Rachel Whitworth speaks about measuring, communicating, and showcasing impact cultivated through the good business of social entrepreneurship. Rachel is the founder of the House of Eden Studio, a marketing and consulting agency supporting social enterprises, nonprofits, and businesses doing good. She is also a catalyst behind Hello Good World, a way for social enterprises to efficiently measure their impact, to magnify the social impact created by these social enterprises. Based in Australia, the initiative provides marketing services to purpose-led, impact-led organizations, mainly small businesses, so that their business and message can thrive.
Working with social enterprises gave Rachel insights on how the social enterprise community can relate better to each other and the public. She reveals that the more we can help each other in the social enterprise community, the more we are elevating and educating all of the consumers around us. She describes the role of being a business owner, trying to stay on top of all the business, and adopting better business practices. There is generally a lack of time, money, resources, or skills, so Rachel really began learning to identify the problem for herself. She says she found the problem revolves around education and building trust.
Two aspects social enterprises fall behind on are marketing strategies to gain customers and using historical data to show impact. Hello Good World is a three-tiered solution connected to a small certification to validate how social entrepreneurs are working towards the social enterprise model. At one tier, the platform provides levels that give a familiar concept of a bronze, silver or gold level to make the communication easy to follow. Rachel explains how showcasing the social impact brands in this way actually gives the consumer the power and the understanding to really make the conscious buying decision that they truly want.
Currently, Rachel maintains a full-time job, House of Eden Studio, and the newly launched Hello Good World. She expresses how she feels like to balance all three positions with all three initiatives. Her experience can really give insight on building a team, and having mentors. Being connected to a supportive system kept Rachel on track with her mission and core values as a social entrepreneur.
Under the layers of promoting social enterprise, Rachel is also advocating for specific concerns, like sustainability. From her observations, she thinks there is a misconception with the average consumer that sustainability means buying products that are recycled, and you pop it in the recycling bin or the compostable bin afterwards. Her view dives much deeper, connecting sustainability to who made the products, how the people are treated, and what resources are available to that community of people.
The conversation goes into the practical tips of how House of Eden manages to empower social enterprises in their projects. Rachel speaks on providing tools to increase confidence and having transparent conversations. Rachel gives examples of specific projects to show that starting social impact doesn’t need to be perfect.
[00:00:00] Adam: Welcome to People Helping People, the podcast inspire greater social change and give you ideas on how to take action. I'm your host, Adam Morris. Today. I'm excited to have Rachel Whitworth on the podcast, founder of the House of Eden Studio, a marketing and consulting agency, supporting social enterprises, nonprofits, and businesses doing good. Recently she's launched. Hello, good world. A certification to help social impact businesses communicate the good that they're doing across a common scale, so consumers can understand what the impact their company is making clearly and consistently to their customers. So to speak about magnifying, the impact that social enterprises are making Rachel welcome on the podcast.
[00:00:43] Rachel: Thank you for having me.
[00:00:45] Adam: I would love to start off. Can you tell us just a little bit about what House of Eden Studio is and what services you offer?
[00:00:53] Rachel: Absolutely. So House of Eden Studio is a social enterprise marketing agency and we are dedicated to. Really helping the purpose led impact led organizations thrive. We work with very small businesses mainly here in Australia. Although we have worked with a few people overseas too. And. We provided a range of different services.
So what we identified was that to just do done for you marketing services wasn't necessarily what really small solo entrepreneurs needed or wanted. As part of our social impact, those that can help want our full stack of services actually help us reinvest our profits into mentoring and helping people at that really early stage, because we are really, proud to understand that the more that we can help each other in the social enterprise community, the more we are elevating and educating all of the consumers around us. So we really do believe in the motto that together we thrive leading better business.
[00:02:01] Adam: Where in Australia are you based?
[00:02:03] Rachel: I'm in the sunny gold coast, although it is a winter here right now. So we're quite chilly in comparison.
[00:02:11] Adam: I love that. Now what's the social enterprise scene, like where you are.
[00:02:16] Rachel: We're about a hundred kilometers away from Brisbane and the social enterprise world forum was announced to be in Brisbane next year. So it's a really buzzing scene and everyone is really excited by the opportunity that the world forum is coming to us.
