Thankyou, an Australia-based social enterprise, offers consumer products – personal care and baby product ranges – for the sole purpose of funding life-changing projects.
Thankyou was created to close the gap between the 736 million people* living in extreme poverty around the world and the $63 trillion spent on consumer products each year**. After all the costs in running a business to get great consumer products to people are taken care of, every last cent that Thankyou makes goes toward ending extreme poverty. With this model, Thankyou seeks to flip consumerism…for good.
Thankyou was founded in 2008 by a group of university students, and in only 12 years has grown into a movement of millions of people taking small steps to create big change.
Daniel Flynn, Founder – Thankyou spoke exclusively to Medianews4u about their latest campaign, and the plans going forward.
Read on and get inspired.
Tell us about the social enterprise Thankyou? How did it form and a small flashback?
Thankyou is a social enterprise that offers consumer products for the sole purpose of helping end extreme poverty. Right now, we have over 60 products available for sale in Australia and New Zealand, but our goal is to take this idea to the world so that we can impact the lives of more people living in extreme poverty.
We have a ‘100% for’ business model. Our business, Thankyou Group, is ultimately owned 100% by the Thankyou Charitable Trust, which distributes its funds to our impactful change-makers. This means that after all the costs involved in getting great products to you are taken care of, every cent left helps end extreme poverty. To date we’ve raised over $17 million (AUD) for impact.
We started in 2008. I remember a moment right before that when I was 19 years old, and I was sitting in front of my computer with tears streaming down my face, as I watched footage of kids in Africa having to walk kilometers each day to collect water for their families. These kids were putting themselves at great safety risk, and being deprived of education – but then also putting their families at risk because the water they collected wasn’t even safe to drink. When I considered “what if that was my story”, I couldn’t even comprehend it. In front of us, we saw one world that had two extremes – extreme consumerism and extreme poverty. It wasn’t right that such inequality existed, and myself and my co-founders wanted to do something about it.
Today $63 trillion is spent globally on consumer products and services, and just before the pandemic, 736 million people were living in extreme poverty. We envisioned a brand that could be a bridge between these two extremes by empowering consumers to help end extreme poverty. We sell consumer products that exist all for the end of extreme poverty.
Why did you name it Thank you? and how does the name help in brand building?
We think gratitude is one of the most universal and powerful forces in the world. We were founded in a time where often people were ‘guilted’ into making a difference but at Thankyou, we really want to inspire people to be generous and outward-focused through the concept of gratitude. In the early days, we used to get some funny looks from people when they first heard our brand name was ‘Thankyou’ because using such an everyday word for a brand name at first seems a little strange. But I think part of having a strong brand is a memorable name, and that begins with it being interesting enough to spark conversation.
The video is beautifully created and produced, what went behind creating this visual marvel?
Originally, we had a different plan for the video, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne, we had to change our plans at the last minute because we weren’t able to leave our home to film. This was a challenge at the time, but we’ve found that sometimes the best creative solutions come when you’re under pressure! We had our film agency send us video equipment to our home, and Justine – my co-founder and also my wife – operated lights and camera while we filmed my piece to camera in our garage. Our agency filmed the other parts of the video in different locations around the country. It was a process we didn’t expect, but we were happy with the result in the end.
What was the objective of the campaign, No Small Plan?
Right now, the world is in a really tough spot. We think our planet needs change at scale quickly, which we believe Thankyou can offer, but the fastest way to get there is finding partners with that kind of scale now. We’ve watched these two companies for a long time and we applaud their work in the sustainability space. But industry experts told us that it would be tough to convince them of this kind of partnership, because it’s outside what they usually do. Which is why we launched a public invitation (you can watch it at www.thankyou.co) – asking people everywhere to petition P&G and Unilever by posting ‘I’m in, are you’ on social media with the hashtag #thankyoutotheworld.
So far, we’ve achieved over 1.3 billion campaign impressions (the culmination of people’s posts, views, media reach), with people posting from across 34 countries. We’ve seen a huge groundswell of support from all over the world with so many creative ‘I’m in, are you’ posts (including people who sang songs, did magic tricks, baked cakes and created art in support of the campaign). We’re currently in the process of having meetings with potential partners, and look forward to being able to make an announcement in the coming weeks as to who is ‘in’.
It’s a bold ask – and from our experience, these kinds of big ideas always need huge public support, or they don’t ever see the light of day.
What are your expectations from the campaign? and how confident are you that P&G and Unilever would be a part of the same?
Our hope through this campaign is to find the right partner to help us achieve our vision – a world where not one person lives in extreme poverty. At Thankyou, we have purpose at the centre. We believe that many of these large product companies we’re reaching out to are purpose-minded, and have similar bold visions. However, what these product companies are grappling with is how to embed purpose at the core and how to build a purpose-centered brand. This is the kind of brand and movement that we’ve spent 12 years building, and what we know we can bring to the table when it comes to a meaningful partnership that will create real, impactful change.
Any plans for expanding/launching the ThankYou range of products in India?
We’ve always seen Thankyou as global consumers buying global products to make a global impact. This campaign is a call out to the world to see which countries are up for this. We’ve had so much support from people in India posting ‘I’m in, are you’ during this campaign. In the future, we hope to secure a partner, which will help us eventually launch our products into India.