User Story: Applying Ethics Into The Fashion Industry with Despina Karlsson and Piktochart

“Piktochart was so useful because even though I have the skill set to use Adobe to create designs sometimes I just need to take a short cut. Piktochart is a great shortcut for me in terms of communicating a concept or an idea quickly and effectively and that’s ultimately what I need to be able to do.”

Sometimes change needs to be made. The fashion industry is one of those places in which “business as usual” is dark and we are lucky enough to have people in this world so desperate to make that change happen.

A few weeks ago we had the amazing opportunity to talk to the tireless Despina Karlsson, and her plans to make the world a better place.


Dez is an activist with a passion for social justice, ethical consumerism and a background in investigating supply chains in the fashion industry. But above all, she is relentless: she has endured so much in her quest for a positive change in our society: “For the first 15 years of my working life, I dedicated all of my passion to pursuing one positive social or environmental impact at a time. What I’ve learnt is that our time on this planet is short, and the impact we want to create, huge.

What is Dez’s Story?

Last year she was working for an organisation that supports disadvantaged, disenfranchised young people in re-engaging in their education. The name:, located on the Central Coast of NSW, about an hour north of Sydney.

With her relentless nature, she managed to convince her own CEO to lead a bid to secure a highly competitive spot in a social enterprise business development program called ‘The Crunch’. was sponsored by Westpac for one of sixteen places in the annual program which provides professional business development to people like Dez – Experts in social impact but not in business.

They pitched an idea called ‘Uplift Digital’ – basically a digital agency situated within a school for troubled teens. The goal: to provide these young people with an environment that sparks their curiosity about technology and helps them build a bridge into careers in the digital economy. Drafting the business plan was going to be a big job that required a lot of infographics and charts.  “So I googled, searching for a graphics program and found Piktochart.  It was so quick to learn, I was relieved.”

All the infographics for the official Uplift Digital Business Plan were created in Piktochart and given to prospective investors and philanthropic funds. “Can I just say -bless Piktochart. At 2am in the morning I was pushing a deadline and I just couldn’t handle the idea of using InDesign or Illustrator to create all the infographics. My brain wasn’t up to it. It was a Sunday night at the tail end of a 100 hour week.

Everyone loved the final business plan. The pitch took place in August in Melbourne in front of social impact investors and philanthropic organisations and they were approached to apply for funds by four separate organisations.

Enter: The challenge

Everything was going according to plan until September arrived. Devastating funding cuts to the organisation’s core operating budget were made by Government and Uplift Digital had to be shelved.

She had the opportunity to move on with her life and start over, “I suppose I should have gone and gotten another job immediately. But I just couldn’t.” For her, the potential of social enterprise to change the world was everything.

The After Fight

Dez has started her own digital agency – Impact Nation – to help build social media followings for ethical businesses, social enterprises and those businesses looking for ways to incorporate social or environmental responsibility into their business plan. “When it comes to making real change happen, business is king. My digital agency is only for those businesses that walk the walk, the ones changing their industries for the better.”

She is also one of the founders of another project called Raw To Store that has to do with the fashion industry, and to be more specific, with the Ethical Fashion Industry.

The idea of Raw to Store – a 12 month project with ethical fashionista Catherine Taouk – is to bring a level of consciousness to the leadership of fashion businesses in Australia. “We’ve been blogging and writing; profiling the different social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. I’ve used Piktochart to make graphics on my blog about Raw to Store, we’ve done our 1st blog post and our first national media piece in the Australian Financial Review.“

How Despina Karlsson uses Piktochart

“When you are an activist, you need to be able to talk emotively to many people at the same time. Making that meaningful connection through communication is the hardest part, and the most rewarding.” She uses Piktochart to create that meaningful connection, for that we here at Piktochart are thankful: to know that great things are being done with our services  and lending a hand in the process, well that’s just amazing.

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