Fashion store KOBOMO in Australia has been part of B1G1 for the last 6 years. Starting from a tiny market stall, today KOBOMO is a thriving online fashion store shipping items globally. The secret of KOBOMO’s growth is the sense of purpose ingrained in the spirit of its brand.
For every item they sell, KOBOMO provides a day of tuition class to a disadvantaged girl in Cambodia or a meal to a child in need through B1G1.
PUTTING THE ‘WHY’ BACK INTO THEIR BUSINESS
When Karen Ormerod opened her shop in 2011, she really had little idea of the impact it could have on people.
Barely 9 weeks after joining B1G1, Karen quickly involved more and more people in the giving process — in effect, she’s doing what our good friend and ‘Start with Why’ author, Simon Sinek refers to as ‘putting your why front and centre’.
Karen’s done it with some brilliantly designed swing tags — those ‘labels’ that swing from dresses on the racks in stores. By working together with Karen (that’s all part of B1G1 Membership), these swing tags say it really well:
Through the tags, Karen’s adding significantly to the ‘connecting’ she’s already doing. And connecting is a central part of B1G1’s 3-pronged Connect, Impact, Habit ‘messaging’.
TRANSFORM THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS
Karen shared with us how embedding giving in to what they do every day transforms the relationship they have with their customers.
“We had a really connected moment today. A new customer (late ’50s and very stylish) came in and bought 5 new garments for an upcoming conference in New Zealand. I gave her a small ‘gift with purchase’ and said we also thank our customers for each item they purchase by providing a meal for a child in need.
She was amazed and after walking out of the shop. She came rushing back in and gave me a huge hug. Love it!”
For Karen and her team, business is not about just making more money. It’s about making a real difference in our world too.
“I knew people would love the cotton fabrics and quirky styles I tend to lean toward with my designs as I have been selling them at various markets for some years. Yet what is evolving daily in the boutique through our connection with so many women is an enriching social fabric.”
Karen says that she often refers to the shop as ‘Have-A-Chat-Central’. “I love that people now walk in daily just to say ‘Hi’, catch-up, share a story or show off their latest outfit. It’s not just clothing we help with, it’s a need to connect.”
And clearly, Karen does connect really, really well.
She also applies another part of the B1G1 messaging — that of ‘HABIT’ — she does her B1G1 giving every day — literally. “It just reminds me of what this is really all about,” she says.
“And being part of B1G1 for a little while now has helped bring some of the clarity and focus I have struggled with since opening the shop. It is such a relief. It’s not just the habit of giving that has such an impact. It’s about being really connected to who I am. I’m really loving it.”
“Our little local shop is also making a difference in the lives of people internationally. The KOBOMO range is manufactured by a very talented young Mum (and budding entrepreneur) in her home-based studio in Bangkok. We collaborate daily on our designs and have come to share as many pictures of our kids as our fabrics! Our cross-cultural connection has made a life-changing impact on ourselves and our families.”
And she sums it up beautifully like this:
“I had never imagined operating a business that could change people’s lives. Making a real difference in our world by just doing what we do normally is a transforming experience.”