Thankyou’s collaboration with Australian artist Sarah Kelk

Sometimes I feel as though I am part of a secret club.

My friends and I nod in approval after we have been in each other’s bathrooms. When my hand goes up to reach that bottle from the supermarket shelf in unison with my fellow shopper – we share a knowing look. That’s because we are part of the unofficial “Thankyou” fan club – and we feel such loyalty to this brand that we wouldn’t consider buying anything else.

In case you somehow haven’t heard of Thankyou – it’s an Australian-born water, body care and baby social enterprise, that gives 100% of its profits to safe water, hygiene and sanitation programs across the globe.

Thankyou does things differently. Its co-founder Daniel Flynn even published a book about the journey (it is well worth a read!). The price? It’s up to you how much you pay!

How “un-normal” is that?

But you know what is even better than Thankyou’s products? When the brand collaborates with local artists.

Today I am super excited to bring you Thankyou’s new limited edition handwash in collaboration with renowned Australian artist and designer Sarah Kelk.

I feel a sense of pride and excitement for Sarah. I still have a print of her work, torn out years ago from a Frankie magazine, sitting in a frame in our apartment. To see Sarah collaborating with a major, household brand is such a coup. I hope she feels proud!

So let’s find out about the story behind this collaboration – “Momentum” – and the cause that it’s all for…

Tell us how this collaboration came about?

When Thankyou got in touch to see if I wanted to be part of their first ever collaboration, of course I jumped at the chance. I’ve been a fan of Thankyou for a long time and love their mission and vision as an organisation. 

From the very first meeting, I had a great feeling, not only about working with the incredible Thankyou team, but also the brief. The fact that this project was about empowering females really resonated with me, so jumping on board and collaborating was a no brainer!

What was it like being approached by such a loved brand as Thankyou?

To be honest, it was incredibly flattering! That fact that they even knew my work was amazing, but that the Thankyou team decided to take a leap of faith and work with myself for their first ever collaboration was very humbling indeed!

Where did you draw inspiration from for the designs for this collection?

For this particular project I was really inspired by the impact that these programs have on female empowerment as well as the multi layered ‘Momentum’ that is created in a community as a results of these collaborations between women.

On a personal level, I was lucky enough to have grown up with some really strong female role models in my family (my sister, mother and grandmothers) and they have always been a huge pillar of inspiration and support to me.

Because of this, I grew up feeling empowered as a female. I sadly know this isn’t the case for every community, especially in remote and developing areas throughout the world.

The layers in which empowerment can deliver momentum to both individuals and communities is huge and I really wanted to work through this in the creation of my artwork.

As each layer makes way for the next and the next, layer upon layer is built up, slowly but surely gaining momentum as the painting unfolds.

Tell us more about the WASH programs?

The programs Thankyou have funded are all about reducing gender related water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) inequities and empowering women to be leaders in implementing and managing WASH programs.

Not only are these programs empowering women, but they are also building their capacity, which has a huge impact on these communities.

The WASH programs are about empowering women to be leaders and change makers – how have you stepped into being a leader and change maker during your career?

I’m not sure if I actually feel like a leader or a change maker.  I do know that I feel very strongly about empowering women.

I am that friend that is relentlessly optimistic, who finds the silver lining in almost any situation and tries to lift others up at every chance I can get.

I love that through this collaboration with Thankyou, my thoughts and ideals on empowerment can continue on a larger scale.

Have you come across any challenges in doing so?

Of course. On both a local and global scale, we have a long way to go to create empowerment at all levels. I feel that it’s my duty as a parent is to help lift up my kids on a daily basis. If this generation of children grow up to become accepting, caring and kind adults in a global community, we are in for some seriously positive game changes.

What’s next for you?

I have some fun projects on the go at the moment, one of which is a very personal project based on my own experiences in female empowerment, so watch this space.

I’m also on the look-out for some fun mural projects (including painting the entire exterior of a house) so if anyone knows of a house in needs of some large scale work, let me know!

A big thank you to Sarah Kelk for sharing her story and Thankyou collaboration with us! Now go shop and support this incredible social enterprise and the WASH programs here!

Talk to me!