I believe beautiful paper brings happiness. For this week’s leaping lady Cassie Dewar, she believes stationery has the power to change people’s lives. And she’s already proven it. Via a Pozible campaign, Cassie launched Inspirationery just over 18 months ago, with the aim of building a social enterprise that supports women and girls education and leadership programs, via the funds raised in selling her stationery collection and custom commissions.
Cassie’s formal training is in science and PR, and she worked in these fields before starting her biz. You’ll read in Cassie’s story that she leapt to develop Inspirationery after working for an organisation where she experienced sexual harassment.
As it turns out, this is the third leap story I’ve published over the year, that I know personally that has some back story in sexual harassment or assault. I didn’t purposefully look for these stories. They just happened. And truth be known, of the 53 stories I’ve told, the stats tell me that it’s likely that there are another six or seven where sexual harassment in the workplace will have happened that I don’t know about.
Publishing Cassie’s story this week coincides with the media coverage of the sentencing of high profile Stanford campus rape case and an Islamic Council in Pakistan pushing to make it legal for husbands to ‘lightly beat’ their wives.
If we ever doubt the call to feminism, these stats, these stories should quash your doubts. Women are disadvantaged. And while both men and women face the limitations and perils of gendered stereotypes, it is women who are systemically, financially, physically and emotionally disenfranchised by these limitation in degrees which meant aren’t.
This is why telling these stories matters, and why supporting organisations like Cassie’s is important. Feel the need for some new stationery for your big ideas, leaping hunches, exciting ramblings and investigative mind maps? Grab some Inspirationery today and do good x 3.
GIVEAWAY! We have a gorgeous Inspirationery Limited Edition Notebook for one lucky kin. Comment on Instagram or below, tag someone who inspires you and tell us why.
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
I probably changed my mind every week. The one thing I knew was that I wanted to try and make a positive difference in the world. However, at no point did I ever really think I would start my own social enterprise.
What did/do you study?
I started my formal education studying science before transferring to a degree in communications where I studied PR and journalism. However, I’ve always had a passion for learning. I love dipping my toe in a variety of things like philosophy, life drawing, yoga and meditation. Plus, I’m always reading and attending events on conscious consumerism, social enterprise, for-purpose business, personal development and human behaviour. I’m also studying a Certificate III in Micro Business and last year I completed a social enterprise start-up program.
What has been your most scary/courageous leap you’ve ever made (preferably in your business/career/life direction)?
Starting Inspirationery is definitely the scariest and most exciting leap I’ve ever made. It took me around five years of taking small steps to finally make the leap and launch my idea publicly.
What were you doing before you made your leap?
My role was to inspire and empower young people to travel and immerse themselves in Asia while completing volunteer placements overseas. Working at FYA was the perfect stepping stone as I was surrounded by so many amazing young people who were also working on their own passion projects.
Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing work?
• My mum – My mum is an amazing woman. She’s caring, loving and extremely strong. She’s always encouraged me to give things a go.
• My stepdad– Chris is a loving stepdad and has had a huge influence on my life. As a small business owner, he’s hard working and loves what he does. He inspires me to go after what I want and to enjoy the journey.
• My team – I’m so very lucky to be working with a team of amazing humans who always bring their A game. Plus they all have jobs and side-gigs so the fact that they make time for Inspirationery is inspiring!
• Richard Branson – Reading his books helped to open my eyes to doing business differently and challenging the status quo.
• The for-purpose trailblazers like The Body Shop and The Big Issue – their success paved the way for many others to harness the power of business to create positive social impact.
What did you have in place before you made the leap?
When we see people doing great things, most of the time we don’t see all the things that got them to that point. Personally, I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start Inspirationery, it was a journey of small steps that began over five years ago with just an idea.
At the time, I lacked the courage, confidence and resources to make my dream a reality. I had no idea how I’d get there so I started the journey with a single step.
I started small by reading more about social enterprise, I met like-minded people through events, I started planning and, when I got serious about the idea, I began reducing my workday to a standard 9-5 day so I could work on the idea before/after my ‘real’ job. I also moved house to reduce my cost of living.
But I didn’t worry about having everything perfectly planned out; I just focused on taking the next step.
What was your defining ‘I can’t do this anymore’ moment that lead you to the leap?
The point where I made a decision to pursue my idea was after I was sexually harassed by a client and told by my boss at the time to ‘play the game’. I quit my job the next day and never looked back! From that point on I began working to make Inspirationery a reality.
