Amber Wilkinson is the heart and mind behind the fast-growing, socially-conscious clothing label, Kind Is Cool. Amber has turned her desire to see more kindness in the world into a global brand that is not only seen on celebs but is also creating conversation in schools and organisations. Recently partnering with Bully Zero, Amber is on a mission for make the world a kinder place for all humans.
This is The Inside Story on Amber
Amber Wilkinson had a time where she lost faith in kindness, believing there was no kindness left in the world. She was bullied by her team leader in a corporate environment, for a number of months and it affected her badly.
Of course she knew she could do one of two things: continue to allow it to affect her OR she could do something to bring more kindness into the world.
Never being a fan of t-shirts for kids with silly slogans, and after being bullied in the work place, she thought of designing some tees for her boys that promoted kindness and good vibes – there is this black space on clothing why not use it for good!
Amber designs the T-shirts, prints them at home in her garage with her husband and two sons. They are made with love and kindness, in the hope at least one person wearing them will be kinder and/or inspire someone to be kinder. Amber believes a small act of kindness changes everything, it changes your mindset, it will change someone’s day, and it will start to create a kinder world. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Kind Is Cool was founded with the intent to lead by example and show younger generations that being kind is cool. She has proudly supported the Alannah Madeline Foundation by donating $1 from every sale, to help empower and support children and young people in need. Now, she is supporting Australia’s leading anti-bullying and cyber bullying organisation for children and teens in Australia, Bully Zero, with $2 from each item going to them.
Was there a single significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
I have always ran with little ideas here and there, people often say; “what is Amber up to now?”I guess nothing I had done really had my whole heart in it until now!
Initially, what difficulties did you face when you started your business?
The initial difficulty was to fund the start up. I started KIC via a drop shipper in order not to hold stock, or have a huge outlay. Eventually as time went on I was able to purchase stock and a printer and we now design, print and send in house, like literally in house – our garage turned warehouse is where all the kindness happens!
Who or what was integral to you overcoming these hurdles?
Being patient was integral,, and being the most impatient person I know, that was not fun! Learning a lot and having my husband beside me cheering me on all the way has also been an integral part of KIC being where it is today!
What do you believe was the best decision you made in business?
Taking over the production of printing the t shirts, while the drop shipper was printing and sending I felt so disconnected to my “baby” and was chomping at the bit to take it over. Printing the t-shirts myself have given us much more control and freedom, and they are sent out printed and packed by myself and my family with love and kindness!
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
GET READY! It is one hell of a ride!! There are so many ups and downs but it is all so rewarding!
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
⦁ Time management
⦁ Ability to take advice
⦁ The skill of falling down and getting back up!
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
I look up to many people, Gemma from Infamous Swim and Carlie Maree who is a business coach. These women run successful businesses and I often run to them for advice! I believe it is so important to surround yourself with positive people and have some special ones you can call on when things are great and more importantly when things haven’t gone to plan! These two women are exactly that!
I am inspired by many many people, my husband, my children, friends, family! Kind humans inspire me, people striving to do good, to create changes, to change the world for good!!
How have you personally measured your success?
This is not something I have actually done. However, I believe that I am doing something I love, while spreading a message so important to me and sharing it with my family – Money isn’t success to me, success is being happy and being loved.
Your family is involved in helping to print your t-shirts, how has this impacted your business venture?
My hubby has been amazing, he is so supportive and is a gun at printing the t shirts! It has taken a load off my responsibilities and given me more time to focus on the admin side of things. I still help print and pack, our two sons help pack the orders also, we feel it is important for them to see what happens behind the scenes of businesses. That not everything magically appears! They love it too!!
You donate part proceeds of every sale, why do you think it’s important for businesses to have social responsibility?
For KIC I wanted to have as much of an impact I could, being a very small business and donating part of my profit to Bully Zero meant I was helping to spread the message and help people in need in more ways than selling t shirts with kind messages on them!
I think it is important for KIC to have this sort of social responsibility as it is exactly why KIC was started, to spread kindness, to stop bullying etc
Describe/outline your typical day?
It is chaos in the morning – SCHOOL LUNCHES AND SCHOOL DROP OFF!!
After that has been done, I head out to the garage and print off the orders from the day before, hand to hubby, he will print!
While he is tagging I will do the admin side, ordering stock, answering emails, designing and social media. I then tag the tees after they have been printed and we pack the orders and do a post office drop.
Generally, by then it is time to collect the boys from school and take them to after school activities and once they are fed, showered and bed, we will head back to the garage and prepare for the following day. This is a very “normal” day!
What motivates you?
To create a kinder world for our future generations – this is my biggest motivator.