Cascie Kambouris On Improving Social Wellbeing While Providing Packages of Hope for Social Initiatives
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Cascie Kambouris swaps between the hat of mum, wife, boss lady, charity liaison and therapist for her network of friends who jangle with her bangles.
Her latest project, which could also be described as her passion project - The Hope Initiative - has lit a fire in her belly. Providing parcels of hope to those who need the personalised message most. Cascie is also making a massive impact with the charities she works with. The Hope Initiative leaves consumers with a feeling of giving back, taking pride in sharing the personal stories of the charities she has hand chosen.
Whether she’s renovating her new farm house, collecting toiletries for one of her start ups, or chasing around an energetic toddler, Cascie has a massive heart and lives every day to the fullest. Brutally blunt and honest to a fault, you know that anything she does, she commits to 100%.
Cascie discusses her journey in creating a social enterprise that drives social wellbeing while providing packages of hope for social initiatives.
Highlights from the interview (listen to the podcast for full details)
[Thomas Long] - Cascie, thank you so much for joining us today. To get things started, would you mind telling us a bit more about The Hope Initiative?
[Cascie Kambouris] - Absolutely. The Hope Initiative was created to provide parcels of hope for charities.
I had wanted to start my own charity, but then when I started looking at that, I just realised there wasn't a need for me to be, I suppose, that vein when there was such an amazing amount of charities in Australia doing great work and that I just needed to find a vehicle to support them.
So I did. So now we sell inspirational bangles with messages of hope that also have a social, and charitable component to them.
Can you tell us a little bit more of the details about how you got set up and how you got to this place right now?
Yeah, sure. So from a business perspective, when we started, we were looking for something to be able to sell. So how could we find something that would benefit the charities we were supporting or we were going to support, but that provided a little bit of hope to the receiver. We chose bangles and our bangles have such amazing messages, like “You've got this”, “Be the change you want to see”, “You are a warrior”. So for the person buying the bangle for themselves or buying it as a gift, that's a really beautiful positive message that gives them an uplift, but they also know that when the buyer buys the bangle, they get to decide which charity we support. At the moment we're supporting Share the Dignity and we provide three months worth tampons to a homeless person or OzHarvest, which is 10 pantry items, or it's a toy pack for a child in a domestic violence escape house with Rize Up. So as the buyer, you get to decide where your gift goes. I wanted people to really feel and really know that what they were doing was having a direct impact, so that's why we did it this way.
That's a really interesting way of going about it and good they get to chooose which charity that they're really passionate about. I think that's an awesome way to connect to people.
It’s different isn't it.
Cascie are there any other special things going on with The Hope Initiative at the moment?
Listen, we're always doing really cool stuff. Not to toot our own horn! At the moment, we're supporting the guys at Share the Dignity by collecting hotel soaps and toilet paper out of the hotels and we're collecting tampons for them. I'm actually in a business group and all of our members, when we stay at hotels, clear out all of the soaps and all of the stuff out of there. I've currently got two suitcases full, in my laundry here, which is incredible. I actually brought home about 40 kilos on my last run to Sydney, which was incredible. It's just every little way we can help. And it's really interesting. The other day I got a message from a lady who, sent me something on Facebook saying “I want to volunteer, how can I help you?” And I've always said to people that…
I think that people desperately want to help. They just don't know how. And if you give them a vehicle and an avenue to help you, they will.
With the soaps, it was the most simple thing. We're just taking soaps and we're giving them to people that desperately need it. So that's been a really exciting and heartwarming thing for us.
What have been your greatest challenges with The Hope Initiative?
The greatest challenges for us have just been around; we just need to reach as many people as we can. I think everybody needs a bangle. How do we reach a million people by 2025, because that's the goal; to gift a million gifts to charity. So how do we do that? That's that is the only thing that we've really struggled with because when people know us and they know what we're doing, they're happy to support us by just getting in front of as many people as possible. That's been the real challenge for us.
As someone who's gone through the social enterprise journey, what advice would you like to give to other people who are keen to get started?
I think that if you're looking to support other things, you need to find something that means something to you. For me, all of our charities have a homeless connection. When I was 16, I was homeless, and I lived in a refuge. And for me that's a real driver. It's the thing that gets me up and it's the thing that keeps me going.
You can pick any charity you want or, or pick anything out of the sky, but if at the end of the day it doesn't keep you going when the times get tough, where are you going with that? So I think that it just really needs to have a personal connection to you somehow.
That would be my biggest advice.
What have been the keys to measuring and communicating your impact or success through The Hope Initiative?
Well, that for us was actually really easy. The more bangles we sell, the more good we are doing. So that's actually a really easy one for us to measure. More bangles, more charity gifts. Up we go.
That's great to hear because you can just automatically be like “This is what we're doing” and that's so empowering.
We have a target on the wall and we are literally just climbing up and up towards that number. It's a million charitable gifts by the end of 2025.
I'm interested in knowing what other projects are happening around you that you find really inspiring, that you think are doing awesome stuff…
The guys at Beddown. Norm is doing the most phenomenal work. I think that his initiative to repurpose car parks when they are being unused is phenomenal. The fact that nobody has thought about that before. Brings tears to my eyes and obviously being someone that has had nowhere to go before that really struck a nerve with me. When I met him I was really taken aback by his authenticity and his reasons for doing what he's doing. And again, you know, the personal connection, that’s his motivator. It's his driver; the situation with his father. I just think that that is the thing that keeps him getting up and soldiering on. So I'm really chuffed with the work he's doing.
Are there any books or podcasts that have really helped you on your journey that you'd like to suggest to our listeners?
Absolutely. I think that if you've got some time, Kerwin Rae's Unstoppable podcast is one of the best I've heard. He interviews entrepreneurs from across the globe who are the best in their field. And it is not just one particular theme, it's just people that are kicking absolutely butt in their field. And I think that it is one of the best resources I've come across.
Thank you very much Cascie!
Thank you so much for having us. I would really like to see our bangles on the wrists of your listeners because I know they are people that are changing the world, so I'd love to give them a special offer code that is “Boom”, which they can use at the checkout at anytime in the future. If anybody looking to buy a bangle, you will get a 15% discount on the checkout. Thank you so much for supporting us.