Our Ethical Mission Statement
Values and Ambitions
Secret Projects’ goal is to empower women whilst working hard to behave responsibly, with as little impact as possible to the environment. We take care to source raw materials ethically in order to create high-quality, affordable products.
Secret Projects is a business that constantly innovates and improves. We never stand still. As we evolve as a business, our Power Mantra remains central to everything we do:
About our Products, Materials, Sourcing and Waste
Everything we sell is handmade in India by women who have received training in how to make our products. We call them our ‘Makers’. Before making each product, our Makers are given a Production Bag with all the necessary materials: wadding, thread, zips, a delivery bag and also a delivery receipt. Depending on what is available to her, a Maker may make the product at home or in a group setting. This is entirely up to her.
When the product has been completed, she returns the bag with the finished product to our Quality Controller, along with the fabric scraps, a signed delivery receipt and a production certificate.
The fabric scraps are separated out and re-used. If they are big enough they are made into mini Secret Pillows or bunting, which we then sell. Our products are packed into recycled plastic postage bags and sent to the customer.
Fabrics are normally sourced in the local community, from small shops at a price that ensures the product holds an attractive price-tag, and that the Makers receive a fair income for the work they do. Secret Projects pays our Makers at least twice the minimum wage.
Examples of Secret Projects ingenuity is the purchase of end-of-line export fabric: material that would otherwise be thrown away. From this fabric we make Secret Pillows. Secret Projects has also experimented with making Secret Sari Dresses from second hand saris.
The wadding for our Secret Pillows is sourced from Star Comfort Industries in Bangalore. Star Comfort Industries manufacture polyester wadding using around 80% of recycled polyester fibres in order to avoid waste PET bottles going into landfill.
About our Makers
It is important to note that the women who make our products are not Secret Project employees.
Makers work either in groups in shelter homes, in their own home or in a community centre. Our Maker Group in The Nilgiris, in Southern India, congregates in a community centre located in a tiger reserve. In all cases, women are connected through established charities and NGOs in the region. Secret Projects approaches organisations in a region to ask if they know of women who have basic sewing skills and who have few or no employment opportunities. Secret Projects are then introduced to these women who are invited to take part in a Secret Pillow workshop, and are introduced to the Power Mantra. Secret Projects works with these groups and supports them through the process. The focus is on empowerment, building confidence and giving them the opportunity to gain financial security and work towards financial independence.
Our Makers are paid directly for each product and they receive customer feedback on the item. The feedback is received via a survey that is sent out to customers after purchasing a product. The feedback is then collated and given to the group as a whole, rather than singling out a single Maker. Being part of Secret Projects is about learning, growing and developing.
Makers are also told where in the world their specific product has gone and who has received it so that it is not a faceless process. Secret Projects believe it is important that the Makers have the chance to be engaged in the product’s life cycle.
Secret Projects works closely with people on the ground to ensure safe and fair working practices. If any problems arise, we will implement is a clear plan to resolve any issues and support any necessary improvements.
From 2018, Secret Projects’ customers and partners will have the opportunity to visit India and engage with our Makers and our Bangalore team, with the aim of better understanding the journey and mission of the organisation. As our partner, we want you to see first-hand how Secret Projects empowers and brings independence to women in India, and we also recognise that visits can also show transparency of our ethical production processes.
Secret Projects constantly endeavours to support its Makers to broaden their skill-set by introducing new techniques with each new product. We are currently exploring new designs that will involve weaving, embroidery and block printing.
Secret Projects also seeks to forge long-term supplier relationships with businesses whose values and mission align with our own.
We have recently collaborated with Quancious, a progressive fashion brand and digital printing company based in Bengaluru to create Personalised Secret Pillows. Quancious specialise in environmentally-friendly techniques that do not pollute India’s fresh water resources.
We are also currently in talks with Freeset, a business creating positive employment opportunities for women affected by human trafficking in West Bengal. The Secret Pillow carry bags we send to customers were made by Freeset.
By collaborating with like-minded businesses, we hope to be able to multiply our impact.