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Adrien Edwards, Founder of The Naked Hippie (INTERVIEW)

Microloans Through T-Shirts

— February 8, 2012 — Social Good
Mid-January, SocialBusiness.org covered Naked Hippie, an innovative social business that incorporates microloans into its fashion brand. And like the company's founder, Adrien Edwards, says in this interview, "It was something that had not been done before with a for-profit brand."

Here, Adrien Edwards his deeper into the business model, as well as his passions, inspirations and creative processes.

Four Questions with Adrien Edwards

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

I had taken part in micro loans on an individual level several years ago, and when I was developing the concept for a line of t-shirts, I came up with this model. It was something that had not been done before with a for-profit brand. For me it has always been a passion to combine business with truly sustainable philanthropy. And this is the type of philanthropy I love because it actually helps people get back on their feet and gain a sense of pride and confidence that can in turn make a huge change in their environment. Giving people things is one thing, but helping them get it for themselves is, to me, the ultimate social enterprise. Not to mention our success is directly connected to the success of the people we help. I don't know of another for-profit business that views philanthropy like that.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

My two passions have always been entrepreneurial business and highly effective and creative philanthropy. When I was 16, my first business raised hundreds of dollars to buy toys for children in poor countries during Christmas. It was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life to go on a mini "shopping spree" for kids that may never have had a toy in their lives. I have an extensive background in business and marketing, having worked for non-profits to manufacturing companies, so this was almost a logical progression.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

My family (my parents and girlfriend) are a huge influence for me. My father especially had a huge impact on my global vision. We would have all-night talks about global issues and how to resolve them. Whenever I need inspiration I try to clear my mind, go for walks, play basketball something that get's my body busy and allows me to get ideas and avoid being overwhelmed by millions of thoughts.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

I learn a lot from others. I read and listen to people's biographies and expose myself to many people's thought processes and beliefs. Taking in ideas from people who not only came well before me but have done much greater things, helps me keep my own creativity flowing.
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