The beautiful business of giving back
At dog&boy, we take our social responsibility as seriously as we take our scarves, and giving back is a big part of our brand philosophy.
Giving back does good, and it feels good – but it’s not about that. The real point is to raise awareness for organisations who rely on support from small businesses and individuals to help them solve big problems. Problems like cancer. Like poverty. Like homelessness.
Fashion may seem like a fickle way to be philanthropic, but the truth is, any involvement in charity is good involvement.
If purchasing from your favourite brand is what motivates you to get behind a cause, that’s brilliant. It’s better than not getting behind it at all. Whether it’s one extra dollar towards research or one more person who starts spreading the word, every contribution counts.
The sum of small actions equals big change – and dog&boy are proud to be part of that change. Here, I’ll share why giving back is one of the greatest gifts of being in business – plus some of the causes closest to my heart.
Giving back to move forward
Oprah Winfrey once said, ‘To move forward, you have to give back’, and this has been so true in my personal journey.
In 2015, I lost my mum to brain cancer. It happened just as dog&boy was taking off. Before the diagnosis, I was flying high on excitement. I was exhilarated, euphoric, bursting at the seams with anticipation as we geared up for the mid-season launch of our designer scarves.
A few weeks later, mum was gone. Just like that. It happened so quickly. From the sudden diagnosis on Easter Sunday to a hole in my heart when she left on 4 May 2015. It was one of the darkest times of my life.
I still miss mum every day, but I’ve found a way to work a bit of mum’s love and magic into every scarf design (read more about that here). I’ve also found a way to give back, by raising funds and awareness for brain cancer, which has played a huge part in me moving forward.
Cure Brain Cancer
When I started dog&boy, I knew I wanted to align with a cause – I just didn’t know what. I wish it had been as easy as choosing a charity that struck a chord, or supporting the same organisations as some of my favourite brands.
Unfortunately, fate had a different plan. Losing mum made the decision to align with the Cure Brain Cancer foundation an easy one.
dog&boy 'BLOOM' (sold out) design featuring original sketches by Sonya's mum, Margot, who died from brain cancer May 2015.
Cure Brain Cancer is the largest dedicated brain cancer foundation in Australia. With a strong focus on research, advocacy and awareness, Cure Brain Cancer works overtime to give children and adults better access to new treatments.
Every five hours, one person is diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia. That’s four people a day.
It’s not known what causes brain cancer. It appears to occur randomly and treatment is challenging because it affects our most vital organ. Yet brain cancer research is one of the least funded in Australia.
Their mission is to increase the five-year survival rate of brain cancer patients from 20% to 50% by 2023. It’s an ambitious goal, but that’s why I love it. This is a foundation with big hopes and big dreams – and I’m proud to donate a percentage of every dog&boy sale to support the cause.
Breaky for Boobies
Brain cancer is part of the dog&boy story, but it’s not the whole picture. There are so many causes worth getting behind, and Breaky for Boobies is one of them.
As well as having a fabulous name, Breaky for Boobies does amazing work for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
Established in 2016, Breaky for Boobies is a new fundraising initiative that takes a two-pronged approach to supporting breast cancer research. The first is a ticketed breakfast in Melbourne, with all proceeds donated to the NBCF. The second is an online auction of donated items, which allows Breaky for Boobies to reach more people and businesses nationally, beyond the breakfast event.
How can you help? Each year Breaky for Boobies host an online auction via Instagram with 100% of proceeds contributing to National Breast Cancer Foundation and breakfast function in Newtown, Victoria Australia. Donations for the auction are closed for this year, but you can still make a monetary donation via the Go Fundraise page. Visit www.breakyforboobies.com to find out more.
Share the Dignity
As women, we complain about our periods. The cramps, the mood swings, the inability to wear white pants. It’s all so inconvenient. But it could be so much worse.
Imagine a life where we didn’t have access to pads or tampons. Imagine using makeshift sanitary products – toilet paper, paper towels, newspapers, socks – or having to bathe in public restroom sinks during ‘that time of the month’.
It’s almost inconceivable, but that’s the reality many homeless women are facing.
Share the Dignity aims to stamp out this problem by providing every woman with access to the sanitary products we take for granted.
How can you help? The #dignitydrive for sanitary items is held in April and August each year, with collection points around Australia. But you don’t have to wait until then to get involved.
In November, Share the Dignity holds their annual #itsinthebag collection, which provides women in need with a special gift at Christmas time. Simply fill a handbag with everyday essentials like sanitary items, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant – and add anything else you like as a Christmas gift. Visit www.sharethedignity.com.au to find out more.
Lady Karma comes back around
Giving is all about being selfless – but, in my experience, it always comes with beautiful and unexpected benefits.
Aside from the feel-good vibes we get from making a difference, or being that ray of sunshine in someone’s otherwise cloudy day, acts of kindness tend to have a boomerang effect. Like the law of attraction – the more we give, the more we seem to get back.
Whether it’s a surprise visit from a friend, a random act of kindness from a stranger, or something as simple a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day, the universe rewards us for the wonderful act of giving. Lady Karma comes back around.
As a business owner, I feel blessed to be able to give back through dog&boy – and, the best part is, I’m not alone. Small businesses are leading the way in philanthropy, and it’s beautiful to see.
I’m proud to be part of the movement of businesses making a difference – and I’m so grateful for your support. With every dog&boy scarf you buy, you’re making a difference too.
Share your story
How has giving enriched your life, and what are your favourite causes to support? Has Lady Karma paid you a visit in a wonderful and unexpected way? I’d love to hear your stories.