I’d like to connect you with a company who gives back to those in need. August Effects is owned and operated by Nicole Humphreys, a California resident who has a love for Bali’s culture, people, and handmade goods. When living in Bali, Nicole decided she could build her own brand of products, with the help of the local artisans, and give back to the children of Bali in the process. So that’s exactly what she did!
Read on for Nicole’s story of how August Effects came to be, how they are able to provide aid for schools, and fall in love with their products.
How did August Effects come to be?
Hi everyone! My name is Nicole Humphreys and I am from Santa Barbara, CA. I moved to Venice Beach after college and met my husband, Connor there. Connor and I got married in November, 2016 and went on our honeymoon in Bali, Indonesia. The year leading up to the wedding was the most difficult year of my life. I started a new job that, on paper, was everything I had ever dreamed of. I was the Director of the non-profit I was working for, doing incredible work with children in Africa, and making a great salary. Unfortunately, I was miserable. I was working 12+ hour days and enduring stress levels I never thought possible. Our honeymoon was the first time I had been out of the office and truly enjoying life in a very long time. It opened my eyes to what I had been missing.
Traveling around Bali on our honeymoon, I was blown away by the artisans I met all over the island. They created beautiful handmade goods from bags to home decor. I realized that I could work these artisans to create products and build an online store selling the goods in the US. When we got back to California, I called my husband and told him that I wanted to quit my job and move to Bali. There were a few minutes of silence on the phone and then he responded, “I’m in!” Fast forward 4 months – we quit our jobs, sold all our belongings, moved out of our apartment and bought a one-way ticket to Bali. Upon arriving in Bali, I started to figure out how to build my new company, August Effects, which is my new full time job. I knew I wanted to create unique products that were handmade by local people. I rode my motorbike around the island, spending afternoons at various markets meeting artisans and seeking inspiration. Eventually I chose 6 products to create – three different kinds of bags, a towel, a pillow, and a blanket. I hand-picked materials and worked with each artisan to create the perfect products for August Effects.
During that time, I started volunteering with the Bali Children Foundation (BCF). When we got to Bali I starting looking for a non-profit that I could get involved. At dinner one night, a good friend of mine started telling me about BCF and a recent trip she took with them She explained that they are an amazing non-profit that provides an educational pathway for disadvantaged Balinese children. BCF works in the rural, poverty-stricken villages of Bali, bringing education, computer skills, and real-world job training to the children they serve. I met with the Founder and set up a trip I could take with them to learn more. On that trip, Marg informed me that BCF is currently in need of new English dictionaries for the children in their programs. I saw this as a great opportunity serve BCF through August Effects. I decided to partner with them and donate a dictionary for every purchase made on August Effects’
I launched August Effects’ online store in March 2017 and it has been an incredible few months. There is a lot of room for growth, but we make progress every day. Together with our amazing customers, in just our first 6 weeks of business, we generated enough orders to achieve the incredible milestone of 100 dictionaries that we get to donate to BCF!
What are your favorite pastimes?
When I am not working on August Effects, my favorite pastimes are cooking, yoga, hiking, playing board games, hanging out with my dog, spending time with friends and family, TRAVELING, meeting new people, and laughing as much as possible!
Approximately, how many dictionaries have you been able to donate?
We are up to almost 100 dictionaries (and just we launched a little less than 2 months ago) so it’s a great start! I hope that number continues to increase!
Have you been able to interact with the schools and kids that you’re donating to?
Yes! I have been on multiple trips to the schools and villages that BCF has programs in. The most recent trip I went on was to Songan Village. Last year, in the Kintamani region of Bali there was relentless rain and poor slope conditions which led to major landslides. 12 people were killed and Songan village was one of the areas that was most impacted. This community already suffered from disadvantages which were amplified by this tragedy. Therefore, BCF raised funds to help the village get back on its feet and implemented their program into the schools there. The Founder of BCF, Marg, and I decided that the dictionaries donated by August Effects will have the most benefit at these schools. I will going back to Songan in July to donate the dictionaries to the students there.
What have been your greatest challenges?
Practicing patience. In starting August Effects, I have had to learn that everything takes time. The process of getting my products from idea to execution took a LOT of trial and error that I wasn’t necessarily expecting when I started out. For example, it took about 18 samples of each of my products to get the one I wanted. Additionally, Bali has many ceremonies and holidays for which shops and businesses will close for days (or sometimes a week) at a time. The pace of life is very different than the US, and it was an adjustment getting used to the business culture of the island.
It also takes a LONG time to get products from Bali to US (about 6-8 weeks by ship). When my products were finally ready in Bali, it was another test of patience waiting for them to arrive in the US. In all of my jobs before starting AE, I was always trying to get as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. Starting this business has taught me that patience needs to be a priority in all aspects of business. At this stage, marketing and business development are my main focus and this lesson is as vital now as it was when I was creating my products. It’s still difficult sometimes, but I feel like I’m getting better at it every day.
What is your favorite part about operating this business?
I think it is the ability (and challenge) to constantly be creative. In past jobs, I knew my role and did what I was supposed to do. With August Effects, every day is different and I am constantly inspired to try new things and break out of my comfort zone. There is no job description that comes with running your own company, and I am constantly thinking of ways to grow, collaborate with other companies, and produce new content (in terms of blog posts, emails campaigns, social media, etc.). I have never really had an opportunity to express my creative side in a job so that is definitely the most exciting part about operating this business!
How/what was the process of finding suppliers in Bali?
I have six different suppliers for my products and I was able to find them all in different ways. A few suppliers I was able to find by just riding my motorbike around Bali and finding their shops on the side of the road. One was a recommendation from a friend living in Bali. Another I was able to find through Facebook. Unlike the US, not every business has a website and actually, most don’t. It forces you to get creative and use multiple resources outside of the internet to find what you need.
Who designs the products?
I designed my bikini bags and backpacks using inspiration from other products and styles I saw at the Bali markets. I found similar products and decided to put my own twist on them. I chose all my own fabrics and added elements that would make them unique to August Effects. The Bali bags are a staple on the island (and really around the world now), so for those I just choose the size, color, small design elements (like the clasps and strap attachments), and interior fabric. For my towels and other home goods I found artisans that were already making the products and worked with them to add my own touches that would fit with the August Effects vibe.
What do you see for the future of August Effects?
This summer we are adding a few new products, which I am really looking forward to. We are also creating a video, telling the story of August Effects and showing the process of how our products are made. It will highlight our artisans and document the dictionary donation planned for July in Songan. From there I plan to grow the brand, get our products into stores all over the world, and continue to help BCF and the people of Bali in the process!
What is the best way to contact you?
If anyone is interested in learning more about August Effects or checking out our products, head to our website: www.augusteffects.com. We are also on Instagram @augusteffects. I love connecting without customers so feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org as well!
I hope you all love the product as much as I do, and learned a thing or two today from Nicole. What an inspiring story – we should all keep in mind, to not let our daily lives consume us, and do what we can do to help others.
Thanks for reading! Cheers.