A #SocentOriginStory with Sarah Ball of Mango Sticky

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With the IDEA FINDER Workshop coming up soon, here at theSedge.org we’ve been thinking a lot about how social enterprises ideas are born.

Do ideas come in a sudden spark of inspiration, or evolve over time?  Do they come fully formed, or as an inkling of an idea that needs some tender loving care to focus and refine?  What exactly needs to be in place before taking action on a socially entrepreneurial idea?  Or, is it best to start before you feel ready and learn as you go?

I posed some of these questions to the collaborative Global #Socent Lab Facebook group for further insight.  The majority of our changemakers were either still working through possible ideas, or reflected that their current social entrepreneurship work was a gradual evolution.

To dig deeper into the topic and share a piece of her journey, I’m pleased to introduce Sarah Ball of the social enterprise Mango Sticky.  Mango Sticky is an upcoming social enterprise clothing label for traveling women, inspired by global textiles.

To see the first line of clothing, stay tuned for Mango Sticky’s Kickstarter campaign later in 2015 (link will be posted here when it goes live.)

Now I’ll pass it off to Sarah to share her #SocentOriginStory!

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When did you realize you wanted to be a social entrepreneur?

It started when I moved to Laos in 2012. I was living in close proximity to a lot of people who really need some capital H Help. I was able to get an up close look at the creative ways organizations were going about serving these people. I’ve always had the nebulous idea that I wanted to do work that brought about positive social change, and while I was there my desire to be an entrepreneur really blossomed. So when I found a business idea that stuck, it was a given that it would be a social enterprise in some form.

 

What is your vision for the change you wish to see in the world?

My vision is small and practical, because in my experience that’s the most realistic path to success. I want to support people and organizations in the developing world that have their own vision to aid and improve their communities, be it through entrepreneurship, education, agriculture, or the arts.

 

How is your social enterprise, Mango Sticky, a positive force for change in the world serving this goal?

The ultimate vision for Mango Sticky is to work directly with artists and creatives from the culture our textile designs come from. We’ll work with partners there to design our prints, and the proceeds will be invested within the same community.

Until we can build up the resources to pursue this, the plan is much more simple while we start up. We’ll be donating a portion of profits into microloans (through organizations like Zidisha) to support entrepreneurs in the developing world while Mango Sticky gets established.

 

How did you arrive at the current concept for Mango Sticky?  How has the idea evolved over time since your first flash of inspiration?

Through slow, steady marination. Or maybe a “brewing” metaphor is more appropriate because the best evolution happens over coffee! One Sunday each month I plonk down at a cafe for a few hours to reevaluate the direction it’s all going. Flexibility and open-mindedness are so key in the early stages. I try not to cling too hard to any details and focus on the big picture.

 

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 From @mangostickythreads on Instagram

 

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered so far and how did you overcome it?

Breaking into the fashion industry. It’s hard to get people to work with you when you’re starting out and so easy to make rookie mistakes. So much of what seems intuitive will get you ignored by the people you need to help you out!

 

Any advice to share with aspiring social entrepreneurs?

If you can’t get an idea out of your head, you’ll make yourself crazy trying to get around it. Start pursuing your idea in any little way you can. You don’t have to be a rockstar perfectionist to do something good!

 

What do you view as the most important skill or quality for a social entrepreneur?

As long as you’re tenacious and a quick learner, I think it’s doable! Too many people have it in their heads that you need to be a charismatic visionary Richard Branson-type, out to simultaneously save and conquer the world to even get started. Not so!

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From @mangostickythreads on Instagram

If you could have dinner with 3 people (dead or alive) who would they be and why?

Yvon Chouinard and Nikola Tesla, in the hopes that their entrepreneurial brilliance and deeply generous spirits might rub off on me. And Italo Calvino, because even though I have no idea what kind of person he was, I’d give anything to peek into the mind that conceived Cosmicomics. But I’d be too overwhelmed to even speak, so dinner would be pretty awkward.

 

What advice would you give to your 10-years-younger self if you could speak with her now?

I’m only 28, so we’re going back to some awkward years here. That Sarah always chose to hide – her personality, ideas, body, heart. I’d tell her she can be whomever she wants to be and she can change right away. Might take a little while to sink in, but I think she’d listen.

 

And finally, if tomorrow was your last day on Earth how would you spend it?

I’m in Indonesia right now, so here’s what I’d do tomorrow: Give all my money and possessions to Bumi Sehat (an amazing maternity clinic here) and ride a motorbike up the east coast of Bali, with the mountains to my left and the ocean to my right. Wind in my hair, no helmet. Stop in a village to eat some grilled fish. Paddle a canoe out to sea and watch the sun set.

 

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Here’s how to connect
with Sarah and Mango Sticky:

instagram: @mangostickythreads

 

 

 


Idea Finder Workshop

Want To Profile Your #SocentOriginStory?  Email Me!

And if you're ready to take action today to continue moving your social and environmental change ideas forward, join the Impact Compass IDEA FINDER Workshop on July 29th.

 

 

 

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