Doodlar: Do Good And Look Good Doing It

TILLY BENNETT-JONES takes a look at a Cambridge student startup that’s co-opting fashion to revolutionise charitable fundraising.

charity doodlar fashion human trafficking philanthropy student startup tabfashion water scarcity

Charity isn’t renowned for being fashionable. Come the end of exams, I doubt you’ll be dashing out to Oxfam in a state of pre-results euphoria to spend all that money you saved after weeks without the weekly Cindies purse drain. Albert Berchie, however, is on a mission to change this. A second year lawyer at Emma, he has recently launched the start up Doodlar with his friend Tim Armoo. The Tab caught up with Albert to discuss how he is making charity chic and modernising the way we go about fundraising.

Tell us a bit about Doodlar

“Doodlar is the brainchild of me and my friend Tim. We are a fundraising movement which aims to make people human billboards for the world’s biggest causes, whilst simultaneously raising money for the charities which support them.  Each month we partner up with a non-profit charity and try and increase awareness for our chosen issue. For each cause, we enlist young designers to create a design for our hoodies and t-shirts which reflects the charity we are working with. This month, our chosen cause is water scarcity. There is always one word-based design and one picture-based design, so we cater to all tastes. In addition to raising awareness for the cause, 25% of every sale goes to our partner charity.”

Albert Berchie, Doodlar co-founder

How do you pick your partner charities?

“We try and pick charities which are representative of the major issues in society. Our first charity, who we decided to launch with, is ‘Just a drop.’ Over 783,000,000 people worldwide do not have access to clean and safe water. To put that into perspective, that is about 13 times the size of the UK. Following that, our next range of clothing will be in aid of ‘Unseen UK.’ This is a charity which fights against human trafficking. We hope that our clothes not only make fundraising fun but also raise awareness for global problems which these charities are trying to tackle.”

What is the role of fashion in charity and how important do you think it is to be innovative in the field of fundraising?

“Fundraising in the 21st century should be about more that dropping 50 pence in a can on the side of the road. As a student, I understand that giving out money to different causes is not always top of the agenda. We realised that a new approach was needed. 50% of new charities close within a year of starting because they don’t have the funds to market themselves- this is not because people are stingy but because of lack of awareness about charities. At Doodlar, we are using back door to raise awareness. We use fashion to spread the word. By picking something as simple and essential as clothing, we are trying to create a buzz and encourage young people to get involved in social action.”

What else is in the pipeline for Doodlar?

“Next up is our collaboration with the charity ‘Unseen’ which works to combat human trafficking in the UK. As the fastest growing form of international crime, it is easy to overlook the problems we have on our own doorstep. Here in the UK, one woman can earn a trafficker between £500-£1000 per week. ‘Unseen’ not only supports those who have been affected by trafficking through their established care system, but also strives to raise awareness so that police and other frontline staff can help intercept early on. In buying a Doodlar tee, you will not only be helping to spread awareness of the cause, but also providing towards a basic care package of toiletries for a rescued victim of human trafficking.”

So that’s that; Doodlar won’t be shaking any cans under your nose. That’s not their style. They are innovative and ethical and hope to revolutionalise the way we look at charity. In the time you spent reading this article, ten children died as a result of water borne diseases. By supporting Doodlar, you will be doing your bit to help change this. And you won’t feel guilty next time you do ignore the can-shakers.

Want to find out more? Find Doodlar on Facebook or Twitter at @DoodlarHQ and visit their website.