Joseph Sealey was inspired to make a positive impact in the world after a life-changing trip to Argentina where he saw how the simple gift of stationery and pens could bring a smile to the faces of disadvantaged children. He recently created social enterprise Two 4 One Stationery – a one-for-one company that donates a ‘school pack’ of stationery to a child in need for every item sold, and also aims to raise awareness of environmental issues through its use of recycled and sustainable materials. Joseph shared the idea behind Two 4 One Stationery as part of our PepTalks ‘Peppermint Pitch’ in September and was voted the winner of $300 to put towards his business. We caught up with him to hear more about his new direction…
Tell us about Two 4 One Stationery…
Two 4 One Stationery is a social enterprise. Our dream is to be part of a movement and help to create not only a sustainable way of continuous giving, but also achieve this by using sustainable and recycled products. So with every purchase, Two 4 One Stationery will give a school kit – containing a jute-cotton pencil case, a notebook, 12 paper colour pencils, a drawing book, a paper pen, a paper pencil, a wooden ruler, a recycled plastic eraser and more – to a child in need. At the moment I am looking at donating the school packs to children in Indonesia and India, and my goal is to first do as many giving experiences myself as possible. I am currently talking with a few local organisations from different countries so that I can partner alongside them – this way we can better distribute the packs so that the kids most in need receive them.
What inspired you to start the company?
My story started six years ago when I booked a trip with a group of fellow entrepreneurs, investors and all-round amazing people to adventure into Antarctica and Argentina. As part of our journey we did some charity work in Ushuaia at the very bottom of Argentina, helping to extend and repair a kindergarten for underprivileged children. At that time in my life I was a builder by trade, and it was interesting to be working the ‘local way’ with wires instead of plugs at the end of the power tools (no one was injured – it’s just what they do). We were so inspired by the warm hearts of the people who ran the kindergarten; language was no barrier in how they conveyed their heartfelt commitment to their children. Before we left we gave pens, pencils and paper to the children. Compared to the painting and building work we had completed, the gifts seemed insignificant, but the enthusiasm of the children in receiving basic items we take for granted was by far the most rewarding part of the whole trip. Their smiles imprinted on my memory and stirred something within me that inspired me to make a bigger contribution.
My journey from then to now has been – as many journeys are – indirect! I left the building profession and began working for an e-commerce business. I found learning a new profession energising, but I felt I was living with conflicting motivations. My job was to maximise profits but my true motivation was, and still is, to make a contribution, to be the change, to see if I could help make a difference in this world the best way I can. After finding out about a few companies that use the same business model, I asked myself: “What if it was possible to make a massive contribution and sell sustainable products with e-commerce?” Being an adventurer at heart, I have a big love for our planet – which led me down the path of sustainability. I am so happy to be able to offer not only a sustainable way of giving back, but also to offer it using sustainable and eco-friendly products, something that will hopefully write a new story for children all over the world.
How do you hope to see Two 4 One Stationery positively impact communities?
At the end of the day, I just want to be able to help as many people as possible. I’m a firm believer in using creative thinking to solve problems. I hope that people will consciously purchase this stationery because it is good for the environment, it is helping someone in need and it’s a way of sustainable giving. That’s how I came up with the name Two 4 One Stationery – I know that my concept is a one-for-one business model, but I set it up in a way to help benefit two causes. This can be seen in many ways, for example helping children and helping the environment, teaching our kids about recycling and teaching them about who is being helped with this purchase, as well as showing them from an early age the importance of giving and looking after our environment.
What are some of the challenges you are currently facing?
It’s all a challenge! But that’s what makes it worth it. It’s stepping outside your comfort zone and putting your idea out there, and seeing if it will work and hoping people will resonate and respond to my vision and what I am trying to achieve. It’s putting all my faith into my dream and trying to make it happen, while still working part time to pay the bills. The challenges involved are all those fun things and more. I mean, all I had was an idea. I had created a logo and sourced a few samples and then the Peppermint Pitch happened and it’s given me the confidence to go ahead. Since then, I’ve created a website, have sparked up conversations with suppliers and have been making arrangements for when we do our first giving experience in Indonesia. I am so grateful for having attended the PepTalks night by Peppermint and for how inspiring it was to hear about the challenges other people have faced and how they got through them. But one of the key things I took away from the night was to just take action and get started.
What excites you most about the project?
What excites me most about Two 4 One Stationery is the fact that I feel like I know my purpose – which is helping as many people as I can who are less fortunate than me, and helping them to get the education requirements they need using eco-friendly, sustainable products that are good for our environment. And what better way to do it than a business model like this? I get to use my entrepreneurial skills to think outside the box and help solve an issue. I love this quote from Mahatma Gandhi and I feel that it sums up what I’m trying to do: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
PepTalks photos by Colin Hockey.
Have you got a budding idea for a project, social enterprise or creative business you’d like to bring into the world? The Peppermint Pitch, supported by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, is an opportunity to pitch your idea to the audience members at our PepTalks events for the chance to win $300 and a feature on the Peppermint blog. To enter, simply purchase a ticket to our next PepTalks event on Tuesday 29 November in Brisbane and place your name down for the Peppermint Pitch upon arrival.
Three names will be drawn during the event, and these people will be asked to present a one-minute pitch to the audience. Audience voting will take place during intermission and the winner will be awarded $300 and an online interview to help support their project, social enterprise or creative business!