Tell me about PVBS?
So PVBS is a social enterprise. We make custom school leaver jackets and with every jacket or jumper we fund education for children in Cambodia and Ghana. I’m from Ghana myself and in 2010 I went back for a holiday. I was on my way into the city one day and on the highway there was about a two kilometre stretch of kids that were selling stuff, things like water and biscuits and little little things. I wondered how the cycle of poverty could be broken when kids that are meant to be in school are on the streets.
In 2012, I was speaking in a school and I was wearing a jacket that we made and one of the kids approached if we could make some for them next year for their year 12. That’s how it started.
How did you spread the message?
I’m a public speaker so I’ve been doing that for about five or six years. In the course of that, I’ve written three books as well which has been a bit of fun! I run leadership seminars all over Australia, and that’s been great. Otherwise our marketing has just been social media. We get a lot of leads through Instagram believe it or not.
How did you fund PVBS?
I pretty much just maxed out my credit card to be honest, that’s how it started!
You’ve already donated over $23,000. How do you ensure the money goes where it’s supposed to?
The charity group that we work with are very transparent with us. We get reports every quarter from them which basically show the number of kids and the projects that it has funded. At the moment, we’ve impacted 1700 children and funded the construction of two new classrooms in Ghana.
What would you say your biggest challenges have been so far?
It’s been our online strategy. I know that our main competitor has a tool that we don’t have and a lot of the kids go to their website to play around with that technology and see what their jackets would look like. Manufacturing at times can be challenging as well, as it’s something that we don’t have direct control over.
What’s next for you guys?
At the moment we’re in every state in Australia. We want to increase our number of schools in order to increase that impact but we’ve also just started doing some corporate bomber jackets with corporate branding on them which is really really exciting. That is actually tied to our Food Bank partnership. We’ve partnered up with the Food Bank and every item sold funds four meals to homeless people in Melbourne. One in ten families in Melbourne will need food assistance every week so we’ve partnered up with Food Bank to help with that.
What would you say your best advice is for other entrepreneurs?
If you’re passionate about something I think go for it. I have this quote that I live by and that is that “between your mother’s womb and your tomb, what will your dash be?” It’s just all about purpose, making your life count for something and how you can make a difference in the world today.
Every day, KBB’s Dannie Doughan chats with an entrepreneur and features their story on our website. If your business wants a ‘Date with Dannie’, email us a quick bit about your biz!