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The UK alone spends around 1 billion pounds gifting freshly cut flowers or indoor plants each year. Fritha Vincent FRSA explains why tapping into this market could save the lives of impoverished women worldwide.

It wasn’t my idea to start an occasion giving range for my social enterprise, Secret Pillow Project. One of our angel investors came up with the idea over a year ago.

The idea: instead of sending flowers with a personal message to a friend or loved one, you send them a Secret Pillow in their favourite colour with a personal message of good wishes. Flowers die and are thrown away but secret Pillows and the impact of their production last for years to come. Secret Pillows are made in South India by poor, vulnerable women and have become a means to empower them economically and socially. By selling Secret Pillows in the UK, these women get a chance to keep their children and build a life.

As soon as she said it, I knew it was a brilliant idea and totally doable but we had one major hurdle, we didn’t have any Secret Pillows in stock. So for a while, it was just a dream.

Researching the dream brought up some incredible facts… did you know:

• The UK alone spends around 1 billion pounds of gifting freshly cut flowers or indoor plants to one another and a further 1 billion on the same for themselves.
• The average annual spend per person in UK on flowers and indoor plants is £36.
• There is an association dedicated to gifting flowers and plants called Flowers and Plants Association.
• Women are more likely to buy fresh flowers than men
• Christmas, mother’s day and Valentines are the most popular calendar events for receiving flowers (no surprises here)
• Florists write up the weirdest messages! Click here to view an example I found on youtube

After researching I had some big questions:

1. Can we persuade people who give flowers regulary to sometimes send a Secret Pillow instead?
2. Can we inspire people who don’t normally send flowers to send Secret Pillows?
3. How do we compete on a limited budget in such a competitive and swamped market place? Just by googling flower delivery I can see that every advert is sponsored making the ads at the top of the search bar unaffordable.

Even though is it is going to be tough, we have to give it our best shot because in order to continue Secret Pillow Project we need to dramatically increase Secret Pillows sales.

I never forget that for every 3 Secret Pillows sold we will hear a story similar to the one below.

I was sick. I had stomach pain. I often get so sick. I used my Secret Pillow money for treatment. I am better now. I brought cooking pots for my house. My husband is a daily wage earner. He is not enough to run the family. This money helps us a lot. Thank you for the opportunity.

Flowers are beautiful of course, however, what is more beautiful to me, are strong, confident and well resourced mothers who can look after their children to the best of their abilities. I would choose to send a Secret Pillow over flowers and I am making the assumption that there are other people out there who would do the same.

We now have stock, our dream has come true, we have launched our stunning and powerful occasion giving range called Give POWER

 

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