From the Heart of... our Team

 8th Dec 2020 |  From The Heart Of... |  Margaret Ring


We are proud to introduce Fritha, Secret Projects founder and CEO, as part of our 'From the Heart of' series. 

Through this collection of stories, we want to take you to the centre of Secret Projects, right to our heart to discover what drives us as we journey towards 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. What keeps us going? What joy and love do we encounter on the way to women's empowerment?

Get to know Fritha a little more by reading the interview below about her work with Secret Projects and a little about his home life below: 

 

Question: In a nutshell, what does your role at Secret Projects consist of?

Fritha: I am the CEO and Head of New Business and Sales. My role as CEO is a much smaller part of my role, as we are a small business at the moment. My main focus is making sure the business runs legally, effectively, has the impact we set out to and our staff, Shareholders and Customers are happy.

 

Question: Is there a typical day for you in your role? What does it look like?

Fritha: Secret Projects is nearly a 24 hour a day business because India is almost 6 hours ahead of the UK. So Secret Projects opens at 5am my time (I am based in the UK) and shuts at 6pm. I am dyslexic so that makes me an early riser because I find I am most able to read and write early in the morning. So my day starts at 5am when my phone starts pinging with the many essential WhatsApp groups used by our global team. I drink tea, respond to the WhatsApp messages and write lists of what I need to do that day. Each day has a theme to it; for example, Wednesday is called 'Opportunity Tracker' day and I dedicate the day to networking with people and opening up new business opportunities. I check my emails with a bowl of cereal, walk my beloved dog Digger around the park and then I start. My days are all different but they all involve lots of talking via Microsoft Teams, emailing, working on e-commerce sites and thinking creativity about how to make things happen. I love working and as soon as I start I don’t look up and sometimes it feels as if the end of the working day comes about too early!

 

Question: What did you do before Secret Projects?

Fritha: I was a charity fundraiser specialising in Major Donors and Community Fundraising. I started Secret Projects when I was the CEO of a UK charity raising funds for education and community projects in India called Adventure Ashram. I also ran my own charity fundraising consultancy and worked a lot for the Dry January Campaign run by Alcohol Change UK.

 

Question: What do you find most fulfilling about working with Secret Projects?

Fritha: Paying our Makers. We pay our Makers on the 15th of each month via bank transfer. I love that da!. I also find sales fulfilling because every sale leads to us being able to have a new transaction with one of our Makers.

 

Question: How does your role at Secret Projects empower you?

Fritha:

I am not ok with the social injustices embedded into our world’s social, economic and governmental structures. I want every day of my adult life to be pushing to disrupt those structures and help prove that an equal world is a better world. Secret Projects offers me a role from which to be disruptive…

People empower me. And I have met so many people through Secret Projects. Each one of them empowers in a different way.

Secret Projects pushes me all the time beyond by comfort zone. I am comfortable out there because I am dyslexic and thrive when things are at their most challenging, it is what I am used too.

 

Question: Tell us a little about your life away from work.

Fritha: I am madly in love with a man called Olaf. We met only 3 and half years ago and now we are civil partners. We are foster carers, we are building our own home in West Sussex (UK) and we are also having a baby in the Spring of 2021. I love walking my dog Digger, growing food at our allotment and sewing and making things. I also love hanging out with my family and friends, camping, going to the beach and selling at car boot sales! I love India too, but I won’t go into that because it is linked to work!!!

Here are a few question just for fun!

Question: Dancing or walking?

Fritha: Dancing on a walk!

Question: Going out for the evening or staying at home?

Fritha: Impossible question… If I stay at home I will be asleep by 7pm…which is delicious and if I go out, I stay awake which is delicious too.

Question: If you could call up anyone in the world and have a 1hour conversation, who would you call?

Fritha: I would call my hero, the King of Social Business, Professor Yunus. He owns a Secret Pillow. I would ask him to coach me for 1 hour…

And to finish...

