When Kind is Cool founder Amber Wilkinson was bullied by someone of authority in the workplace, she lost faith in kindness.
Rather than wallowing in the hurtful reality of the situation, she decided spreading a message that kindness matters was important. That’s how Kind is Cool was born. Wilkinson now designs ethically made t-shirts and apparel, with slogans focusing on the message of kindness.
“The intent of the business is to create a kinder world, to teach our younger generation that KIND IS COOL, to remind people that kindness matters,” Wilkinson told Women’s Agenda recently.
“I have two boys and my husband and I have always made sure that they are aware of kindness and to make sure they choose to be kind.”
Kind is Cool has proudly supported the Alannah & Madeline Foundation by donating $1 from every sale, and now, Wilkinson is supporting Australia’s leading anti-bullying and cyber bullying organisation for children and teens in Australia, Bully Zero, with $2 from each item going to them.
Below, Amber tells Women’s Agenda about her personal experience with workplace bullying and how it pushed her to launch the business.
How did the idea for Kind is Cool come about and what is the intent of the business?
I have never been a fan of t-shirts for kids with silly slogans but after being bullied in the workplace I thought of designing some tees for my boys that promoted kindness and good vibes – there’s this blank space on clothing, so why not use it for good!
I designed a number of t-shirts and after my sister asked for one, I though other people might like them too. That’s how Kind is Cool was born! The intent of the business is to create a kinder world, to teach our younger generation that KIND IS COOL, to remind people that kindness matters.
Also to help support charities that work to lessen the bullying culture in our schools, workplaces and online – which is what Bully Zero do.
Did any personal experiences play a role in your decision to launch a business with kindness at its core?
Yes, I was bullied by someone of authority that I worked with, it affected me badly. I knew I could do one of two things, I could continue to allow it to hurt me or I could do something to bring more kindness into the world.
I have two boys and my husband and I have always made sure that they are aware of kindness and to make sure they choose to be kind. The bullying culture in our world is so scary and I worry about children growing up in this kind of culture, so I guess that has also played a role in my decision to launch Kind is Cool.
Can you take us through your decision to donate a portion of sales from Kind Is Cool t-shirts to charities like the Alannah Madeline Foundation and Bully Zero?
When I started Kind is Cool I really wanted to make a difference as much as possible, selling kindness t-shirts from a mum of two boys was a start. But to help that little bit more I knew if I donated to charities that work on the forefront I could make a bigger change with my little business.
Foundations like Bully Zero were started by a family directly affected by bullying. They had ultimately suffered a loss of a child due to bullying. Bully Zero work on the frontline to educate and support not only children but workplaces too, which is something very close to my heart.
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Happy Friday to YOU!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We only print on PREMIUM, ETHICALLY MADE apparel.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our supplier is part of the Child Labor Free Initiative & uses GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic licensed suppliers.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ All printing is done in-house and made with love! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ $2 from every item sold is donated to @bullyzero who work on the frontline to educate, support and empower people against bullying! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Be kind always ✨⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #kindiscool #kindnessmatters #bekind #spreadkindness #itscooltobekind #bullyzero #kindtee #kindtshirt
What benefits has running Kind Is Cool brought to your life, in both a personal and professional capacity?
There are so many benefits to running Kind is Cool. The ones that stand out are instilling the belief that we can create a kinder world. That people are actually sharing my message of creating a kinder world by wearing my t-shirts!
Also, showing my two boys that if you believe in something, work damn hard and make some sacrifices you can make your dream come true!
Professionally, I have learnt so much about running a business. When I started I really had no idea I just wanted to spread a message and create a kinder world. Twelve months later I am running a small successful business and have an incredible team behind me!
Advice for other women thinking of taking a leap into the world of small business?
Have a good team of people around that believe in what you do, be prepared to make mistakes but make sure learn from them, take in as much information as you can from people around you that inspire you and/or have been where you are with your business.
Don’t waste time worrying about negative comments, copy cats etc., there will be lots of them, just rise above it all with a smile!
Also, enjoy the new friendships that come from owning your own business. I have forged some of the closest friendships since starting Kind Is Cool and I cherish them so much and what they bring to my life and business!
Where can we find out more about Kind is Cool? (Socials etc.)