As many of you know, we started Winki to say ‘no’ to wedgies in the surf and join the fight against human trafficking in the Philippines. As lovers of the sea and people, our passion is to create ethically made surf suits & apparel, whilst positively contributing to the livelihood of our beautiful makers.
In the early days of dreaming up Winki, we were praying for a way we could have an impact through the creation of our wedgie-proof and vintage-inspired suits. We were both led to The Blessed Project in unique, individual ways and after talking to the team there, (who at the time were desperate for partners), we knew we had our answer!
This road has been a long one. We were creating samples for 12 months before we launched in April 2019 and the language barrier and lack of sewing experience (from both parties) meant it took a while before we had a wearable Penny suit! A lot has changed since then but as a business in these strange times, we’re always facing new challenges (we feel like we could write a book).
If you’re still not sure of what the team in the Philippines does, here is a recent story from The Blessed House:
“Sarah and her family lived in the streets of Manila. At 9 years old, Sarah's mum would pimp her out to customers along the street. At 10 years old she started working in bars, where she was rescued by a partner organisation and stayed there for 5 years. Sarah was diagnosed with delayed intellectual disability and developmental neglect, which affects her social functioning. Since being at The Blessed Project, Sarah has shown determination and wants to be financially independent to support her siblings. She has been given the opportunity for employment in the Blessed sewing facility. This way she can continue on her road to restoration and help her siblings heal as well."
So, what is Winki actually doing to support The Blessed Project?
As of 2022, we are currently supporting The Blessed Project through the below ways:
The Blessed Project makes 100% of our apparel & accessories
As of 2022, Winki is increasing the amount of sweatshirts, tees and accessories made by the women at The Blessed Project to ensure they have consistent work. These products are a lot easier for the women to sew than neoprene suits, plus having things made in the Philippines every month means they can have a steady stream of income. Keep an eye out next time we launch sweatshirts or accessories and please know that your purchases are helping the livelihoods of these beautiful women!
Helping with wages
Since The Blessed Project lost their funding from a larger organisation in 2021, cash has been tight and they’re having to turn women and children away simply because they can’t afford to house them. The Blessed Project employs two full-time sewers to help train the women and as a business we pay the monthly wage of one of these full-time sewers. This alleviates a bit of financial pressure and also means there will always be someone to help the women learning to sew.
Sponsoring Women at The Blessed House
The Winki team individually sponsors a few of the beautiful women at The Blessed House. Many of the women and children need sponsoring. This helps to pay for their schooling, university, text-books, a social worker, necessary therapy and food and housing. Please get in touch at email@example.com if you’re interested in sponsoring a woman or child on a monthly basis.
100% Profit of Select Products go to The Blessed House
Some of our products, like our beaded necklaces launching in a few weeks, will be made by the women in the Philippines. As well as paying them for each necklace, 100% of our profits will go directly back to the women. It may not seem like much, but every dollar makes a difference and these necklaces are a super fun project for the women to work on!
Days where 100% of our profits go to The Blessed House
For 2022, we will have 2-3 days per year where 100% of our profits from our online store are donated directly to The Blessed House. This will (hopefully) be a big enough sum they can use for specific projects or needs within The Blessed House. Keep an eye out for these days, we’re having one in late March!
Helping source other businesses to partner with The Blessed Project.
We’re currently trying to get in touch with some established businesses who would be willing to have their totes, tees or products made by the women at The Blessed Project. Please get in touch with us if you know of someone who would be interested!
In 2022, due to a range of business and shipping challenges, we won’t be able to produce our suits in the Philippines. However, through Winki we are able to continue to support the team in the above ways. For now, our suits will be ethically made here in Australia (this was a really tough decision to make but it ensures Winki will be around for a while and hopefully we can start manufacturing up in the next 12-18 months).
We hope this helps you understand a little more about what we’re doing to support The Blessed Project. As always, thank you for your support and patience with us. We’re blown away by this growing Winki community of women around the globe!
Love Becky and Kip x
P.S. see our Instagram video of the Blessed Project here.