READER GIVEAWAY!! Be in to win TWO of your own stylish feminine NOTEBOOKS courtesy of Words With Heart – just answer the question after reading this interview with the Founder! (Aussie & NZ residents only – sorry!)
Social entrepreneur, Lauren Shuttleworth, founded eco-friendly stationery brand, Words With Heart, which is all about empowering women and promoting equality – through words and stationery of course.
They donate 50% of their profits to charities and have recently teamed up with CARE Australia and One Girl, that do a great deal for women’s and girls education and empowerment.
Here’s my interview with Lauren:
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’d always been involved in charity work, but it wasn’t until the sudden passing of my Mum in 2011 that I really stopped to think about what I truly wanted to do with my career.
I discovered social enterprise, and became completely enamoured by the power it has to create world change. I was accepted into The School of Social Entrepreneurs in 2013, and Words With Heart was born in 2014.
How have you grown Words With Heart so quickly?
We only launched  months ago, so it has grown pretty rapidly! I think the growth has largely been because it’s a brand and concept that our target market strongly connected with. We were fortunate to gain a lot of support online and in the media early on during our launch campaign, and have kept that rolling since. I spend a lot of time trying to really listen to and connect with our customers and supporters so that we can grow Words With Heart with their input.
What’s your favourite part about running your own business?
I love the creative freedom and the challenge of running my own business. Especially in the case of a social business, because our cause is so close to my heart and it drives me completely. It’s a beautiful thing to embrace the determination and ride the ups and downs.
Why do you think it’s important to empower women? And why through stationery?
I think the empowerment of women is the most important issue of our time, especially when it comes to education. Just one additional year of school can increase a girl’s earnings by 10 to 20%, and when 10% more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases by 3%.
In terms of stationery, I feel that social enterprise and conscious consumerism are very powerful agents for change. In Australia we have some amazing social enterprises like Thankyou Group and Who Gives A Crap, who exist to sell products that fund life-changing projects in the developing world. I think consumers are looking for a deeper connection to the products they buy, and are becoming more savvy and aware about the impact of their choices. We largely buy stationery for education and work purposes, so it seemed like a perfect fit to create a social enterprise that directs profits from the sale of these products to education projects for women and girls.
Most of the team seem to be students, is that an important part of your strategy?
Yes, all of our team are students at the moment, and also women. It’s fantastic for Words With Heart because these awesome ladies are our target market. They’re helping to create new products and build a community that they are a part of. I’m very lucky to have a group of compassionate, smart women pouring all of their ideas and hard work into Words With Heart.
What do you like best about working with your team of students?
I appreciate their eagerness to take on responsibility, and to be risky, creative and innovative. I also love being able to impart my knowledge as well, and to be able to give them the opportunity to grow and gain experience.
What’s your top career advice for young women?
It’s a bit cliche, but it doesn’t make it any less true – you have to do what you love. Take time to seek out your passion, and when you find it, go for it (but remember it’s ok to change your mind, or have multiple passions over time!). Also, seek out like-minded people that can help you and focus on building your network. You’ll find these people will be your biggest cheerleaders and help you gain access to all kinds of opportunities. For more information head to http://www.wordswithheart.com
To win 2 x notebooks fill out the box and answer this question in the comment section below:
Who is a professional women you look up to and why?
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(Aussie & NZ residents only – sorry!)
The competition has now closed. Thank you to the entrants.
Want to feature as an Inspiring Woman or have someone else to put forward? Please email the work her [@] gmail dot com or fill out the submission form.