Doing Business for the Greater Good
These days, more and more companies are putting the focus on a cause. Whether it’s producing goods responsibly or giving back on every single sale, these retailers are changing the way they do business. From footwear and bags to books and home décor, check out a few products and companies you can feel good about.
The Little Market
This online marketplace, co-founded by Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvalra, is bursting with ethically sourced items that have been handmade by artisans around the globe. But let’s be real – “ethically sourced” and “artisans” are the buzzwords du jour. Here’s what makes The Little Market different. The Conrad-Skvalra design duo works closely with artisan groups that have limited access to markets thanks to geography, small-scale production and lack of technical support. The idea is to build sustainable partnerships with these artisans, particularly women, to empower them to rise above poverty and support their families while helping them preserve their traditional techniques and skills. The Little Market works with fair trade non-profit Global Goods Partners to identify potential artisan groups that meet its values and standards for trade, wages and workplaces.
Sounds good, right? It’s an admirable mission, and the product selection is just as impressive. Accessories like bracelets, journals, mittens and beanies, scarves, wallets and tech cases, beautiful one-of-a-kind market baskets, household and kitchen items likes trays, candles, soaps, bowls, servingware and much, much more comes from artists spanning the globe. You’ll find items from Bolivia, Ghana, India, Peru, Nepal, Tunisia, Guatemala, Mexico, Senegal, Ethiopia and even right here in the U.S. Descriptions of each group of artisans can be found on The Little Market’s website at www.thelittlemarket.com.
Better World Books
This online bookseller is no slouch – take your pick from its inventory of over eight million new and used titles, and then take pleasure in the fact that every book you buy helps to fund literacy projects around the globe. Better World Books commits to matching every purchase on its website with a book donation to someone in need – it’s called “Book for Book™.”
The company doesn’t just carry new titles. It supports book drives and works with over 2,300 college campuses and partnerships to collect used books and textbooks, converting them into more than $15 million in funding for literacy and education and keeping more than 73,000 tons of books out of landfills. Another environmental consideration? You’ll enjoy free shipping on every book you buy, but every order shipped from its Indiana location comes carbon balanced with Green-e Climate certified offsets. Better World Books has also donated over ten million books to programs around the world.
The company is clear on its social and environmental mission, and its customers are the key to continuing that work. That’s why you can expect great prices on a wide selection of titles, all backed up by great customer service. It’s the little things, right? Hop on over to www.betterworldbooks.com and stock up on your summer reads.
No article about companies with a cause would be complete with mentioning TOMS. The original “one for one” company, TOMS began when founder Blake Mycoskie created TOMS Shoes after a trip to Argentina. He saw far too many children growing up without shoes – and an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some of them. The company launched with a mission – for every pair of shoes sold, TOMS would give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. And so far, more than 35 million pairs of shoes have been given in over 70 countries. The shoes are given through humanitarian organizations that incorporate shoes into community development programs.
The TOMS business model has launched other ventures, including an eyewear line, a coffee roasting company and a bag collection. Buying sunglasses from TOMS helps the company give the gift of sight – to over 275,000 people in 13 countries so far – by providing prescription glasses, medical treatments and even sigh-saving surgery. A TOMS glasses purchase also supports sustainable community-based eye care programs that create professional employment opportunities.
Buying a bag? You’re helping TOMS and its Giving Partners supply training for skilled birth attendants as well as the distribution of birth kits. How about coffee? With every purchase, TOMS will work with its Giving Partners to provide 140 liters – that’s a full-week supply – of safe, potable water to someone in need.
TOMS offers shoes for men, women and children that are comfy, chic and affordable. The coffee beans are sourced from regions around the world and roasted in the U.S. to exacting – and delicious – standards. TOMS eyewear line is vintage-chic and classic, and its Bag Collection is inspired by textiles and techniques from varying parts of the world with a fashion-forward design that blends function, utility and easy style. Visit www.toms.com to shop and even better, to make a difference in the life of someone who really needs it.
Cole and Parker
“At first glance, we make socks.” This is the first line in Canada-based Cole and Parker’s About Us. As you read on, you realize that they’re doing so much more than manufacturing bold, creative, intentionally designed, premium quality footwear for men. Named for pioneering jazz legends John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, Cole and Parker was started by Jeff and Diana. Inspired by their own journey through the business world, they set out to support aspiring entrepreneurs locally in North America and all around the world. Their “1 for Many” business model uses sales proceeds as loans to fund entrepreneurs in developing countries. Once a loan is paid back, they lend those funds to another entrepreneur, creating a revolving loan effect. And with a repayment rate of 99%, it’s proving to be a concept that’s as sustainable as it is admirable.
While socks may not be the first to spring to mind when contemplating men’s fashion, upping your #sockgame will add a dash of trendy sophistication to any dapper man’s outfit. Shop the collection and join the movement at http://coleandparker.co.
“We’re more than just a planner company—we’re a group of goal getters making a change in the world.” Passion Planner is perfect for bullet journaling, and for each planner purchased, the company donates one to a school, individual or organization in need. So far, they’ve donated over 150,000 planners worldwide to the American Red Cross, Make a Wish foundation and more.
To read about more brands that support charities, CLICK HERE.