From left, Greta Goodfellow, Jane Hassmanh, B1G1 founder Paul Dunn, Karen Ormerod (Kobomo owner) and Lee Newton.
From left, Greta Goodfellow, Jane Hassmanh, B1G1 founder Paul Dunn, Karen Ormerod (Kobomo owner) and Lee Newton.

Business with a global conscience

THE founder of global business philanthropy phenomenon B1G1, Paul Dunn, was on the Sunshine Coast recently to meet with one of the latest local businesses to sign on to the scheme.

Kobomo, a retail shop which expanded a month ago into a women's dress shop and children's store in the Noosa Village, has become involved in B1G1 (Buy 1 Give 1).

Kobomo owner Karen Ormerod is also featured on the B1G1 website, talking about how she shares her philosophy of giving with customers, thereby meeting B1G1's three-part aim to "connect, impact and habit".

"We had a really connected moment today," she said.

"A new customer...late 50s, and very stylish...came in and bought five new garments for an upcoming conference in NZ.

"I gave her a small 'gift with purchase' and said we also thank our customers for each item they purchase by providing a meal for a child in need. She was amazed and after walking out of the shop she came rushing back in and gave me a huge hug. Love it!"

Karen said when she opened the shop in 2011, she had little idea of the impact it could have on people.

"I knew people would love the cotton fabrics and quirky styles I tend to lean toward with my designs, as I have been selling them at various markets for some years. Yet what is evolving daily in the boutique through our connection with so many women is an enriching social fabric.

"I love that people now walk in daily just to say hi, catch up, share a story or show off their latest outfit. It's not just clothing we help with, it's a need to connect."

She said she found B1G1 rewarding as a business owner.

"It has helped bring some of the clarity and focus I have struggled with since opening the shop. It is such a relief. It's not just the habit of giving that has such an impact. It's about being really connected to who I am. I'm really loving it.

"Our little local shop is also making a difference in the lives of people internationally. The Kobomo range is manufactured by a very talented young mum (and budding entrepreneur) in her home-based studio in Bangkok.

"We collaborate daily on our designs and have come to share as many pictures of our kids as our fabrics.

"Our cross-cultural connection has made a life-changing impact.

"I had never imagined operating a business that could change people's lives.

"Making a real difference in our world by just doing what we do normally is a transforming experience."