How did/do you overcome/work with the fear that comes with leaping? How do you decide to choose courage?
I think a fear of failure or a fear of not being good enough is universal. It’s the one thing that connects everyone, no matter how far you’ve come or how far you’ve got to go, and to be honest I don’t think you ever overcome it.
A few things have helped me move through it including really knowing the why behind Inspirationery. Another thing that has been useful is learning to detach from my ego when I feel paralysed by fear. When I am worried about failing or not being good enough, I try to think about something bigger than myself. I remind myself of the millions of girls without the opportunity to make their mark on the world. This really puts my fear into perspective!
How did you fund your leap?
I continued to work full-time to support myself while I worked on creating a crowdfunding campaign to finance the launch of Inspirationery. It wasn’t easy but it is do-able!
For many months, I worked on the campaign during every spare moment – before work, after work and on weekends. Finally, my team of volunteers and I were ready for the launch and were successful in securing over $20,000 in pre-orders over the 28 day Pozible campaign. The campaign was enough to pay for the first print run, get a website up, launch Inspirationery and make a $1200 donation to Plan International Australia.
Now I’m working hard to sell stationery, get new designs ready and aim to hopefully secure some investment in future so that we can scale and have a greater impact.
What other leaps have you made in the past?
Following my heart and intuition has lead me to taking lots of leaps in many different directions including changing careers, reducing my work hours, even moving houses and states.
What leaps didn’t work out? What did you do about it?
Leaping comes with risks and there is no guarantee that it will pay off. I’d like to say leap and the universe will catch you – and most of the time it does – but not every time.
I experienced this myself when I quit my job with absolutely no savings and no plan. I just knew at the time I couldn’t stay in the environment. It was a tough couple of months – I was miserable and directionless. I literally just sat at home in my pyjamas not knowing what I was going to do with my life.
Looking back now I think the universe had tried to tell me numerous times I was on the wrong path but I wouldn’t listen. Sometimes things happen to wake you up – this was my wake up moment. The experience ignited my fight for girl’s rights!
What are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it?
I’m most fearful of letting down my team and our community of supporters who believe in us. The only way to deal with it is by giving it your absolute best shot!
How would you rate your level of happiness about making your leap? 10
1 being sad, 10 being rad.
10 – it’s been the ride of my life!
What’s the biggest upside to making the leap?
The best thing about making the leap is that you realise that you can’t really fail. Even if you’re not successful in reaching your end goal, you learn so much along the way. You get to follow your heart, unleash your potential and hopefully help people along the way.
What’s the biggest downside to making the leap? And how do you get through it?
Following your heart definitely isn’t an easy thing to do – you do have to make sacrifices. You’ll need to make hard choices in regards to your relationships, lifestyle and finances among other things, but ultimately all these choices help you get clear on what really matters to you.
What might be your next leap?
I’m working with the team on some new designs to be released this year which I’ll be bootstrapping so it’s a big leap.
I’ve also just finished pulling together our custom stationery offer for organisations both big and small. We’ve been doing custom orders for a while now but we now have an official looking document to give people which is exciting.
What are your favourite words to live by?
‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself’ – Soren Kierkegaard
Who do you admire who also made the leap?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people who are going after what they truly want in life. My parents made the leap and run their own business, my team of amazing volunteers are all working on their own passion projects and many of my friends have left the corporate world to go back to study what really sets their soul on fire!
A piece of advice for someone with an itch to leap?
Don’t wait for someone to give you permission. Don’t wait for the stars to align perfectly. Don’t worry about having everything planned out. Just follow what inspires you and soon enough you’ll look back and realise how far you’ve come!
Right now I’m:
In Perth with my family and enjoying the sunshine!
Hearing: Bird in a Basement by Paul Dempsey
Eating: Eggs with avocado
Drinking: Coffee – I’ve tried to give it up a few times but it’s my one vice
Reading: I read a lot of books, usually all at once – follow me on Goodreads so we can swap recommendations! At the moment I’m reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Desire Map, Freedom from Pain, Big Magic and All the Light We Cannot See.
Loving: Making peanut butter bliss balls. So easy – peanuts, dates, rice protein and Himalayan sea salt. Be warned, they won’t last long!
Grab one of Cassie’s notebooks and get journalling friends. Put your ideas to paper and see where they take you. You don’t need permission. You already have it. Make a start. Make a difference.
Lovingly, Kylie x
p.s. Did you hear about the free video digital marketing training series we released this week? Check it out here for special VIK (very important kin) access!