabet: 'A', 'B', 'C', etc
4. After the crowdfunding campaign has ended you will receive an email from Secret Projects thanking you for backing the campaign and confirming the details of your order.
5. Orders for the Best Teacher Secret Pillows will be dispatched by mid-June, to reach you in time for the academic year-end. We know the US end of term is end of May, so we will try our hardest to meet this. The remaining Secret Pillows will be dispatched in the Autumn. If you would like us to fast-track your order for a particular occasion, such as the start of the university year, a birthday, a wedding anniversary, etc, please let us know via email: [email protected]
6. If you still have questions, please click here to visit Secret Projects online store and read our FAQs. If you still have questions you can Live Chat to us from the home page or leave us a message and will come back to you just as soon as we see the message.
7. If you want to read more stories about our project click here. Enjoy!