SOC-ENT Part 3: Mental Health Workshops begin!

What’s going on Kim, I hear you say? A lot…as always!

So a lot of you folk know about Keep Real, I’m so humbled to announce the beginning of mental health workshops for the social enterprise!! The first workshop will be in Sheffield as part of the CIC Golddigger Trust for ‘Girls Day’ (you can grab tickets over on their website).

I ran a workshop the previous year, however I’ll be officially running Keep Real’s first workshop for mental health. It will see the yet-to-be-launched colouring books (…have I said too much?) in full swing. I can’t wait to see what the girls think of them! Then they’ll be launching with the new merch in the next couple of months.

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A year on from launching the business officially online, this year is for growth and learning. I think the hardest part is to know what direction to go in. My advisor asked me an extremely inspiring question the other day, “Do you want your business to be big…or do you want it to be deep?”. In simpler terms, do I want to create social change in the community and directly be part of every workshop, making sure that Keep Real is providing qualitative feedback on mental health…or do I want it to be something incredibly huge and part of the wider UK, but without the personal touch?

As much as I’d love Keep Real to support the wider community, being a ‘deep’ social enterprise aligns with what I want currently. I want it to make a difference to young mental health in the community- and at the moment exploring those options on how to do that. Such as the mental health workshop with secondary school girls in Sheffield, and the live event in July.

Next week will begin the process of looking at various directions of growth for the business, and ways in which it can reach a wider audience. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

What do you want to see of from Keep Real?

 

 

Experiences of a Social Entrepreneur: Part One

It’s difficult to sum up all the wonderful tribulations of starting a business. The very first statement I will say, is that the hardest part is starting at all. So here’s 3 inside notes on my experiences so far for Part One!


Personal Challenges:

When I first had the idea of ‘Keep Real‘ – it was around 4 to 5 years ago. A lot has changed in those years, and a lot is changing now. Not knowing what the right step is, will never evolve into an actual step in any direction. You just have to dive right in. Whether that’s saving up to make your first prints, going to local art exhibitions/shows to get a feel for the market, or knowing how to split up your time. I look back at what I first made and holy moly it’s embarrassing! But at the time, I loved the fact I made my very first t-shirt design- I spent hours on Paint (yes….PAINT) to edit out the pencil marks and errors. I asked my friend Darren to walk down to town with our housemates so I could take some pictures on my digital camera.

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Much has changed since then (definitely in technology too…) and reflecting on those parts of business makes you realise how far you’ve come. If you’re truly determined to make your idea work, you will. Don’t be afraid of unsuccessful stalls, sales or ideas (I know… I’ve had plenty!) At the end of the day, you are learning and no one ever gets it right the first time. It’s your idea…and your idea evolves!

 

Not knowing what the right step is, will never evolve into an actual step in any direction.

Know Your Market, Know Your Business!

At first, I toyed around with the idea that Keep Real would give certain amounts of profit to already existing mental health organisations. However, with my degree I wanted to be part of the change and see where the profits go- as well as funding my own life alongside it. A business at the end of the day, is a business. It needs to fund itself…and fund you too!

Knowing WHO your business is aimed at and the big WHY of what your business is, is VITAL. Where does your business slot into the current market? What change are you trying to create? What makes your business different to the others? Read DO/PURPOSE, or any part of the Do Book Co series for tips! Remember that your idea of what your business is, may be different in someone else’s view. Focus groups are a great way to know your market, and can completely change the game! Feedback is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

With Keep Real, I knew I wanted to support better mental health in young people. I didn’t know when I first started making those paint-edited-tshirts that I’d be funding workshops, working with various inspirational creatives and designing supportive tools for wellbeing. Your idea develops over time, do not be afraid of change in direction. For example, I never knew public speaking would be part of Keep Real, but it is!

Overcoming Difficult Situations

The first part of the business that was important for me to lay out, was the process of making a solid foundation. This for me, was registering as self-employed (you can do this also if you are employed…be prepared to start tax returns though!) and the most important for me was trademarking the name ‘Keep Real’ in the UK under certain classifications. Get all the legal stuff out of the way first. Intellectual Property is a HUGE part of your business (especially if you are a creative one) and it needs to be protected. Trademarking in the UK lasts 10 years if approved. So once its yours, its yours for a long time- even if the business changes!