Question: As Secret Projects drives people to think about India what do you want to tell the world about India? What do you love most about the country?

Fritha: People ask me this question all the time. My love for India is complex… but I suppose what I love about India is the way it makes me feel. I go there and it wakes me up. It makes me understand what it means to be a human being and how to be truly alive. There is an urgency about India and an urgency to live your short life well, be grateful and just get on with it.

Photo: Fritha with a Secret Sari Dress. Photographer: Sebastian Xander

 

If you enjoyed this, you might also like to read this.

Other posts

And action! We are creating a film and photographic studio. Can you help us?

And action! We are creating a film and photographic studio. Can you help us?

As we all know, Covid-19 has hugely accelerated the transformation from face to face selling to online sales in the retail sector. We are seizing this . . . opportunity of online selling and transforming the way we sell Secret Products to be 95% online. This is an area we were working towards anyway, as it's been proved many times that the more platforms a business uses to promote their goods, the wider the audience they reach. So... we are currently busy putting together a film and photographic studio in our business unit in West Sussex, as we need to be able to create high quality, professional images to use online as well as on our YouTube channel. We are very lucky to have been offered the services of a highly specialised carpenter free of charge and a TV production company have also offered to help us by mentoring us over the equipment we need.  Amazing! However, we do have some way to go and it's not cheap, and we wanted to ask if any of our Customers, Shareholders and Friends would like to help us and make a contribution towards some of the items we need? We have put together a 'wish list' below and we would be so grateful for any assistance you can offer, whether financial or advice. Please email Fritha, our CEO if you are able to help: fritha@secretprojects.org Our wish list: One Cannon 16-35mm lense for photographing Secret Products to the highest standards: £1000 brand new or £500 second hand One Windows desk top computer with extra memory for film and photography editing in studio: £1000 Microphones to record sound on videos of Secret Products to the highest quality: £160 And... Printing of six A4 board with pictures of our Makers in India at work in their communities @£40 each: £240 Three Cable safety systems @ £50 each: £150 Ten sets of wheels to fix to shelves for easy movement @ £10 per set: £100 Ten meters of blackout fabric to create blinds to block out light @ £3 per metre: £30 One Wi-fi booster to ensure there is high speed internet connection: £15 The total amount needed to equip our studio is £2,500 Any help you can give will be very gratefully received. Huge thanks. If you like this article you might like to read this Secret Projects story
Continue reading >
Introducing Fabric by the Metre... as featured on Simply Sewing Magazine's Pinboard!

Introducing Fabric by the Metre... as featured on Simply Sewing Magazine's Pinboard!

We are so very excited to bring to you one of our latest ranges... Fabric by the Metre. We are even more excited to tell you that this gorgeous . . . collection of fabrics has made it's debut on Simply Sewing Magazines January 2021 Pinboard! See above! We absolutely adore fabrics at Secret Projects! Over the years, we have found some excellent fabric suppliers and have often dreamt of offering our customers the opportunity to buy wonderful material from India.  Through our Customer Trips, over 20 of our customers have travelled with us to India and experienced some magical fabric buying adventures, as we took them to visit markets and suppliers! Yet, we knew that not everyone can jump on a plane with us... One of our Customers then gave us a great idea, when she asked why didn't we think about selling fabric through our on-line retail stores and we jumped on it! Now we can give everyone the opportunity for a similar fabric buying adventure on-line.  There are 32 fabrics in our wonderful range from brights to pastels and lot more colours and shades in between! Whether you are looking for gorgeous florals, bold and strong abstracts or cute animal prints, our Fabric by the Metre range will not disappoint.To be introduced to our Fabric by the Metre collections, please go to our our website: secretprojects.org and click on Shop & Travel to shop in GBP, Euros and US Dollars.Have so much creative fun selecting yours and don't forget to let us see what you have made!
Continue reading >
Secret Projects Online Shopping Guide

