Project Blanc: Bringing Youths together for a good cause
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has shone a light on the many issues and difficulties that various vulnerable groups in the Singaporean society face today. However, many selfless individuals have also stepped up to offer assistance to these vulnerable groups. From individuals who have donated their $600 Solidarity payout to photographers providing free photoshoots for F&B businesses to go online, many are dedicating their time, money and effort to charitable causes.
Ian Goh is one of these individuals. The Temasek Polytechnic student has managed to gather passionate and entrepreneurial youths to join his cause - Project Blanc. Project Blanc aims to bring together youth who run small businesses to donate a portion of their profits to charity. It also supports and provides these small businesses with a platform to earn some revenue, whilst creating a ripple effect of concerted effort towards helping the needy.
Project Blanc is endorsed by giving.sg, and has partnered with HSCA Community Services to raise funds for the organisation during these tough times. HSCA's mission is to empower various groups including ex-offenders, abused teenage girls and single parents through their various programmes.
The brains behind Project Blanc
Project Blanc is the brainchild of Ian, an Interior Architecture and Design student at Temasek Polytechnic. The idea first came about when he was brainstorming for his school's Guided Learning, and for the Singapore International Foundation's Young Social Entrepreneur programme. He noticed that many friends were running micro-businesses online and aimed to bring like-minded student entrepreneurs together for a charitable cause.
Design and Entrepreneurship may seem worlds apart. However, Ian believes that the two are highly intertwined: both involve stepping up and testing out new solutions to solve a problem. The 18-year-old has hopes to create an impact with his actions.
Besides having to juggle his studies, Ian is also the only person-in-charge of this programme and thus faced many difficulties along the way. He even had to pivot his idea due to COVID-19, as he had originally planned to run the project as a physical. Young and full of passion, Ian is hopeful that his pilot project will succeed. Here are the youths that he has managed to gather to participate in Project Blanc:
Alicia of Illogicalextreme
Instagram has become a platform for many young people to express themselves. For Creative Writing student Alicia, her Instagram shop Illogicalextreme has allowed her to share her love for sustainable fashion and upcycling clothes.
The Singapore Polytechnic student initially began illogicalextreme to sell off old clothes, but she was horrified when she found out the impact fast fashion has had on the environment. She switched gears and began thrifting instead of buying clothes in retail stores, and now almost exclusively thrift shops.
Alicia now uses illogicalextreme to spread the word about slow fashion and sustainability. The environmental advocate sells thrifted and reworked clothing as part of a passion project. Since the store is mostly focused on plus-sized fashion, Alicia initially had difficulties finding a market for her pieces. However, she is passionate about helping others and believes that "no action is too small to make a difference".
Lihui of Charlye & Co.
Change is about the small actions that can create a ripple effect and benefit people around you. This is exactly what Lihui aims to do at Charlye & Co.
The NUS business student hopes to empower the community through Charlye & Co. She has partnered with multiple non-profit organisations and she hopes to be able to bring a smile to someone during these trying times through her participation in Project Blanc.
When asked what advice she has for youths like herself, Lihui shared that passion and self-confidence are very important. "It does not matter how competent people believe you are, as long as you believe in yourself and have the passion to try, you will go far."
Lukas of Pretticreatures
Lukas is the artist behind Pretticreatures. The Temasek Polytechnic student creates all the artwork and stickers found on Pretticreatures. Creating art has always been an interest in Lukas. During his free time, drawing is also a form of de-stress and a means of self-expression for him. Being in design school has exposed him to many people with similar interests and passions in design, which made him more sure of pursuing a design career in the future. As someone who does not come from a Business background, the Product and Industrial Design student initially found it difficult to sell his stickers. However, he soon found that it was important to have an open mind and be willing to learn.
Even though the art industry may not be as well-established as Lukas would like, the young artist is happy to be able to work on his art through Pretticreatures. The self-proclaimed "workaholic" hopes to be able to give back to the community and raise funds from the less fortunate with his artworks.
Mandy of Shopidklh
Mandy is a graduate with a Diploma in Dance from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Besides dancing, she is also highly interested in e-commerce and setting up an online store. She decided to channel her efforts into starting a website and creating her store. However, she soon realised that it was important to reach out to her customers via social media as well, and thus she also started an Instagram page for her store.
She also shared more about how dancing can be likened to entrepreneurship, as both dancers and entrepreneurs exhibit qualities like perseverance and patience.
Mariliene of 1.48am
Mariliene's store, 1.48am started a year ago when the Interior Architecture and Design student at Temasek Polytechnic came across the idea of "thrifting" on Instagram. Mariliene wanted to explore the realm of entrepreneurship and thus submitted her an idea for a thrift store as part of her school's Guided Learning Programme.
Being both a student and a business owner is tough, and she sometimes finds it difficult to run the business alone. However, she still committed to Project Blanc as she believes in using her business as a means to give back to the local community.
Nicole of Daytonablues
Nicole is an undergraduate at NTU, and also the founder of thrift shop daytonabluees. The Instagram store initially started out from a Telegram channel, but the Finance undergraduate wanted to expand her reach to Instagram as well. She has also identified up-cycling as a trend and intends to branch into reworked fashion pieces in the near future.
To Nicole, every effort counts. She believes that even if one has very little, they can still give, and contribute to a greater good.
Yun Ling of Streetsnatchers
Yun Ling is a Communications and New Media undergraduate at NUS, and also the owner of Streetsnatchers. Streetsnatchers curates apparel from some of the best streetwear brands along with other vintage-style pieces, and Yun Ling is donating 60% of her profits to HSCA under Project Blanc. Despite the saturated fashion market, Streetsnatchers is able to stand out from its competitors due to the specially curated streetwear brands sold in the store.
Yun Ling is also a freelance digital painter. She is extremely passionate about giving back to the local community during these uncertain times, and hopes to be able to offer her digital painting services to businesses to aid in marketing and branding.
We hope for all youths with dreams and goals to take their chances and dive into projects without fear of failure. We are afraid that our goals and plans cannot be achieved now, but in reality we should just take the first step and just give it a go. - Project Blanc
Check the Project Blanc initiative here.
The original article appeared in Refuel.Charlye & Co. is a fashion accessories shop in Singapore that aims to empower the community and young women through various campaigns. Charlye & Co. have raised thousands for local charities and non-profit organisation. Learn more about us here.