Nichole Woolhouse is co-founder of Box of Hope, a charity that collects gifts for underprivileged children in Asia donated by Hong Kong school children and local organisations. Nicole founded the charity in 2008 with Harriet Cleverly to show children how they can make a difference to the community by gifting educational and fun presents to children in need throughout Asia. Box of Hope makes it easy for parents and children to participate in their cause by filling up shoe boxes with interesting and educational gifts at home and donating them to Box of Hope who handles the distribution of gifts.
We talk to Nichole about her work with Box of Hope.
What are you up to at the moment?
We have just finished collecting and sorting boxes for this year and were thrilled to collect over 24,000 shoeboxes full of gorgeous gifts for children in need in Asia from Hong Kong school children and corporates. We are now busy tracking all our deliveries to ensure that they arrive with all the children. In Hong Kong the boxes have already been delivered to the charities that care for under-privileged children here and other boxes are on their way to the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
How has Box of Hope developed over the years?
When we started, it was myself and a friend and we ran the collection from our houses. 9 years later, I now have a team of 10 people working out of our office space which is donated by Allen & Overy and HK Land. In our first year we collected 1,200 boxes now we collect over 24,000.
Have you always wanted to run a charity?
When I was growing up my father always did a lot of work in the community so I was very influenced by that. I am also lucky to have a very supportive husband.
Typical working day like for you
Box of Hope is run entirely by a wonderful group of volunteers, so everyone who works for me is also very busy running other businesses or their homes. For myself, my day can involve anything from talking to our charities in Vietnam or Cambodia, designing promotional material, presenting Box of Hope at an assembly in a Hong Kong school or working our on website. That is the joy of my job no day is the same.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
First and foremost my family is my greatest achievement, I have a wonderful husband and three gorgeous children who make me proud everyday. Their support with Box of Hope has made it all possible and I love watching them all get involved.
What is the high point and low point of your career?
The high points of running a charity like ours is watching the recipients of the boxes open their boxes. It is truly humbling to watch a small child who has never had a teddy bear or pack of pens open a Box of Hope. The smile creeps across their faces and they light up the room. We all take so much for granted everyday, our homes, education, healthcare but life is not so easy for millions of families. We feel a Box of Hope not only brings joy to another child but also hope and encouragement for a better future. It is also wonderful to see children here learn that they can help in their own community and make a difference. Every year I get asked by children who have packed a box of hope asking me ‘when is Box of Hope” happening again? It is amazing that we are encouraging them from such a young age to be socially aware.
What is your beauty regime?
I would like to say extensive but sadly not! I do cleanse and tone twice a day and use a good moisturiser with a SPF. Living in Hong Kong I do think it is important to protect our skin against the UV rays. My daughter has a much better skincare routine than me and is always doing face packs and scrubs.
How do you relax from work?
My husband and I love hiking with our dog, so we can often be found up the Twins or Violet Hill at the weekends, it is a great time to catch up on the week and reconnect.
Top 3 cities in the world
- London: it’s home and I love the variety and buzz you get there. Plus the shopping of course!
- Sydney: we lived in Sydney for 2 years and it is one of the most beautiful cities to live in. You are constantly surrounded by amazing views and the food is just outstanding.
- Paris: when we lived in London my husband and I would try to escape for a romantic weekend away every so often and it would always be to Paris, so I have very happy memories there. I love Paris because you can walk everywhere and you are always stumbling across wonderful little boutiques tucked away in the side streets. I like Paris fashion, the French have a very distinct look, cool, simple and understated which I love.
Top 5 favourite pieces in your wardrobe
- Majestic light weight black jacket which I love because it is very casual but has a silver woven lapel which just gives it that edge.
- A pair of very old white Zara tailored wide trousers. They are timeless and so well cut that they are still my go to smart/casual outfit.
- Vince grey and white draped cardigan, I bought this new this season and it is so cozy with a slightly Christmassy feel.
- Club Monaco sequin skirt, again this just makes me feel very festive at this time of year.
- Zadig & Voltiare grey leather biker jacket, I have had this for 5 years and love it. You can wear it with jeans or a dress, it literally works with everything.