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One situation I had to overcome- was a trademark battle. An existing company in the UK already had a similar name under the very same classifications I was applying for. This felt all too serious, and something that I was unable to handle myself. I was ready to launch the website…then bam!! I had to file a report stating that my ‘mark’ would not disrupt the preexisting business, how my name was different etc, I was given advice from lawyers and freaked out at the prospect of losing the name. It was absolutely terrifying. What if they opposed my application? What if I had to change the name completely? What else would I call the business, when it means so much?!

With a delay that couldn’t be avoided and with much anticipation, the trademark was finally approved, with the other party deciding not to proceed with the next stage of opposing. Thank goodness! So here we are today, with the 10 year stamp (®) that means that my business name cannot be used by anyone under my categories. Phew!

Taking risks or having someone throw an absolute curveball into the mix- is part of the business game. No matter how much research you do, there will be something that completely blows your mind. Taking a step back and reevaluating is part of the job.

Kimmy’s Top Tips:

  • Describe your business in 3 words. Ask others to do the same. Is it the same? This is a great way to evaluate your idea compared to potential customers!
  • Do not be afraid of change! We all started with an idea- it evolves all the time!
  • Curveballs come with business. How you deal with that determines whether or not you’re passionate about your idea.
  • Feedback and research is VITAL. Knowledge is power…

 

Part Two to come!

 

Ethos Mag: A Review

Hey sweet souls! How are you all doing?

Recently I received the super wonderful first edition of Ethos, an independent publication about ‘Good Stories, Good People, Good Business.’ (Get the first issue here!) Now we all know (or should know. If you don’t- yo gal Kimmy is quite the eco warrior/girl boss/wellbeing woman) that ethical business has its foundations of wellbeing. Some folk don’t really understand what ‘ethical business’ is- and its sure as heck a strange one for young people to think about, weaving that into the way of how they shop and feel. So let’s start with what ‘ethical’ is before we review…Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 14.46.19

Being ethical is a lovely foundation of values that something is based upon. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. For example, if our personal thoughts and morals are ‘I believe in being kind to other people’- then that reflects the rest of your behaviour. This includes business, your relationships, everything. Believe in something good? Let it shine throughout whatever you set your mind to. That’s ethics- and to sum it all up, that’s Ethos Magazine.

The Review

From promoting good people and good businesses, the highest impact comes from the chosen front cover from Parley for the Oceans; an overwhelming message of how plastic is ruling our seas. The hard-hitting article on page 18, Plastic Fantastic tells us ‘We are currently living through a profoundly unstable geographical era, which will be characterised by fossils of plastic…we’re toxicating our planet right now and this is what we have to end immediately.’ It also tells the story of the organisation collaborating with Adidas on transforming plastic waste into footwear. A vital message with bold statements for social entrepreneurs and good people alike. Big corporations can make the transition into up-cycling and being more conscious in how they manufacture products. This article is an eye opener in the realm for environmental change.

Flickiimg_20170310_114134618.jpgng through the first parts of Ethos is beautifully constructed. The texture and layout is a dreeeaaam. An insight to the non-profit Crack + Cider, who’s mission is to change perceptions and force people to think about homelessness is a moving piece. Founded by two head strong ladies in London, Crack and Cider is a store where folk can purchase useful items for the homeless. Bringing an innovative movement of charity to the 21st Century. You can donate through their site that is linked previously.

It’s a vivid and strong willed publication. Packed full of inspirational individuals, businesses and infographic content about the world. It’s a refreshing testament to the world we live in, providing a collective of stories that can change how we see ourselves and the impact we have on everything around us.

A key article inside explores the rise of Etsy, the online marketplace for crafters/makers and small businesses. During the economic crash, Etsy thrived. Ethos discusses how a community of makers and creatives prospered by selling their products through the downfall of the stock market. Who knew how innovative and forward thinking Etsy was? I sure didn’t. The article goes beautifully into the ethics of the business and circulates back to the people ‘harnessing the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.’ With every page turn, I’m hooked.

img_20170310_114147907.jpgFrom my perspective as an Entrepreneur, I can’t wait to see what Ethos has in store for the next issues. It’s informative, yet cooly linked to the upcoming businesses and people with a conscious state of mind. From promotional content about people passionate in going green, upcoming events and conferences available around the world, to articles of what is happening right now; its a masterpiece that is up to date on the world of good. It’s not a publication to make us feel bad about the way the world exists- but aims to promote the good and see that change is happening.  Ethos, you’ve outdone yourselves. One loyal subscriber right here.