Brisbane and gold coast specifically seem to be one of the major hubs in social enterprise as well. And it's just fantastic being around people that want to use business as a tool to make a change.
[00:02:44] Adam: I love that I've been seeing so much happening in Australia. It's just amazing of new ideas and new ventures that are starting. It seems a lot of the great new things are coming from Australia. So in addition to the House of Eden studio you're launching Hello Good World.
And I'm really curious if you can explain to me what this is and how this works.
[00:03:06] Rachel: Hello Good World started at a startup weekend about six or seven weeks ago. And it was really based around, the problem that I'm facing with my social enterprise clients every day. And it's the fact that unfortunately, especially as a small business, that's really just trying to stay on their feet whilst also adopting better business practices.
There is generally a lack of time, money, resources, or skills to be able to do the marketing as well as all of the other jobs and all of the other bulls you have to manage as a business owner. And so I really started to have a look at what the problem was, and I really believe that the problem is around education and building trust.
If you're doing that on a one to one basis between myself and my client and then my client using their limited resources to then be able to have the need to educate and build trust. It takes a very long time. In that process, obviously small business in general. I think the statistics in Australia are abysmal for small businesses lasting longer than three years.
And that's really sad, especially when people are doing better. So I started toying with this idea of Hello Good World and how can I provide a solution to pull everyone together again, coming back to my original vision statement Together, we thrive leading better business. And the idea behind having a, almost an Amazon for Good and having an online platform that we can pull all of those amazing businesses together, because there are so many people that are doing it better and we can use our collective resources our marketing skills.
And all of our connections and networks with, especially with PR and things like that, to actually help the whole community and the more that we can help the whole community, the more that we're actually rising the consumer knowledge about the sector. And the other part of that is. We will have a, sort of a validation service.
There are definitely, especially here in Australia constraints with gaining that trust and needing some kind of certification to prove what they're that what they're doing is right. But it's just really still an accessible to small and early stage entrepreneurs that just need to be given a chance and need to get out there in front of their audience.
And that's really in a nutshell how Hello Good World has been born. And we're very excited because we've been put on an accelerator program here in Brisbane to take things to the next level and launching very soon.
[00:05:56] Adam: Oh, that's so awesome. Now, can we dive into this a bit more? What are some of the current certifications available for companies and what did those processes typically look like?
[00:06:08] Rachel: One that globally we're aware of is B-Corp certification. I know that in Australia, there's 20,000 social enterprise in the UK and Europe, you're talking about 2 million social enterprise. I haven't quite found the stats for social enterprise, in the U S and Canada.
But. There's only 3,500 B-Corp. And with all of those amazing businesses, why is that such a lack of people with this certification? And after I did a lot of research, I found out that even what America would consider still a small enterprise, it would maybe be considered a medium enterprise here, but they actually had one person I'm in a full-time job, working for them to renew that B-Corp certification every two years. And so that alongside all of the hoops that you have to jump through to get through and prove on paper that you have done. Everything that you've said that you are doing is just really inaccessible. And here in Australia, we do have a social enterprise certification as well.
But one of the biggest things that we found was that. People wanted to be certified, but there was no potential or guaranteed outcome for what that certification would offer. So it was just, didn't make financial sense for them to put a chunk of their money. Even if it is small to some businesses, when you're talking to small micro businesses, that's a large chunk that could have been used towards marketing or something like that to actually gain the customer.
The other thing is obviously the historical data. Not everyone has what they need to show in a profit or loss statement in the financial. So it's just really difficult to prove as well. I think.
[00:08:01] Adam: Now, another thing that I've noticed too, is it's very difficult for social enterprises to consistently communicate the impact that they're making. So can you describe a little bit how you do that through Hello Good World.
[00:08:17] Rachel: Yes, absolutely. So hello, good world is actually a three tiered solution. Eventually we're starting with just having a small validation that gives a bronze, silver or gold level of how you're working towards the social enterprise model. And so we're not being exclusive to those. Do tick those boxes, but we're being inclusive of those working towards and still making a difference.
The next tier is a validation service. What we're actually doing is we're using systems and softwares that have been used for corporate social responsibility for large enterprises. When people are looking at risk management, when they're looking at buying shares. What we're actually working on at the moment is re-purposing that to populate instead of three numbers for risk management and deciding whether you should buy a share those three numbers in ethics, sustainability, and cause driven activities.
