For all of you who don't know, Sir Alan sugar is a famous entrepreneur who worked his way up to the very top of British business. He started out selling rubber ducks on a market stall. I am trading in t-shirts. In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have been so saintly when captioning the disclaimer: "All profits go to charity"- because the money is rolling in. Well sort of. What started out as 4 orders has transpired into 60+ and the requests just keep coming. I proudly told my boyfriend- a graduate of maths and economics- about trading in capital...basically using profit, to buy more t-shirts, to sell and make even more profit. After a lifetime of favouring words over numbers, I was chuffed to have finally branched out into the economic sphere- an area that has always baffled me. Maybe I am money minded after all??
Just don't go asking about the derivatives on the t-shirt sales because:
A: I still don't really understand what one is.
B: This is Cabiao. Not Canary Wharf.
Step 1: The success of the project is down to its 'market research': living in Cabiao for two months and noticing that everyone wears souvenir t-shirts. In fact, the main dress code - for work and social- is t-shirt and jeans. So I decided to sell something that the people would actually want.
Step 2: Pricing. No one will buy an overpriced cotton t-shirt regardless of the 'charity' card. Thankfully, my dealings with the local printing man and outsourcing t-shirts has enabled me to keep manufacturing costs low. So each t-shirt costs 250 pesos (£4)- which is in line with local prices- yet still manages to make 95 pesos for charity. Genius.
Step 3: Selling. The most difficult part of the process. Particularly because the indecisiveness of (some) Filipinos!!
Customer: Can I have it in pink?
Me: No sorry, just black or white.
Customer: What about with a round neck?
Me: Apologies, but we are only offering V-neck shirts at the moment.
Customer: Okay... can I order a blue round neck t-shirt then?
Today I went beyond selling to the volunteers, my family and the municipal staff. I took it to the townsfolk. Sophia and I set up a stall on the main highway just after 9am. By 12pm we had sold one t-shirt. It was going well. Turns out that pay day is tomorrow- my first failure on the 'market research' front. On the bright side, even if the stall isn't raising much money, it is increasing community awareness of VSO and our work within the community. And a lot of people promised to buy t-shirts "bukhas"- tomorrow. So we shall see.
Perhaps I should be pleased that at the very least, people are engaging with volunteerism. After all, it's not really about producing capital. It's about inspiring and encouraging the community of Cabiao to help themselves.
(NB. The t-shirt design aims to encourage the youth of Cabiao to become volunteers too. It follows the concept that volunteers are everyday superheroes. Hence the tag line: "VSO: be EXTRA ordinary " and the 'Superman' style logo. The idea is that volunteers are just ordinary people doing something extraordinary. Anyone from any background can be a volunteer, no special skills required! All they need is lots of enthusiasm and a willingness to help others.)