Our business overview

Our business overview

Our vision is a world where all women have the confidence and resources to makes choices, thrive and contribute to the strengthening of their communities. Secret Projects was founded to realise this vision.

Established in 2014, Secret Projects operates as a social business, training and empowering women in India through the making and selling of clothing and homeware. Secret Projects consists of two organisations, our parent company based in UK and our subsidiary company based in India. Our global trading name is Secret Projects.

Secret Projects Community Benefit Society Ltd. (SPCBS)

What we do:

We are a Community Benefit Society set up to benefit communities of marginalised women in India. We work with our subsidiary company in India, Social Power India to create and support sustainable livelihoods and an equitable world.

Our impact areas are:

  • Social Investor Platform: We provide a platform for social investors who want to invest in women’s empowerment and the creation of sustainable livelihoods
  • Secret Leaders/Influencers: We are a vehicle for people who want to make a difference through their own personal and business networks, using their skills, passion and creativity
  • Linkages: We connect our Maker Communities with the global marketplace (Business to Customer / Business to Business) by creating market linkages
  • WFTO: We work within the framework of World Fair Trade Organisation as a member to achieve fair wages and acceptable working standards and we are working towards minimal waste
  • Experiences: We offer a variety of ways that our Makers and Customers can meet and work together.

SPCBS employs 2 full-time and 1 part time members of staff and also works with volunteers, interns and sub-contractors.

Parent company:

Secret Projects Community Benefit Society Ltd: Registration number 8216. Date of registration 10/10/19

Wholly owned subsidiary company:

Social Power India Private Limited: Registration number CIN U17299KA2019FTC131168. Date of registration: 31/12/2019

Social Power India Private Ltd. (SPI)

What we do:

Social Power India enables sustainable livelihoods towards an equitable world.

Our impact areas are:

  • Training: We run our own training programme and we create and sell customised training packages to collaborating organisations
  • Professionalization: We support a rise in quality of production and promote the concept of selling and marketing.
  • Enterprise Development: We mentor our Maker Communities to capitalise on the opportunities available to them locally
  • Leadership: We identify emerging leaders within our Maker Communities and support their development.
  • Sales: Maker Communities produce clothing and homeware that are sold to a global market through linkages created by our parent company, Secret Projects Community Benefit Society UK.
  • WFTO: We work within the framework of World Fair Trade Organisation as a member to achieve fair wages and acceptable working standards and we are working towards minimal waste.

SPI employs 4 full time equivalent staff members.

Fritha Mason - CEO

Fritha is the creative entrepreneur behind the Secret Pillow Project. During her 13-year career in the voluntary and not for profit sector she has worked in organisations in the UK and abroad, including Save the Children. Following her time there, she was CEO of Adventure Ashram, a small, charity raising funds and giving them away to grass roots projects in India, for 7 years. From her experience in the charity sector, she knew the challenges that mothers face not having the confidence or the resources to enable their children to thrive. She created Secret Pillow in order to work with women as partners in business rather than beneficiaries.

The journey of taking Secret Pillow Project from its pilot project in 2013 to where it is today has been exciting and transformational. Discovering that she could use the skills she learnt as a fundraiser to be run crowdfunding campaigns was huge, and Secret Projects would not be where it is today without the crowd created through numerous crowdfunding campaigns. She believes, with the leadership team in place, Secret Projects has a bright future, one which she is dedicated to for many years to come.

Banke Ajayi - Director of Finance and Operations

Banke joined Secret Projects in 2017 after a career that has spanned retail logistics, insurance and manufacturing, working in the 'for profit' and 'not for profit' sectors. She has held responsibility for setting targets for national companies with over 350 branches with a combined annual turnover of circa £500 million and been CEO of a social sector organisation that brought together agencies to work together in the interest of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She has a BSc degree in Accountancy and qualified as a chartered management accountant (ACMA) from London School of Accountancy in 1984. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant UK (CIMA) and a member of the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

Ailsa Vincent

Ailsa has been part of Secret Projects from the beginning and is focussed on business development. She has offered constant support, advice and encouragement drawing on her own experience as a Headmistress, in charge of the growth of pupil numbers in schools, and through setting up a retail brand from scratch in the UK and Europe (and is also Fritha's mum!)

Training for Empowerment and our Maker Community

Our Virtual Training for Empowerment Programme (VTFEP) plays a central and important role at Secret Projects and forms the basis of our vision of a world where all women have the confidence and resources to make choices, thrive and contribute to the strengthening of their communities.

Working closely with established and reputable Indian based charities and NGO’s, we are able to link with communities of women with good sewing skills, who want to be able to earn their own living from their expertise, but need support to find relevant and authentic opportunities. These women become part of our Maker Community, forming local Maker Groups and, with our guidance, learn how to make Secret Products. Each one becomes part of our 4 stage Training for Empowerment Programme (see below), that not only provides a route to both the domestic and international sales markets, but also gives each member the tools to be able to form their own micro-enterprises if this is something they want to pursue.

Stage 1: Training - Makers learn how to make foldable Secret Products, e.g. Secret Pillows

Stage 2: Professionalism - Makers are supported to produce products of the highest export standards

Stage 3: Enterprise Development - Makers are coached to uncover local opportunities to generate an income

Stage 4: Leadership - Emerging leaders are encouraged to develop their leadership skills and grow their confidence

Our programme currently spans 5 Indian states, and has trained over 500 Makers since we began in 2014.

Impact Assessement

As a result of the global pandemic, we are currently in the process of reviewing how we measure and assess the impact of our Virtual Training for Empowerment Programme. We will share our findings and new methods later in 2021.

More about how our business works

Our Customers and other ethical investors are invited to invest and own the business through our Community Benefit Society business model. The investment this creates is being used effectively to scale our activities and we currently we have over 300 investors from all over the world.

We also have a number of other major income streams:

  • Retail, through our on-line international retail sites
  • Bespoke training programmes with Indian NGOs
  • White Label sales
  • Wholesale
  • Our bespoke range
  • Working with universities

Our customers and Shareholders

SPCBS Shareholders and customers are a key strength to our business. Not only do they passionately share our vision, many of them play an active role in narrating the story behind Secret Projects, thus inspiring sales of Secret Products and shares. Simply put, they are a tribe who feel connected to our Makers and wider Secret Projects community.

Secret Projects - our guide

Please click on the image to read the complete overview of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society and Social Power India. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how we might work together, please email Fritha Mason, CEO SPCBS: fritha@secretprojects.org