And then going to be available to the consumer. So it actually gives the consumer the power and the understanding to really make the conscious buying decision that they truly want, because this is another statistics that was amazing to me that globally, not just here in Australia or in the us.
Westernized countries, but globally 76.7% of people want to be buying with cause, and actually like social impact and cost driven activities. And so if there's this huge want and there's this huge need to connect with those people, why isn't it happening? And so that's where hello, good world fits into all of it. Yeah.
[00:10:06] Adam: And what's really nice is if you have two similar brands being able, just to have some way of comparing them of which one is making more impact in either a cause-related issue or a sustainability-related issue. So if you have a preference for one over the other, you can then see that.
[00:10:26] Rachel: Absolutely. Everyone's going to have those causes that mean more to them. And for one person, it might be better health and wellbeing. Another person they might be building sustainable cities and communities. So on our platform, you can actually search based on those values. That mean the most to you.
[00:10:43] Adam: For the first of those metrics with the ethics, like how do you measure that? What's what goes into that?
[00:10:50] Rachel: There is a fair amount that goes into that, especially because we are producing a system that?
will be available for any product based business. But obviously there are different things that go into the supply chain specifically when it comes to ethics. So to give an example if it's a piece of clothing, we would be looking at the materials and how that was made.
How they were doing. One thing that we have identified is that even a company that may give you a certificate to prove that they are ethical based on the wages of the in-house staff doesn't mean that they are not utilizing outsourced, garment and we have notified and we do have red flags on specific areas around the world that do use that practice.
Then we look at how the garments made, but also how the materials are made. So one part of ethics is obviously being humane as well. And looking at what practices are you using a vegan? I guess if you're looking at the beauty industry, are you testing on animals and things like that?
So it does depend per industry, but they are the type of things that we're looking at are the people and the planet being looked after in the best way. And we provide a school. We, this is the other thing is that it's not just a stamp of approval. We provide a school. So even if a company may be ethical, but a little less sustainable, you have the power to make that decision of where you want to move your values towards.
[00:12:36] Adam: And that seems also very useful for a company just to understand, Hey, here's an area for me to improve on.
[00:12:42] Rachel: I guess what I am really proud of is that it's not an exclusive platform and those that aren't on the platform probably ticking no boxes. And so I really encourage anyone that is interested, even if you're just focusing on the course or you're just focusing on sustainability right now. That is totally okay. And you're still doing better than so in many other businesses out there. The idea is that this platform is really going to transform and lead the way and the people that will be on our platform first are going to be, I truly believe the people that are leading the change into the future.
And it just gives me goosebumps to think about. For every $1 spent with a social enterprise is at least $3 worth of value back to the community. It's so all of this coming back to why we do what we do, why social enterprise does what we do. It's because we want to make some serious social, environmental, or cultural change.
And it is just so exciting. Give back the power to the consumer and to those businesses that are doing better to really make that happen as well.
[00:13:59] Adam: I love that. Now you mentioned that there were three tiers and you've talked about the first two. What's the,
[00:14:05] Rachel: the third tier is in the works. It will be probably one to two years away because this is the next level. It's a product by product verification. Because obviously not everyone has the same supply chain for their whole range of products as well. So that's another thing that we've had to take into consideration in providing an average.
For tier two. In the works. It's going to take a while. That will probably be more as the businesses start to grow and start to develop that's when they're going to want that individualized expertise. It's not to say that every single business needs to do that from the outset when they get onto our platform.
Like I said that's the problem with a lot of these things at the moment. We really want it to be as accessible as possible to gain that trust with that audience. So you can grow and scale and eventually be doing that product by product verification as well.
[00:15:05] Adam: I just have to reiterate it much I see this with social entrepreneurs that start up and, they don't have time or the capital to invest in a B Corp certification, it still would be really nice to have a way for them to communicate, the good that they're doing.
And. Be able to understand that in a way that's consistent across multiple social enterprises. So this is such a cool idea. I'm curious a little bit, just to hear about your journey of starting this, it sounds like you, you launched this at a startup weekend recently. What's that been like to launch a new concept and get it out?
