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 in India
Secret Projects CBS traded as Secret Pillow Project Ltd from 2014 to October 2019, when it converted to CBS. Established in 2014, Secret Pillow Project CBS operates as a social business training and empowering women in India, who are economically challenged. Secret Projects connects with Indian, grassroots charities/NGOs that support women to establish government backed self-help groups. Secret Projects CBS invites these women’s groups 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
We train the women to make Secret Products; Secret Sari Dresses, skirts, accessories, jewellery, soft furnishings all of which are marketed and sold world-wide via our website. As a member of the WFTO, we pay twice the minimum wage in India for the women to work with us.
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 and we have trained over 500 women as Makers since the start of the project. Click here to meet our Makers.
How the project empowers
Secret Projects uses a 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 and includes, training, professionalism, development and independence.
Manjusha, from Kerala, is a Secret Pillow Maker, she she told us 'now I can feel what it is like to be an entrepreneur nobody can put me back'.
The ultimate goal of the programme is for each Maker Network to become self generating, with established Makers training new Makers, as well as becoming involved in specific roles such as fabric sourcing and logistics. Our 4 stage Empowerment Programme supports the women to develop sales and marketing skills to enable them to find other stitching work locally if they want to take on additional work.
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 core business of Secret Projects. To assess our impact the project has 5 measures both quantitative and qualitative as follows: The number of Makers, the number of children they have, quality of production, progress of the women through the 4 stages of the Empowerment Programme and the progress of the women on an individual basis. This information is gathered through an initial Maker profile each trainee is asked to complete, through quality control monitoring and through one to one interviews.
How the business works
Secret Projects CBS is a UK registered company with a subsidiary company in India responsible for training, production and logistics called Social Power India.
We employ 2 full time and 2 part time staff in the UK and also have volunteers and subcontractors who work for us. Social Power India is based in Bangalore and is wholly owned by us, through which we deliver our services and employs 4 full time equivalent staff. Our customers are invited to invest and own the business through our Community Benefit Society business model. The investment this creates is being used effectively to scale our activities and we currently we have over 200 investors from all over the world.
Our main sources of income are; retail, sales through our website, White label sales, Wholesale to boutiques, research income from our partnership with the University of Cantebury who pay us for giving them access to cary out research into the effectiveness of our work in India, Grant and Income from selling our training programme to other NGO's in India.
Who runs the business
Secret Projects CBS Investors 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 as each product comes with a signed certificate from the person that made it, helping both customers, investors and Makers to feel connected. Customers are encouraged to send in photos of their products and thank you notes with feedback that we send to the Makers Groups, so they can see the fruits of their work. The Makers absolutely love this and it is a useful tool for them. Find out more here.
Secret Project Works with Big Business
Secret Projects works with big business, including International law firm Hogan Lovells, in a variety of different ways. Click here to learn more.
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