You can follow them here in their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Women in Power / Why Keep Real is for Everyone

71Fr2S+6pAL._SL1131_If there’s a documentary I couldn’t recommend enough, it would be ‘Miss Representation‘ on Netflix. Exposing how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.

Although I’m in the UK, sexism and under-representation of females in positions of influence or power exists. It has always existed, and continues to in every country in various degrees.

In the UK, women account for under a third of those in self-employment, and if women set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an extra 150,000 start-ups in the UK each year. Plus, for ever £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p.

Nothing has really stopped me from starting up my own business, but I do wish there was a higher representation of successful women in the media. I’d like to think that we are becoming more aware of how the media influences us- and that what we see on our screens, isn’t necessarily something we have to take as the right way to see the world, or the right way to portray women.

However, those of a younger age, I believe do not have this awareness. When young girls are at school, they are constantly evolving, changing and growing as an individual. Girls are still trying to find themselves, and with the media being so accessible- is this making it harder for girls to find their identities?

 

This is why I’m starting my business. Keep Real stands for something good, not just in sustainability, it reflects equality as well as diversity as a brand. I’ve chosen the bands, artists or creatives to be involved with Keep Real; because they reflect a true representation of people. We’re not all size 8 for one. We don’t all have the same goals and aspirations, but that’s what makes us who we are. The media portray women (as well as men) as something that isn’t actually accurate at all. We are all on different paths, and it’s time to start portraying that more. Because people need something real. I know its corny, but Keep Real is something I truly believe in as a brand for everyone. It will continuously grow to reflect real people, and support folk’s wellbeing too.

The media portray women (as well as men) as something that isn’t actually accurate at all. We are all on different paths, and it’s time to start portraying that more.

There’s an extremely good article on how social media is harming the mental health of teenagers here, which I found so insightful. We’re changing the way we socialise and it’s putting so much pressure on teens, as well as everyone else.

It’s time we started making a difference to how the media affects us, and creating something for the people- not against.

 

Trusted Clothes and Keep Real!

The wonderful Canadian non-profit Trusted Clothes are documenting my brand Keep Real’s journey of sustainability and inspiring wellness. So sweet! Please go ahead and check it out.Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 16.06.15

It’s no good promoting mental well-being as a business, if the business doesn’t have the foundations of trying to be the best version of itself either. So we expanded the definition of wellness to include our sustainable souring policy within our supply chain.

Here’s the first blog post I did as the founder. Excitingggg!!! ❤

Challenges of Starting a Sustainable Fashion Brand

Who’s that girl? An Introduction to kimmykeepreal

Hey sweet and wonderful folk! I hope you’re enjoying the week so far, and keeping all wrapped up for the cold weather!

Who’s that girl, huh? Looking at the most viewed posts here on kimmykeepreal.com, quite a lot of you want to know more about me personally, and about my business Keep Real (which is so flippin lovely to see you interested!). I discuss a heck of a lot concerning mental wellness, but never realllyyy about the brain/blonde behind the scenes.

So the first question really is…who is kimmykeepreal? What the heck does she do? I’ll try and tell you… If I can.

Well, firstly I’m a counselling therapy graduate currently starting my own small business ‘Keep Real’ based in Yorkshire, England. Keep Real is an upcoming clothing and goods brand dedicated12445973_944267862289161_907345107_n to creating sweet threads and accessories to inspire wellness, make people feel real good inside and out with a ‘keepin’ it real’ ethos. It’s quite a large part of my life, and I’m determined to make it into the movement it deserves to be! Also, I’m a freelance artist/illustrator. Although I design for my business, I design or collaborate with other businesses and creatives too. With all the arty farty rad things going on- I’m also an activist for mental health. I’m currently writing up a presentation to give to the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust discussing the impact of depression in young people. My public speaking game has gotta be strong!

 

I’m a sucker wpid-img_20150923_165211.jpgfor collecting records, hardbacks and Wonder Woman comics. My choice of music can be a little obscure compared to other tastes; so bands like Turnover, Brand New, Basement and Seahaven. You’ll find most of the bands I listen to are on labels such as Run For Cover, Deathwish and TopShelf Records. Back in the teenage years, I was a huuuggeee Paramore fan and continue to support them (I hear they’re working on a new record as we speak- so rad!). Can’t deny that Bieber is dropping some serious beats lately, so you may catch me listening to him or The Weeknd. Depends on my mood. I want to thank working in a music and film store for 3 years for my wild and wonderful tastes in music!

