Having travelled extensively in India, through many isolated communities, Fritha Mason, CEO and founder of Secret Projects learned of an issue that affects many women throughout the continent. The women that Fritha met in these communities had been taught to stitch at home and school as girls and could produce the most beautiful clothing and homeware. What they lacked, was the knowledge needed to sell their goods either at home, in India or on the international market and earn an income from their expertise to support themselves and their families. When she learned of this problem, Fritha felt compelled to solve this selling obstacle and, in 2014, Secret Projects was born.
Secret Projects drives female led micro-enterprise and trains and empowers women in India through the making and selling of clothing and homeware. Working throughout 5 Indian states where there is often a high incidence of human trafficking or for women to earn money, marginalised women are able join Secret Projects Network of Indian Makers, use their stitching skills to produce Secret Projects merchandise and earn an income. The women are able to open their own bank account and the simple fact of having their own money, significantly reduces their risk of being trafficked. Alongside this, women become part of our 4 stage empowerment programme that provides an opportunity to develop their own micro-enterprise if they wish to.
Secret Projects mission to empower women has been supported and helped enormously by being a member of Social Enterprise UK. Working with an organisation that passionately believes that Social Enterprise is the usual way of doing business, we been given a range of opportunities to promote our organisation’s mission, as well as our merchandise. In 2016, we were one of the many organisations highlighted in the Buy Social film with Michael Sheen that promoted the power of social enterprise and our first ever product, The Secret Pillow was featured. The power of being part of this film was far-reaching and provided us with excellent exposure that not only increased the sale of our goods and enabled us to train and empower more women, but as importantly gave us a platform for our story to reach a much wider audience.
In 2019, Secret Projects underwent an exciting transformation, as we put the organisation up for sale and became a Community Benefit Society, allowing people to buy Community Shares in Secret Projects and own the business. This older business model is currently undergoing a revival as communities offer the option of buying shares often to rescue local amenities, such as pubs, shops and libraries. The difference with the Secret Projects Community Share offer lies not only in the overseas location, but also the beneficiaries. Many of our share holders have never visited India, some never will and the vast majority will never meet the women that their investment is helping. We currently have over 200 investors and the capital this has injected into Secret Projects will allow us to develop new products, work with many more marginalised women and we have exciting and innovative times ahead.
Please see the full story of our Community Share Offer HERE. If you would like to discuss investing in Secret Projects, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org