[00:15:43] Rachel: The honest truth, tiring, of course, I'm still running a marketing agency at the same time. Luckily I've got an amazing team around me. Which I must mention. It's a really great way to test out a concept. If anyone has ever thought about doing one, I really highly recommend it because it's an amazing way to be guided through a process to really see whether the is actually an idea worth continuing on from. But I was very fortunate that a couple of the people that were on that weekend with me have decided to continue on and become co-founders with me. And it's really great with how Sabina and I started from the ground up.
I was started doing it in my evenings while I was still in full-time employment. And then I moved out of employment and worked the business up by myself and then eventually had staff come on and join me. This is a totally different way, especially in tech. Starting a business and you need to make sure that you have that team around you.
So it's been a really interesting process. But between myself as the founder, the understanding of the social enterprise sector and being able to do the marketing and then my co-founder has had years and years of e-commerce experience. So he's helping us bring that front end to life. The third being my father actually.
So he has worked in banking for the last 30 to 35 years creating these software solutions for banks. And it's an amazing opportunity to work with him. And the three of us can take this project incredibly far, which is amazing. And that's why we've been able to escalate and grow quickly because we haven't necessarily had to outsource looking for developers to help us build these before.
Got their skills. In-house in our team to be able to escalate this forward and quickly. But it's not without its challenges as any early stage startup business. I'm very. Very grateful to her work to have been
[00:17:55] Adam: Okay.
[00:17:56] Rachel: accepted onto a pre accelerator program in Brisbane. And so I have access to up to 50 mentors.
I have two mentors, Pauline and Lou that are both just amazing and work with us. And yeah. Day of the week, really to keep us on track and ready for our pitch, which will be on the 29th of July. I'm excited. I'm scared, I'm nervous. But I guess the biggest thing is to just not hold back and just to jump in full steam ahead because. That's the way that we can create this change and we can create this change quickly. And I always just every sleepless night, I have to remind myself of my why and my core values and bringing myself back to, this is this but the there's more to it there's especially hopes to say partner with the United Nations and actually create that change.
Being advocacy for that change as well is what pushes me forward, through all of the highs and the lows.
[00:19:06] Adam: I really love how you've tied them in metric back into the sustainable development goals. Just as a common framework for the impact that you know, people can have.
[00:19:18] Rachel: Definitely. There's obviously lots of amazing documentaries about this sort of thing, but. I think there is a misconception with the average consumer at the moment that sustainability means that you buy something that's recycled and you pop it in the recycling bin or the compostable bin afterwards.
And therefore you are sustainable. And it obviously goes a lot deeper than that. A huge part of it is how that product was made, not just for it's physically made out of, but who made your garment and the United Nations, I believe is that best way of showing that true holistic sustainability, that one of the best things that you can do for climate change is to educate young women overseas.
And a lot of people don't grasp that concept.
[00:20:10] Adam: Tell me more about that.
[00:20:11] Rachel: What they identified was that one of the biggest struggles with climate change in poverty specifically, is that right? Young women that need the same opportunities. They need to be given the education and the tools to be able to thrive too.
And so that gender equality is a massive piece to really changing and establishing, true sustainability. But giving young women the tools to not just be able to think for themselves, but to have more understanding around trafficking and sex, slavery and all of those horrible things that unfortunately are happening in the world
[00:20:58] Adam: by educating, especially women abroad, then they, can make better choices. And they're just more informed about what's possible. Also that gives them tools to avoid some things which can lead to destructive behaviors both for humanity or for the environment.
[00:21:17] Rachel: I guess the main thing comes back to just being able to give them an education at the start and the same opportunities. Women in general are more likely to put money back into the communities than men as well.
So it's that true holistic sustainability that the money that they can eventually make through having an education can then repopulate and regenerate the whole community in a more positive way too.
[00:21:45] Adam: So coming back to the House of Eden Studio you started this four years ago. It sounds like you've completed around 124 projects and that time. What are some of the things that you've seen from the companies you've worked with , that purpose led businesses or social enterprises struggle with.
[00:22:03] Rachel: The biggest thing that I've noticed at the very early stage is people feeling like that they're not good enough and they're almost like they're not good enough to communicate.
[00:22:19] Adam: Okay.
[00:22:20] Rachel: The good things that they've done because they think it's not enough. Or as I mentioned before not feeling empowered by the good things that they've done, but they're laser focused on the things that they're not doing yet.
