Former concept designer at American Eagle Outfitters, Chrissie Lam had already had success with her own social enterprise consultancy, The Supply Change, but had reached a pivot point and was unsure which opportunities to focus her energy on.
Last August she sat down for a coaching session with me to set out her possible business ideas.
Since she’d quit her job in corporate fashion, she’d run a project that supported impoverished women in Kenya by helping them sell their artisan products to consumers in the US and the UK.
By winning some big brand partnerships, The Love Is Project had helped create 400 jobs for women in rural Kenya, but had her hands tied temporary in an exclusivity contract. After breaking free of those constraints, she questioned whether the original idea still had validity. Chrissie was unsure she wanted to go there again. She was also reticent about trying to sell the products herself.
“I told Lydia about the crossroads I was at and chatted about the Love Is project and this other idea I’d had to help supply electric scooters to people in Bali, but she helped me focus on one idea,” Chrissie explains.
“Lydia helped me see that I should turn my attention back to The Love Is Project with concrete examples/case studies. I had already done so much of the leg work and not to drop it now. Crucially, she made me realize the steps I needed to take to get it off the ground as an online store. And she put me in touch with the integral people I needed to work with in order to re-launch the project as a standalone store and brand. By helping me to reframe it and steer me in the direction to allowed me to restructure the business model. I feel more empowered than I ever have before.”
In January 2017, The Love Is Project relaunched with an online store for the first time. And within four months the first 10,000 bracelets had sold out and has over 30,000 Likes on Facebook and is now supporting hundreds artisan producers in 2 continents. (Soon to be 3 in the Fall)
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“Lydia’s workshop was an important first step. It opened my mind to the possibility that I could start my own business.”