Meet Freemantle entrepreneur Sophie Maddrell; an 18-year-old woman with down syndrome and autism who is inspiring others after creating her own microbusiness, Sophie’s Sox.
Sophie developed a taste for action early in life, volunteering with her family for 18 months in the Philippines and acquiring a love of extreme sports in the process.
Mainstream employment, even with support, was going to be a challenge for Sophie. So earlier this year, she launched a small business with the help of her family selling bright patterned socks.
Operating her own business has opened up lots of opportunities that may have been otherwise out-of-reach. As well as funding Sophie's adrenaline-filled lifestyle, her business has helped her connect with the community and feel like she belongs.
Incorporating her passions, Sophie has started making her own line of socks which she has hand-dyed herself. She also loves to paint, so her paintings are used to wrap the socks and decorate the thank you notes sent with each order.
Sophie is able to get as involved in the day-to-day running of the business as she can according to her abilities, sticking the notes to the paintings, putting stickers on them and stapling them to the socks, with the help of family and support workers.
The business has allowed Sophie to prove to herself and others that her disabilities don’t hinder her ability to have fulfilling life and contribute to her community.
In fact, the ever-selfless Sophie donates 10 per cent of the profits from her range of bamboo work socks to the St Patrick's homeless shelter in Fremantle.
With business booming, Sophie and her family are considering employing another person with disabilities to help her. After all, Sophie’s Sox is a team effort and having fun and maintaining a good work life balance is important.