This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

As negative as my last blog might have been on the way people do business in Vancouver, this one’s going to be a bit different. I came across the stories of two women taking how business is done into their own hands.

1) Annching Wang, AVERY

Since I have been trying to get clients in fashion, I’ve discovered that the industry in Vancouver is very much like the film industry. Small. Small-scale brands, few big names, and tiny budgets. So I was refreshed to see a designer out of school taking things into her own hands and starting a crowdfunding project. is a site that’s been used mostly by filmmakers trying to get funds to create their project. So why not use it for a fashion line?

What I love about AVERY is that it’s 80% sustainable. And Wang has done her homework and figured out what incentives she’s going to give to her contributing donors, which is key. She has a great eye for branding already – I was blown away by her intro video and she’s already got over 1,000 followers on Twitter and 83 Facebook fans, and counting. When Wang reaches her goal of $6,000 by March, she’ll have only a 4-piece collection, but the revenue will likely be used to fund a bigger collection that will follow. I’m dying to see what each of the pieces looks like.

I’m totally on the same wavelength that having a great wardrobe doesn’t mean you need a lot of stuff. Fewer, better quality items are what creates a wardrobe with longevity, and reduces waste. Wang is so much more ahead than some designers who move so fast that they find themselves in the hole when they start their businesses without a clue of how they are going to make sales. So what a great way to launch and build brand equity with consumers than to crowdsource?

2) Shannen O’Brian, Karma Exchange & Create Change

While the cover of the WestEnder this week reads “THE END OF THE WORLD,” I’m looking forward to 2012 being the start of something BIG for my personal life, my business, and in turn, the world. So I was stoked to read about philanthropist 29 year-old Shannen O’Brian, founder of Karma Exchange and Create Change Now.

I had heard of Karma Exchange before, a social enterprise that partners with real businesses to offer products and deals. Consumers buy things like Vida Spa’s Karma Massage or a treat at David Hawksworth’s Bel Cafe, and in turn 100% of proceeds go to O’Brian’s charity Create Change, in which she video documents all the projects going on. O’Brian created the charity after working and volunteering with NGOs around the world and seeing where our donations to large charities were going to: Land Rovers and expensive meals. Reading the Create Change website, I loved how she said that the images of starving children that we see on TV weren’t necessarily the reality; impoverished people are willing to work hard, but it’s the infrastructure of the country that often prevents them from getting the basics they need to survive. O’Brian is instantly one of my heroes, able to use local business to fuel donations and make the world a better place without beating us over the head with guilt.

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