I have a habit for writing…a lot. I think I have about 5 notebooks on the go, one for scribbling, one for ideas, one as a diary, and a couple for business notes. It helps me process what’s going in my head. Sometimes I feel a little lost if I don’t write down how I feel, or don’t write about my week. When I struggled with anxiety a couple of years ago now, writing was extremely cathartic. When I was over-thinking, or my head was in a strange mess, writing was quite the saviour. There’s something about seeing your thoughts written down in your own hand. You can make more sense of it, and how you truly feel. Or maybe I just write a lot. It’s a system that works, and that’s just fine with me!

You’ll also note that my Instagram is mostly filled with outfit choices, things that interest/inspire me, my artwork and other sweet little gems I come across. The odd selfie or two, but I tend not to post many at all!

I hope this little snippet feeds your need to know a lil’ more. Check back tomorrow for some sweet little pick me ups ❤

Sending all my good thoughts to you, and as always – keep real! ❤

 

 

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #13

Hey folks! Sorry it’s been a few days since I did a post- but with life getting in the way (as it does!), it’s hard to find a time to sit down and type some good things up! So here’s what I’ve been getting up to…

Next Tuesday I will be on BBC Radio 4 with Claudia Hammond for ‘All in the Mind’ discussing mental health in teenagers. Exciting times!!! I will post a link nearer the time, but if you’d like to check out the wpid-img_20151019_194311.jpginfographic, you can do so here. Discussing on a panel of wonderful souls concerning mental health was such a humbling experience. Raising awareness is so important, and it was nice to share parts of my story too. Be sure to tune in on the 27th at 9pm!

I’ve really been focusing on establishing my goods brand Keep Real as a concrete idea, ready to process all my thoughts and ideas into something I think has masses of potential. Once it’s out there, I really hope you love it! Just gotta have the drive and faith to create ❤ I’ve been taking in all the inspiration from my lovely home in Yorkshire, which you’ll see through the brand as a collection.

This week wpid-img_20151020_093301.jpghas also been part of a job search, as I had my second interview at Hollister Co as a Manager in Training. I have my fingers and toes crossed- and I am extremely thankful for whatever way it sways. What a beautiful brand to be interviewed by!

I’m taking every day as it comes, going with the flow and being kind to myself. I am feeling all kinds of good fuzzy vibes lately, and I hope it continues into next week.

I hope this post finds you well, and that your week has been good to you so far!

Sending all my ❤ to you, and as always – keep real! x

You Can Take The Leap!

Good Afternooooon, how are you? I thought today, I would do a post on where I am now aspiration/career path wise, to where I first started thinking of my own business. It has just occurred to me, that I don’t share so much about how I got to where I am. And that isn’t without it’s hard work! Things do not happen overnight, and you just gotta roll with the day, the here and now. I am not saying I am successful or anything like that (who knows, maybe in a few years huh!), but I am saying that I am content with where I think my chosen paths are taking me. Overcoming mental health issues played a part too, so hear me out.

Anxiety held me back from a lot of what I really wanted to do. During my time at University, I had therapy outside of my degree, but also self awareness and personal development lectures and seminars as part of my course. If I didn’t have both of these things, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing today. I gradually became more confident in my abilities, slowly gained awareness of my weaknesses and strengths, and realised that it’s possible to achieve anything as long as you believe that you can. One hundred percent of the time, the only person stopping me from achieving was myself. Mindfulness personally helped me take a step back, and learn to pass each moment not worrying about the future, so I eventually found myself focusing on the present.  So what was happening right here, right now?

I started designing in my spare time, developing scribbles into more scribbles on tote bags and t-shirts. Maybe my hobby could be a business! I took the leap, walking with my scrapbook in hand to the local art gallery in Huddersfield, to see if I could put my work up in there. Hey Presto! They accepted, and that’s where it began. My confidence boosted, I continued to draw. At this point, I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise. I liked to draw, and maybe others would like it too!

I eventually found myself drawing more than studying for my degree, it also kept my anxiety at bay too. In the space of a year, I put myself and my work out there. Even though my vision as a business wasn’t clear, I went for it anyway. During the year of 2014, I exhibited my work at the annual Art Walk Exhibition, my work was up in two local stores, amazing arty connections with some fantastic illustrators and creatives made, had my first big commission for a small menswear company down in London, Levi’s looked at my work a lil’ bit and I created my first mini collection.

*phew* – what a year! All of that while studying, and having two part time jobs.

