Chuck Dickens: a good egg

View original article here

Author: Josh O’Meara

The master plan: 1 egg + friends + $1 million for charity.

1egg1world is a unique fundraising initiative with the goal of raising $1million for charity through ‘trading-up.’ Starting with just an egg after just 10 trades 1egg1world is well on its way, recently acquiring a Craig Ruddy portrait of Cathy Freeman.

The latest campaign ‘Get Virgin Laid’ is aimed at getting the attention of Richard Branson, with the intentions to negotiate a trade for flights to space on his new Virgin Galactic Venture.

I met my 1egg1world collaborators Cj and Finchy at university, studying Architecture at Deakin in Geelong. Cj and I basically became best mates the first time we ever met and become housemates in second year. My first impressions of Finchy on the other hand, was that he was a bit of a clown and although he’s certainly grown on me, the years since have only confirmed my initial suspicions. The next semester Finchy joined the house, and if nothing else, Finchy certainly knew how to throw a party and provided us with many good times, and so, the dynamic trio was born.

Cj and I were always interested in the world’s bigger issues and would often discuss these for hours into the night. We were both quite frustrated by university as we both worked tirelessly on fictional projects whilst the world and all its problems screamed for designers. We often felt that we were wasting our time and we both considered alternative careers at different times.

In the house I went through a phase experimenting with a few different things to minimise our environmental footprint including a vegetable patch, eco-friendly light bulbs and a compost heap.

But the experimentations only reached it’s climax when Finchy and I decided that it would be a brilliant idea to get some pet chickens; life was never the same again. Much to the dismay of our landlords (Cj’s parents) the three chickens and a duck (blame Finchy) roamed our backyard, running riot.

Living in a prime real-estate haven overlooking a six-lane-wide railway, we joked about what bogans everyone must think we were. In the morning we would often walk outside our double brick, Greek mansion on to the verandah in our boxer-shorts and laugh and wave as the trains went by, just to embrace our breathtaking surrounds and to play up sense of bogan-hood.

We made a habit of waving to trains as they passed by; such was their inescapable presence in our living room. Our chooks also took a particular shine to the trains and so we named them after various train paraphernalia. We created a Facebook profile for the chooks and before we knew it to our great amazement they friends amounted well over 1,000!

One late night at university Cj and I were sitting around and started discussing a few ideas that we had for charity. Cj revealed an idea, which was enormously ambitious and totally unrealistic. So we started brainstorming a number of ideas to find something that would be more manageable whilst at university.

We had identified that the ‘trading up’ concept is a stroke of genius and decided that that was the way forward. We had heard about One Red Paperclip and knew that to capture the public imagination we would have to up the stakes and aim bigger.

How about $1million… we laughed and then we both said ok. But what to start with?

Coincidentally the chooks had recently laid their first egg ‘Chuck Dickens’ (there was some confusion about who laid it – the duck or the chickens) and with 1,000 friends, graphics, profiles and their own stories already prepared, it was obvious that it had to start with the egg and the chooks.

In that first night with unwavering energy and excitement we created the logo, the blog and re-aligned the Facebook profile to tell the story. It was clear that 1egg wasn’t going to take a backward step and at least on a personal level I have never doubted the project for a minute.

The trading got off to a flying start, using Facebook to optimum advantage and the chooks gaining a rapid following amongst our friends and loyal fans. The values of the items were growing rapidly and although originally skeptical of the 1egg1world concept, Finchy began to realise that we were on to a good thing. Having some skills with web designing, Finchy volunteered to build us a website and was part of the team forever after.

Despite early progress, we discovered that it wasn’t as easy going as we first anticipated. We initially thought that people would come to us with trade offers and although they did, these tended to not be up-trades. We had to start identifying potential tradees and approach them, often with great persistence.

At the end of third year Finchy and Cj had the year off to travel and with me swamped with uni the progress dried up. The signed Sir Donald Bradman bat which was a significant leap in our trading progress turned out to be a difficult item to find an interested person to trade with as it was a relatively niche item. We eventually decided to trade the bat for money opening up our potential market.

Whilst $2200 was not a significant amount of money, we knew that it would be in a developing country. Cj having just come home from Kenya could appreciate that first-hand and knew exactly where it would be best spent. Cj met a Kenyan Tour Guide who had only recently started his own business. We convinced him that this would be a great business opportunity and in return he provided us with a trip of a lifetime.

We had recently joined a social networking website called PlanBig where we put up our plans and asked for advice and help. To our amazement one of the people following our plan had a close connection with a successful Flight Agent and was able to convince them to donate flights to Africa to create a complete Safari package.

We then deliberated on who would be best to go on the safari and eventually decided that a commissioned artist would be perfect. After a bit of research it became clear that Craig Ruddy was the obvious choice. We sent him an email saying we had a proposal for him and to our amazement he researched 1egg1world and got back to us with a yes before we’d even asked!

Now for a subject…which wasn’t to be so easy. Following significant persistence we managed to convince our number one choice: Cathy Freeman to sit for the painting. To unveil the painting and show our appreciation for Cathy’s involvement we organised an art auction, with the money raised to go to the Cathy Freeman Foundation. We raised over $25,000 on the night and it was a magnificent evening.

We have had a number of offers for the painting, including $20,000, a Toyota Yaris and a jet ski among others, but they all remain quite short of our expectations. As a niche item, similar to the Bradman bat, it is quite likely that the masterpiece will go to auction to open the market. The painting is currently on viewing at the Gallery of NSW for the Archibald Prize and has been requested to continue the Archibald tour making it’s way to the spectacular TarraWarra Museum in Healseville.

Along the way we’ve had some great fun and met some amazing people. We’ve been on the Morning Show, The Circle and 7 News as well being named in the top 100 most influential/interesting Melbournians, which have all been huge highlights.

We have recently launched a campaign to get Richard Branson’s attention in the hope of negotiating a future trade for flights to space on his Virgin Galactic Venture. It’s titled ‘Get Virgin Laid’ and we’re having a heap of fun with it, but need people to join the campaign and spread the word.

But we’ve got even bigger plans for the future!

So stay tuned. Join us on Facebook or Twitter and make sure you don’t miss your chance to see one of the contemporary masterpieces, whilst on show in Sydney and Melbourne.