Secret Projects Online Shopping Guide

We have put together this useful guide to explain the ins and outs of shopping with us from different countries and sending Secret Products to others . . . throughout the world. We are proud... To be able to offer our Customers a huge range of ways to purchase Secret Products online To sell Secret Products in Rupees, Sterling, Euros and US Dollars. We are constantly exploring adding new currencies To guide our Customers about shopping with us from their respective countries We hope you find the guide useful, but please do get in touch if you have any questions or need further information by emailing orders@secretprojects.org   UK Customers Customers based in the UK, who would like to make their payment in Sterling can shop in the following ways: Our official Online UK Retail Store Products are shipped from India with the current delivery time of 10 + working days via Aramex Courier service. Please note: For orders received in the UK, the recipient may find they will be charged for the VAT on the goods by the UK Customs and Excise Department. If this charge is levied, it is the responsibility of the recipient to make the payment. *Full range of Secret Products available and we are currently offering 6 Secret Shopping Bags for the price of 5. https://retailuk.secretprojects.org   Etsy Products are shipped from our headquarters in West Sussex with a delivery time of 3-5 working days via Royal Mail. International shipping options are also available. *Limited range available, but new products are being added all the time https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Secretprojectshop   The Big Issue Shop Products are shipped from our headquarters in West Sussex with a delivery time of 3-5 working days via Royal Mail. Currently shipping is only within the UK. *Limited range of Secret Products available. Prices are slightly lower https://www.bigissueshop.com/vendor/secret-projects   Crowdfunder UK We are currently running a sale of our personalised Secret Pillows until 16th December (4.30pm). Once the Crowdfunder has ended, we will be moving the pillows to our Etsy store. Delivery time is 3-5 working days, so please order through Crowdfunder to receive your personalised Secret Pillow/s before Christmas. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/christmas-sale-personalised-secret-pillows Join our Secret Projects Bargain Basement Facebook Group Payment is via BACS and shipping is only within the UK. *End of line, seconds and scrap fabrics available https://www.facebook.com/groups/2057766367874048   European Customers Customers based in the Europe, who would like to make their payment in Euros can shop in the following ways: Our official Retail Europe Online Store Products are shipped from India with the current delivery time of 10 + working days via Aramex Courier service. Please note: For orders received in the UK, the recipient may find they will be charged for the VAT on the goods by the UK Customs and Excise Department. If this charge is levied, it is the responsibility of the recipient to make the payment. *Full range of Secret Products available and we are currently offering 6 Secret Shopping Bags for the price of 5. https://retaileurope.secretprojects.org/   Etsy Products are shipped from our headquarters in West Sussex with a delivery time of 3-5 working days via Royal Mail. International shipping options are also available. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Secretprojectshop *Limited range available, but new products are being added all the time     USA Customers Customers based in the USA who would like to make their payment in US Dollars, can shop in the following ways: Our official Retail USA Online Store Products are shipped from India with the current delivery time of 10 + working days via Aramex Courier service. Please note: For orders received in the UK, the recipient may find they will be charged for the VAT on the goods by the UK Customs and Excise Department. If this charge is levied, it is the responsibility of the recipient to make the payment. *Full range of Secret Products available and we are currently offering 6 Secret Shopping Bags for the price of 5. https://retailusa.secretprojects.org/   Etsy Products are shipped from our headquarters in West Sussex with a delivery time of 3-5 working days via Royal Mail. International shipping options are also available. *Limited range available, but new products are being added all the time. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Secretprojectshop   Personal Shopping with Secret Projects! We are able to offer our Customers a one-hour virtual personal shopping experience to give you time to browse through our collections of clothing and homeware and learn a little more about our Maker Communities who lovingly stitch Secret Products. To arrange this, please email Secret Projects CEO, Fritha Mason: fritha@secretprojects.org or send her a WhatsApp message on: +44 (0)7824 999675. Please enjoy shopping for Secret Products and thank you for journeying with us towards 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. If you would like further information or have any questions, please let us know by emailing orders@secretprojects.org Many thanks.
Continue reading >