So, fast forward to the present. I’m working on my business plan. It’s getting prettttyyy serious. I have such confidence in my business idea and what to do. It’s very much under wraps (although sneaky behind the scenes is on my Instagram), I’ve been blogging about mental health more, and working with the charity Rethink- where I blogged for them regarding Anxiety and University. My work is more refined and it feels sooo good to have a solid style that I’m happy with. I was asked to go down to BBC Radio 4 in London for All in the Mind (which you’ll get to know more of soon, it’s a wee bit of a secret right now!), and I’m in the process of being interviewed for a Manager in Training at a certain amazing company. Exciting!

You can take the leap into whatever your heart is set on. You wanna start your own business? Go for it. You wanna change your career path? Make it happen. You don’t have to have a clear vision straight away, but once your heart is set on something, I implore you to take the steps in making it happen. In the last few months, I have only just realised what I want to do business wise. It’s taken research, trial and error, plus a substantial amount of patience to get to this point here. It’s only just beginning.

If you believe you can do it, you will do it. I believe in you, because you have never ending potential. You got this. ❤

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #8

Hello my lovelies! Man, this week has been rad so far! I’ve been having such a wonderful time and there’s so much to be getting on with. Here’s what I’m excited about lately and some updates on my adventures.

I got a beautiful little email this afternoon from Rethink Mental Illnesscropped-wpid-img_20150525_132636.jpg, saying that they are going to publish my post sometime next week! I’ll keep you informed when it is up on their page so you can check it out! It’s all about my experiences with anxiety and how it is possible to come out of the other side. It is possible to break through those barriers you feel you have ❤ I thought to share my experience so it could hopefully help some folk. Plus, I’m training for my fundraising with Rethink- so I’ll be posting up a JustGiving page real soon!

Plus some exciting news concerning my garment and goods brand Keep Real (follow on Twitter and Facebook). Designs are being finalised and selected for the brand new collection. I am so excited about these dotwork illustrations!! I able to tell you that the new collection will be called ‘Brotherhood/Sisterhood’.cropped-wpid-img_20150608_1012111.jpg It’s all about feeling real good, doing good and celebrating the bond we all have with each other. We all stand together. We shouldn’t be tearing our friends down or making other people feel bad because they are on different paths- we should be supporting each other and pushing ourselves and everyone around us to be the best they can be. We are part of a brother/sisterhood and collectively, we all have the ability to stay true to ourselves and be humble in our walks of life. We gotta keep real. 

I will keep you all up to date with my ‘Keepin’ Up With Kimberley’ posts- so have those lovely eyes peeled in your inboxes or wordpress readers!

P.s it would be awesome if you could fill this quick poll in for my blog ❤ Sending you all the love and posi vibes!

 

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #3

Hey lovelies, hope you are all well! I’ve managed to be quite the busy lady lately, as I’m moving out of my house and going back home to my family for a while. The University life has come to an end, so it’s time to pack up my bags and get back to the shire until I move out after Christmas! Plus, I’ve been working both my jobs and making the most of the West Yorkshire life (which means lots of wine, lots of friends…and lots more wine)!

With the giveaway of last year’s collection happening at the moment, I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of scrapbooking for the new collection. I’ve accumulated a huuuggeee amount of labels, wpid-img_20150604_184839.jpgsketches from KR, notes and cards from different independent brands and local stores. It’s a great source of inspiration for new ideas or ways to evolve the Keep Real brand. Research is key!

Also, I’ve become an Activist for Mental Health with ReThink Mental Illness!! I’m trying to find ways of raising money for charities at the moment- but blogging about mental health is so so important to me. Let’s see where the Activist journey takes me!

I’ve been doing a lot reading recently- especially ‘The Quantum Universe- Everything That Can Happen, Does Happen’ by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (you can purchase it here). Its so beautifully written, with the advantages of not making the reader think their IQ doesn’t qualify for such a read. It talks about quantum physics, coursing through topics of historical beginnings to understanding what surrounds us today. My mind has been blown this week, so thanks Brian & Jeff!

I haven’t had the chance to do mindfulness mediation recently, and in all honesty I’ve noticed the difference. I still feel good and take the time out to write, wpid-img_20150604_185243.jpgbut man is my sleeping game poor! I’m restless and unable to sleep the night through. It’s time to get back into meditation to heal my little hobbit soul.

Hope you are all well and having a wonderful time, wherever you are in the world ❤