5 Minutes With Chelsey

What’s your passion?
I have a number of things I am passionate about, namely, my faith in God and my roles as a woman, a South African citizen and a business owner. Privilege and power, feminism and sustainability really get me going.

What change are you keen to drive?
I want to combat poverty through fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

How are you driving change?
In 2012, my friend Alison Stewart and I launched Feat. sock co. a manufacturing company geared towards encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting local business. 

We identified a gap in the South African market for locally made feature socks and what started off as a side project is now a well-known brand, producing high-quality, designer cotton and wool-blend socks. 
Supporting local business all production is kept to Cape Town.

We are currently working on a new business model as an off shoot of the business ‘FEAT. sock co.’ Our new model seeks to ‘support the bold in pursuing their dreams’ by offering them a low-risk means to become financially independent. 

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?
The support we have been given from ACTIVATE! in workshopping our project proposal and asking ourselves the ‘right’ questions around our role as South Africans, has been so helpful.

Networking has been the greatest asset of our business and every other project I have been involved in. Finding people who are also passionate about growth in this country (and not just their own personal gain) is key… network with people who have the same heart that you do, otherwise the relationship is not mutually beneficial and you are left feeling drained and untrusting. 

Networking with fellow Activators! has really assisted my growth. I have joined in debates and community projects that fellow Activators have initiated and I love it. It’s exciting to be part of a movement of people who are all passionate about positive change.

How do you motivate yourself?
I pursue God and His purpose for my life, and He refreshes and motivates me.

Final comment?
My vision for everyone, South Africa and myself included, is to aid in fostering an environment that places awareness at the top of the value chain. I believe the biggest obstruction to change is wilful ignorance – people choosing to know less because knowing more makes them uncomfortable. Once you learn something, it cannot be unlearned. And that starts to move you to implement change in small ways. 

My favourite quote at the moment is from Melanie Joy:  “Without awareness there is no free choice. We’re all participants in the system, for better or worse. Our choice isn’t whether we participate but how we participate. With awareness we can choose to be active witnesses or passive bystanders. We can choose to be informed consumers and empowered citizens.”

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