Karis Gill, co-founder of Social Stories Club, graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2018 having majored in Business with Marketing. Although her socially-conscious journey began before that! After volunteering with many charities in her first two years of university, she became frustrated that a lack of donations meant that these charities could not reach their full potential. She knew that there had to be another way. After discovering social enterprise on her year abroad at UBC in Vancouver, she knew she had found the perfect balance between business and charity. Arriving back in Edinburgh to finish off her final year of university, she was very excited to set up her own socially-conscious venture.
Over the course of her degree, Karis developed the skills of marketing, sales, customer service, and collaboration which have become invaluable to Social Stories Club. Her marketing experience comes from heading a team of more than 20 people to run a marketing department for a charity, her sales and customer service experience comes from spending three of her summers abroad as a holiday representative. Her collaboration experience was developed while taking on the position as head of events for Social Enterprise Club in Vancouver.
Karis is passionate about many social causes and has enjoyed searching for socially-conscious businesses and learning their stories. After falling in love with the idea of buying what you need and supporting social causes at the same time, Karis wanted to understand why more people were not doing this. In response, she conducted an 18,000-word research project and discovered that people do not buy more socially-conscious products due to a lack of education, accessibility, affordability, and concerns of quality. She was determined to start up a social venture which addressed these points. Karis believes the art of storytelling is an exciting way to educate individuals of all ages on socially-conscious projects around the world and set out to bring these to everyone in a way which was effortless and affordable for them to purchase. It was important to Karis, when she started her social venture, to serve many social causes and to collaborate with many ventures. In January 2018 she brought on her friend of 4 years, Aayush Goyal, and together Social Stories Club was born.
Aayush Goyal, co-founder of Social Stories Club, graduated from the University of Edinburgh having majored in International Business. In his first year of university, he raised over £11,000 for four different charities. He also flew out to Tanzania to build a self-sustaining maize mill. Today, this mill helps local farmers to cut processing costs and increase their profit margins. Profits from the mill have been used to fund a micro-financing programme that has benefited local farmers in the same area. Aayush learnt the art of collaborating and building long-term relationships from his mother, who believes that collaboration is the key to finding solutions to global issues. At university, he collaborated with different departments across the university to create a pillow fight campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues. Over his time at university, Aayush attended many local social enterprise competitions and workshops and even won a 48-hour social enterprise start-up competition called Make Your Mark. He became more aware of socially-conscious practices when sharing ideas with his friends. He found that his friends were overwhelmed by the concept of being socially-conscious as they did not know where to start. Whilst attending social enterprise events, Aayush learnt that one of the easiest ways to move to a more socially-conscious lifestyle was by making better purchases. Aayush notes that a zero-waste lifestyle can feel unrealistic for many people, but everyone can make small changes in what they purchase, such as choosing loose fruits instead of fruits packaged in plastic. Aayush was determined to help people take that first step. After coming across different socially-conscious businesses, he realised that stories were a very powerful tool to connect with people. By using stories of social change, people would be able to understand how small changes in their purchases could have a great impact on someone else’s life.