And so for me, it's really important to give the early stage social entrepreneurs, the tools to just increase their confidence because increasing their confidence and that knowledge of the things that they can talk about and having those transparent conversations like we have mentioned before is understanding we're not perfect, but this is what we're planning to do is actually an amazing communication piece between yourself and a potential customer.
And the other thing is that really around target market? People feeling like that they don't want to exclude anyone. So they want their product to be available to everyone. And one of the things I do have to educate a lot of the social entrepreneurs on is that actually, if they just really truly understand the needs of the market and make sure that you're providing a solution to a problem for that market and you start to communicate.
Yeah. One target person, one ideal customer within that market, whole communications start to just compound and start to work more efficiently. And the reason being, I always think back to. The difference between standing up in front of a stage full of thousands of people versus having a one-on-one conversation with your best friend, when you're having that one-on-one conversation with your target customer or your ideal customer actually changes the narrative for a whole lot more people that are sitting on the other end of say your social media or something like that, because they feel that you're talking to them instead of saying.
This is a product and it's available to everyone. That person on the other end might think, oh yeah, that's best suited to. and so, and not really connect with this is important to me. And so though those two things around all three things, confidence, understanding what to say and who to say it to the most vital starting points for the social enterprise.
But it does come back to having the confidence to do so in the first place, for sure.
[00:24:51] Adam: I feel that as well we started at Wild Tiger Tees back in 2018 and it's still a small side hustle and we're always looking at, what's the impact we could be making versus what's the impact we are making. And sometimes that feels discouraging just saying, Hey, we're not as big as we'd like to be.
And we're not, doing as much as we would like to be, but. at the same time, we work with youth who are experiencing homelessness and when we have that chance to connect with him like it is very uplifting, like a wonderful experience to be there in a mentoring relationship when we're doing work and having great conversations.
I think that confidence piece is huge, especially for somebody who is smaller.
[00:25:35] Rachel: and I think it's just the whole idea of coming back to, touching one person and giving one person the opportunity to change their life in whatever way, shape or form, whatever type of opportunity that you've been able to offer. can't disregard that you really can't because that one person has a ripple effect with every next person that they talk to.
And then that has a ripple effect. And that has a ripple effect. Obviously the same goes for marketing, but definitely when it comes to the confidence and you've worked with a number of people now, and it's definitely something that you can shout from the rooftops, in my opinion, and just say, look, this is what's happening.
And this is what the youth are saying. Yeah. If you're experiencing these things, then come and join us. It's what happens when they show up it's those little conversations that you might have. That actually then stick with them and say of them, even in this accelerator program that I'm in at the moment that I don't know the opportunities that I'm missing every day, that I'm not actually physically in the office. Because you only know what you've got on paper, but each of those individual conversations that you have, I believe are actually the true to your life changing things that don't necessarily get, put on paper, but stick with a person for life.
[00:27:10] Adam: I've noticed that my own life, it's those conversations where some insight hits you and it just sticks. And then that becomes a part of your story and who you are.
So with all the projects that you've done through House I've Eden Studio, do you have a couple of favorite projects that you could share?
[00:27:30] Rachel: One that's really close to my heart is I not for profit charity that I helped, they called ethni. And they're local to here. They provide young women of color refugee and migrant backgrounds, the mental health tools, wellbeing and a safe space for them to come together and communicate.
And start to be heard. And I was involved in helping them do to rebrand and start to connect. And one of the beautiful things that as soon as we changed the design and the messaging. Yes, there were more people coming to their events, but it was actually amazing to see those that came out of the woodwork that also wanted to start volunteering.
And maybe were a few years older than the called refugee and migrant girls that they were working with. But not just volunteering to get the message out there. Also becoming peer to peer role models for the group. And it's just really exciting and really empowering, honestly, these girls um, uh, the future leaders of the world, they definitely put me to shame the things that they're thinking about age is just gobsmacking is just empowering. It's so exciting to see what this opportunity and this ability to give them a voice is actually going to do for themselves and for the people and for the planet. They're just absolutely inspirational young women.
[00:29:10] Adam: When I started learning about, refugees and just one, what they go through before they even get a refugee status. That's a really difficult, challenging things that people go through. I think people look and they think of refugees as, okay. Yeah. You've had a hard time when you've come to this country and, sometimes there's pushback, but they don't realize, just what somebody has gone through in order to leave their country and come somewhere new with that.
