About me

Welcome to my blog. Im always looking for new ways of bringing people together to build campaigns. Im always amazed by the energy and passion of the people I meet and the different skills they bring to making change happen - the ideas we try out, the campaigns we work on, the relationships we build together. I want to share those stories with you. I hope you enjoy them!

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Amisha Ghadiali is a social entrepreneur of the exciting independent jewellery label "Amisha" and on the national executive of Compass Youth. Many of us may have heard people talk about social enterprise and wondered what they meant. I've never been good with definitions, so read on and I hope you'll be as inspired as I've been interviewing Amisha.

Why and how did you get involved in social enterprise?

I guess there's a personal and a social element. I was working in politics and international development, when I had an accident and was very ill for a while. It was during this time that I realised I wanted to do something creative and energise positivity. The reason for setting up the label was a platform for campaignining.

"Only some people are involved in campaigning and debates. I wanted to get more types of people excited and activated. I was interested in the idea that people form identities around consumerism rather than around politics."

Everybody is involved in consumerism, so I felt that was an interesting channel to try. It was this interest that led me to get involved in Compass, as Neal Lawson was writing a book on the same subject (All Consuming, watch this space for book launch).

How did you become a social entrepreneur?

I freed myself from everyone else's opinions - blind optimism helped. For me, it never was different, in terms of values, it was a continuation of what I was doing before, it was natural. I did short courses to progress in social enterprise and business skills but most importantly I didn't get scared that it wasn't possible.

How does it feel to have got to where you are now?

The whole thing has been completely amazing. I'm still surprised at how well the label is doing. I am just working on the next steps now, getting new collections, getting more stockists and generally increasing brand awareness.

What are your responsibilities being a social entrepreneur?

I run a social enterprise, which came as a shock six months ago. Day to day, it's more about sales and PR.

Amisha is an exciting new independent jewellery label presenting eclectic pieces that embody romance and timeless elegance whilst hinting at the spirit of passion and rebellion that come with just seeing where life takes you…

The collections are made up entirely of limited edition pieces, each one a unique arrangement of handcrafted silver and semi-precious stones. Each design carefully combines the colours and properties of the stones and crystals used to produce jewellery that complements and enhances the natural beauty of the wearer.

Amisha strives to build strong connections between business and communities and in a step that reflects the positive ideals expressed in the designs themselves, is proud to donate ten percent of the profit to carefully selected local and global charities.

Amisha means, literally, someone who spreads 'the sweetest elixir of the heavens' all around her, and it is this spirit of vitality and radiant positivity we hope will be instilled in every piece of jewellery so that it will be carried by the wearer and shared wherever she goes.

What activities & campaigns have you developed?

I do a few things with the label including various shows such as Pulse and Style in the City. I also sell on markets such as Brick Lane's UpMarket. Recently I have been focusing on campaigning for ethical fashion.

"I have launched my own campaign against 'fast fashion' which means buying loads of cheap thing to wear once and throw away."

This year I took part in Estethica, the Ethical Fashion Area of London Fashion Week. My latest love is Swishing, where you get together and swap clothes and accessories you don't use anymore with others. A great way to recycle!

Outside of my label I am currently working on production of the most exciting event in ethical fashion, The RE:Fashion Awards (www.refashionawards.org), the world's first awards to celebrate improved social and environmental standards in the fashion industry. It is amazing to be working on this and feel we are really pulling the industry together to create positive change. It really is a new phenomenon, set to transform the fashion industry within a decade."

How do you help young people/students get better involved in what you do?

The way I've chosen to help young people get better involved is subtley, which makes it hard to measure!

"My feeling is to make an impact on cynical people, it's about not making a big deal about it. It's only once they have bought jewellery that they see information on campaigns/charities inside the box. When they read it in the privacy of their own home, it makes them feel good that they've done something good."

It's more about reaching out to the cynical people - in fact, I think sometimes i think I'm cynical.

What in your daily life makes you feel the most reassured or optimistic about your future?

Just the fact there are always people trying to make a difference. People are always changing. There is so much out there about fair trade, carbon offsetting, and sustainability in general. The fact it's part of everyday conversation is positive.

What would you change to improve the quality of everyday life of yourself, your friends/family and your neighbourhood?

"Make the roads safer in terms of pedestrian crossings and cyclist lanes, change attitudes for young people on gun and knife crime, make recycling compulsory."

What does being "born free and equal" mean to you?

We are not. Rights to decent education would to a start in making people born free and equal across the world.

What is your first political memory?

Staying up with my mum and dad watching the General Election, in what must have been 1987 or 1992. My parents explained about the two main parties. I ran upstairs I got my red and my blue scarf. I remember sitting on the blue one and holding on to the red in hope.

Who's your role model?

Katherine Hammett. She has dedicated her life's work to making a real difference in the fashion industry. Her statement t-shirts and research into a truly ethical cotton have been both powerful and inspiring. I love how she uses fashion as a political tool. She is still a leader in the field today. Yet it was 1984 when she won 'Designer of the Year' and met Thatcher wearing a t-shirt that said '58% DON'T WANT PERSHING.'

What's your favourite activity outside of being a social entrepreneur?

Live music from seeing bands to watching DJs. I am also training to be a yoga teacher.

What is the issue or campaign that matters most to you?

It's a really hard question, there is so much needed to change in the world. My focus now is sustainability, it's about tackling the social, the environmental and the economic together. When it comes to politics, the thing that infuriates me most is wasting time over personal attacks.

What would you recommend to people who would be keen to be a social entrepreneur?

"Be imaginative, be brave, there are so many organisations that want to help you."


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