with Jack Hamilton
Founder of The Social Mercenary
" We are trying to create a collaborative environment where people support others in their own mission and own passions as well. We want to help people live more fulfilling lives, but we also want people to embrace being unique and different, to lead more youthful lives. That is not age dependent. We want people to have fun and feel as young as possible as they can."
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What is The Social Mercenary?
The Social Mercenary is an online blog. It has 3 pillars that we use to encompass our community: we are unique, we are inclusive and we are aiming to empower people's lives and change people's lifestyles. We have different elements of our blog: health and wellness, volunteering and travel. I personally believe that these are the key aspects that you can utilize, to be inspired and to lead a more fulfilling life. We work with a range of collaborators, across the world, who have some really interesting stories, some people who have quit their 9-5 and gone on to do incredible things. I really want to pursue this and ensure that people can follow their passions.
What inspired you to start The Social Mercenary?
The Social Mercenary is an amalgamation of my previous life experiences and my own core values. The idea really became prevalent when I was volunteering in Ghana. I was working with small to medium sized businesses through a charity called 'Challenges Worldwide'. They showed me the benefits of working with small to medium sizes businesses, empowering them, and changing the business owner's lives, as well the people employed with them.
When I was in Hong Kong, a lot of bags that I had bought as presents for other people were so popular that I thought 'I can really make a business out of this', and I can help a lot of people along the way. This really inspired me to start the Social Mercenary apparel side. I have bags from Ghana, made by two entrepreneurs and I have just really tested the market out, see what people like and what they don't like. And overall people really like the bags, they are very high quality. They also break down a lot of stereotypes and expectations people have about goods that have been made in Africa, especially from Ghana. I want to promote these African fabrics because the print is just so unique, and I really think there's such a big market for it, especially out here in a fashion-forward market such as Hong Kong.
How does The Social Mercenary empower people and businesses?
Empowerment is a big theme within The Social Mercenary. This is a theme that is across our blogs and across the businesses that we are working with. In our apparel business the whole reason we are trying to empower small businesses is because [90%] of a country's economy is made up of small to medium sized businesses. By empowering these businesses and making sure that they can have access to a market that they would never have had access to before, which is a lot wealthier than their domestic market, they can start to build a sustainable business, have a sustainable livelihood, where they can use use electricity more freely. They could spread to others through hiring them and sharing ther message. We also hope to share this and to grow this on a micro level. We want to encourage them to incorporate shared value, which is that in every aspect of our business chain, we have a socially inherent value that we are adding. By working with small businesses, we are able to scale this up by working with many different businesses in different countries and in different developing nations as well. I would really love to work in Asia. I think some of the textiles there are incredible, some really unique and amazing patterns. We hope also to use more recycled materials and ensure that our production processes are as environmentally sustainable as possible as well, and incorporate a more ethical and rounded view. We don't want to just economically empower them, but also socially and environmentally as well.
The Social Mercenary has an undercurrent theme about changing people's lifestyles. This sort of comes from my own experience, of having anxiety and depression and suffering with that throughout my life. I really see the value in having a positive community, inspiring people to take action to do things they want to do, and not to be held back by other peoples' beliefs. We are trying to create a collaborative environment where people support others in their own mission and own passions as well. We want to help people live more fulfilling lives, but we also want people to embrace being unique and different, to lead more youthful lives. That is not age dependent. We want people to have fun and feel as young as possible as they can.
What are some of your favourite products?
Through this community of people that I have met, I have been introduced to really inspiring tailors who have some really cool work.We work with two entrepreneurs in Ghana. This hand bag is made with the authentic African fabric with its unique pattern. All the extra detailing is made out of recycled material and fake leather, which is abundant in Ghana. Our other entrepreneur makes these amazing bags. The bags are waxed and they are water resistant. Again, they are using this authentic fabric, which is incredible. Inside we have a water resistant layer as well, which is very good for going on hikes, which means that nothing ever gets wet.
What is The Social Mercenary's plan for 2017?
We are starting to launch in Singapore and plan to organize parties for promotion and brand awareness there and elsewhere around the globe. Other plans in 2017 are to open up some summer internships in the UK. This will become a sort of incubator for ideas and creativity, but we want the participants to embrace their entrepreneurship and to go out and explore their own passions and also help the Social Mercenary at the same time training. The participants of this summer internship will also gain qualifications, training. We think this is a really exciting prospect for this summer, so we going to work hard to bring it to progress and drive the Social Mercenary and its vision forward.
How can we participate in The Social Mercenary?
The Social Mercenary has various different aspects and also quite a lot of ambition. We are always looking for new people to help us and to collaborate with us as well, so if you're interested, please always get in touch. Please follow what we are doing and our updates. We currently are working on product tests and some product development. Keep in touch!