And some of the horrors that they've gone through or experienced And there's, it's one thing to pick up and move to a new country. It's another thing to do so with a traumatic experience where you haven't really left because of a desire to travel, but out of a necessity
[00:29:56] Rachel: Came to Australia when I was 21 from the UK. And I know just the struggles that I faced in, in, in getting my visas, when I'm part of a Commonwealth country, I can speak the language and have everything going for me. And I know the hoops that I had to go through, I know how much it costs and all of those things.
I just cannot even imagine. Those that are fleeing that country, having to leave family behind all the emotional stress. And it is really sad to see the way that treated us second class citizens, the moment that they land. The fact that we can't even honor them with a birthday.
We give everyone the same birthday. I don't know whether it's the same in America, but ever everyone's given the same birthday here. And it's almost like why can't you acknowledge it? But everyone was pulling on the same day. It's like they don't care, but for. Identification reasons and everything else like for the Western society.
It's very important to know what your birthday isn't have identification for this and that. And for every form that you have to fill in. And that is an immediately a holding point for refugees and migrants that are actually trying to start a life here because we were not acknowledging just the simplest of things.
Yeah, it's it really disheartening. And so to be able to provide a solution to at least start helping those communities is is really special.
[00:31:44] Adam: And it's also great that you're able to help a local company with their messaging. Branding in order to communicate what they're doing more effectively. I'd love this outcome of being able to greatly increase their impact. Both in what they're doing in communicating to the public, but also in attracting new volunteers and new people to participate.
So that's really powerful what people can do through really good messaging.
[00:32:13] Rachel: Absolutely. And obviously, as a result of having more women on the program, then the funding has now started to kick in for them too. So the grants being accepted and people are recognizing the brand and harrowing the brand and all of those things. Yeah. Definitely a direct impact of really just helping change their brand and get really specific on that messaging.
[00:32:45] Adam: Got it. Now, was there something for you personally that brought you to do more social impact work?
[00:32:51] Rachel: In actual fact it was a internal it was this internal dialogue that I was having with myself. I guess it's not necessarily the right way of saying it, but the way that I was just hearing it in my head was that I'm making money for the wrong people. And I was working with organizations we're doing fantastically.
I think I did quite a good job at helping them with their marketing, but it was completely unethical, completely unsustainable. And it just grated on me more and more. and I think a lot of freelancers do they say yes to every project that come in and. It sounds bad, but I think when I loved the project, I put extra time and effort into it.
And the conversation that the messaging came through. So seamlessly the results were amazing. And the projects that actually weren't necessarily aligned with my values, even though I tried my hardest, it was like I was being faced up against a brick wall time and time again. And then that's when I realized why am I offering these services?
Not performing as well for those that I don't believe him because I don't believe in them because I'm being forced to create. Creatives and messaging to connect people to an audience when I don't believe in the product. And so that's the internal dialogue that I kept having time and time again.
And then the final thing was if I am going to work with social enterprise, then I am going to be a social enterprise myself. And then that's when I transitioned the business to not just. Helping people with center of the profits, but actually like putting it on paper, how can I do better? And because being inspired by those people, I was surrounded with every day helping them I just constantly wanted to re reevaluate my model and do better.
So it just felt like the right fit for me to continue to work with them moving forward.
[00:34:57] Adam: That's fantastic. I love that. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast today, I've really enjoyed this conversation. Just it's exciting with the Hello, Good World. Like seeing that come into being I think there's such potential there for everybody. Who's trying to communicate the impact that they're making.
And then the work that you're doing through House of Eden Studio helping lift up social enterprises and other purpose-driven companies
[00:35:22] Rachel: thank you. Yeah. So the best way to find out about me is probably through LinkedIn Rachel Whitworth. But if you want to be involved in a project or get involved with Hello Good World, it will be probably going direct to the websites. Hello Good World dot com or House of Eden Studio.com dot au..
[00:35:48] Adam: Great. When you know, if you're listening, definitely go check out. Hello, Good World.com. Sign up, jump in and take off. I think the more that we jump on and make use of these tools, the better they grow and the more that benefit that's everybody.
Thank you very much.