Five minutes with Kathy Wong of Moeloco
Here at BeauDazzled, we love to learn from amazing, empowered women who embody the principles of our brand. Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with Kathy Wong, a talented and inspired entrepreneur who has her heart set on changing the world… one pair of thongs at a time. Kathy is a strong, independent woman with an eye for detail, a warrior for the earth and an activist for change. May you be as inspired by Kathy and her crazy dream, Moeloco as we are.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself
I am a serial entrepreneur who retired from my last business 13 years ago. In my former life I used my graphic design training to start a design branding business for large corporates. I also partnered in a marketing company and a childrens magazine.
I came out of retirement there years ago to start Moeloco, my social enterprise.
Q. Can you explain the idea behind Moeloco?
Moeloco means dream crazy. My dream crazy is a world without poverty and one where every product or service we buy has a give back. Our current project is providing education to children who live in extreme poverty in India. Most children there don’t (and won’t) ever own a pair of shoes in their life. If they don’t have a pair of shoes they are not allowed to attend school due to fear they might spread diseases through their feet. We create rubber flip flops that leave positive messages in the sand and for every pair sold we donate a pair of canvas sneakers to an Indian orphan or street child. Buy one give one.
Q. Where did the inspiration come from to start this project?
Two years ago I woke up and knew it was my turn to make a difference. I had always supported kids charities and had said one day I will do something to help children on a large scale. Well, my one day came in February 2014. Not long after this AHA moment I learned about the 300 hundred million children in the world without shoes and how some of them were unable to attend school without shoes. In some of the worst case scenarios, these children were dying from not having shoes. My heart was so incredibly touched I just knew I had to help.
Q. What has been the biggest challenge in your journey so far?
Managing my own self doubts. Stepping up to be so public and voice my desire to be a change maker. I first thought who am I to do such a thing? This is a big task and am I up for it. I’ve invested my own life savings, and the amount of investment to date is not a practice I’m accustomed to, as my other businesses were not in the area of manufacturing or social enterprise.
Q. If there is something that pushes you to keep on going when times are tough, what has that been?
The children. I keep photos around my office and when I look into their eyes it instantly changes my mindset. I also surround myself with positive, conscious friends who I can call on at any times to talk with.
Q. How do you come up with new designs and where do you get your inspiration from?
Nature is a big source of inspiration, as is our community and co creating with them.
Q. What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Over 5000 shoes donated and going to visit the children in India we support.
Q. What are your goals for 2017?
To look for more distribution channels, double our sales and push further into the US market. To continue to look after my own self care as last year I almost burned out. This is a very easy state to be in when you are passionate about your cause. There’s is really no delineation between your passion and work.
Q. For other readers hoping to start a social enterprise, what has been the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given in your entrepreneurial journey so far?
One must have a really strong ‘Why’. This is key because a social entrepreneur is continually challenged about their cause. I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life, but being a social entrepreneur is the most challenging journey I have been on. Ever. I’ve had incredible growth as a person and continue to do so.