“There is always a new challenge to overcome and the buck stops with me so I’m constantly on a learning curve.”
Meet GirlCrew Hong Kong member and founder of Six Degrees, Audrey Jack
Raising awareness and funds for various charities pops up frequently in many groups, but one member has taken it far beyond an annual marathon and has made charitable works her career.
In 2002, GirlCrew Hong Kong member, Audrey Jack, first visited Cambodia and what she witnessed there had a profound effect on her. “I would go as far as to say that it left me traumatised by what I saw: the poverty, disfigurements and street children. It is so hard to imagine what the effect of war, and having almost a whole generation wiped out, has on a country. The images have never left me, which is why I made a promise to myself that one day I would try to make a difference in the lives of the people living there…”
Originally from Scotland, Audrey has a professional background in PR and Communications, but has always been actively involved in social change and alongside her burgeoning business she’s also the president of the Italian charity, Missione Possibile. During her trips to Cambodia to teach and fundraise, Audrey came up with the idea of sourcing local crafts to sell in Hong Kong and so Six Degrees was born.
“The name ‘Six Degrees’ comes from the theory that everyone in the world is connected through only six degrees of separation.”
Starting off on the markets of Hong Kong helped Audrey learn what people wanted to buy and by late 2015 she had moved onto Shopify. “The whole idea of starting my own business was a very daunting one, especially as I hadn’t worked professionally for 6 years. Even though my background was in PR, in that time the internet and social media had exploded. I felt, and still sometimes feel, that I am back at square one and I am constantly on an uphill learning curve trying to get to grips with everything online related.”
The hard work seems to be paying off as Audrey is continuing to source more products, and has her eye on potentially opening her own shop one day. For now, though, she is busy working away seeking retail partners and selling gorgeous products for a great cause – “[as] my tag line says, I want to ‘help change lives one craft at a time’.”
1. What is the best thing about your role?
The best thing is getting the opportunity to visit places, and meet with people and organisations, that I wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet as a tourist.
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
Gosh! Where to start! Accounting, web development, marketing, sales, sourcing, time management juggling work with a young family. There is always a new challenge to overcome and the buck stops with me so I’m constantly on a learning curve. I learnt fast to put myself out there, make connections, network, and never to be afraid to ask a ‘stupid’ question to someone who knows more about a specific element of business than me.
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
My proudest work related moment is actually when my daughters attend markets with me. One loves taking the payments and recording transactions, whilst the other speaks to people about the products. My eight-year old also came with me on one of my sourcing trips to Cambodia and helped me choose a new range of products. I love that I can include them and hope that by watching me, mistakes and all, I can inspire them in their future lives and career choices.
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Just take the first step. People aren’t as scary as you may think they are. Somebody once told me when I was having a problem finding my feet that most entrepreneurs fail at, or change direction in, their first three business attempts until something sticks. Failure is part of the process of success.
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
My motto for life has to be: ‘Ask yourself what is really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.’ This could also be true in career. And for those of us that are lucky enough to have this motto in both our personal and professional lives we are truly blessed.
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