We're in the season of giving, so we’ve highlighted a few companies that have giving back rooted in their brand ethos. Here, we share the stories of fashion brands that are on a mission to help others.
You might recognize Pura Vida's beautiful string bracelets stacked up on someone's wrist, but Pura Vida is more than just an accessories company. The company prides itself on the 800 artisans they support through product creation as well as the numerous charities they partner with through special collaborations.
Pura Vida's charity coordinator Kristy Ryan explains: "Giving back has been a fundamental part of Pura Vida Bracelets since the company was founded in 2010. Our co-founders, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman took a college graduation trip to Costa Rica, where they met two artisans, Jorge and Joaquin, who were selling colorful string bracelets, but struggling to get by on their low artisan wages. Paul and Griffin offered to buy 400 bracelets to bring home, at first, but the bracelets were such a success, that they kept buying more and more.
"In addition to providing a steady income to our artisan communities, we also give back through our Charity Bracelet Collection. We wanted to make a difference locally, as well as internationally, by supporting causes that are important to us and our customers. We have since partnered with over 175 different charities and donated over $2 million to a wide range of causes! We add new partnerships and styles throughout the year and are always making an effort to support the causes that our customers request. In addition to the money donated through our charity bracelet sales, we also do a lot of volunteering in our local community and support countless charitable events through in-kind donations." For more information, go to https://www.puravidabracelets.com/collections/charity.
Buckle & Seam
The founders of Buckle & Seam, a men’s business and travel bag company, have a goal of sending 10,000 kids to school by 2023. And that’s why 3% of Buckle & Seam’s gross revenue is donated to the “One Bag-One Child” program helping children in Pakistan attend the Anum School. Marco Feelish, Buckle & Seams co-founder says that he and his partner were inspired by their moms. “The Anum School means hope,” he explains. “We want to send 10,000 kids to school as our business grows.”
As further explained on the brand’s website: “Anum School was founded 30 years ago thanks to a brave woman who decided to install a medical camp in a neighborhood where women did not have access to healthcare. She quickly realized the women never received an education and decided to transform the camp into a school. She had to fight for years to legitimize the need for girls’ education and her little school. Today, Anum school receives more than 120 students per year.”
Feelish adds that Buckle & Seam also has a program where people can donate without even buying a bag. For more information, go to https://buckleandseam.com/
We chatted with WorldFinds founder, Kelly Weinberger as she was completing an artisan visit in India. When asked about her company's give-back program, Weinberger says, "So, first and foremost WorldFinds is an ethical fashion brand that empowers women through fair trade. Our products create dignified jobs for women in vulnerable communities in India to help break the cycle of poverty. We're proud to have been doing this since 2001! Because there are so many organizations out there doing so much good, we thought we'd create a special collection to donate 15% to those amazing causes. So this collection actually does good on multiple levels as it's fair trade made + a donation to a non-profit. And it makes such a great gift! Our Cause Collection launched in April of 2019."
The Cause Collection bracelets retail for $24, and a portion of those proceeds help support 8 non-profit organizations including: The Ocean Conservancy, In Her Shoes Foundation, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, The Hope Foundation, Heifer International, The Animal Care League, The Wounded Warrior Project, Sponsors the education of 20 children annually at Tara Projects' Bawana Community in India. To learn more, go to www.worldfinds.com.
Pajamas For Peace
Chandinie Francis launched Pajamas for Peace, an eco-friendly childrenswear collection in June 2019. "It started as a service project with my own kids, and then their classrooms, to teach and promote kindness after Sandy Hook," she explains. "I wanted to show my children that they can be agents of change--and that their actions can make a difference and help uplift others."
The brand's mission is to "promote peace and kindness and bring comfort to children and families in need." And they do that through their buy-one, give-one program: for every pajama sold, the company donates a set of pajamas to those in need. They work with a homeless shelter, Haven House/Bridges in Long Island and a domestic violence shelter, Human Options in Southern California. Pajamas for Peace retail from $25 to $84 and are sold on www.pajamasforpeace.com.
Hat Attack is a hat and accessories company founded in 1981 by husband and wife team BJ and Bill Gedney. They pride themselves on being a family-owned business (they're daughter Cooper McManus is the brand's design director) who treats employees like members of their family too. The Hat Attack factory is an 11,000 sq. ft. facility located in the Bronx. Their longtime factory workers all live in the Bronx, so they felt it was important to support a local organization. "We wanted something that is a special fit, unique to Hat Attack. Doing something for the Bronx community was an easy decision," explains McManus. "This fall, we are excited to announce that for every cold-weather purchase made on our site, we'll donate a winter item to The HOPE Program, a local non-profit who empowers New Yorkers to build sustainable futures through comprehensive training, jobs, advancement, and life long career support. As our Bronx neighbors, we are happy to give back to our community by donating to this amazing cause." For more information on The HOPE Program, go to https://www.thehopeprogram.org/ and Hat Attack: https://hatattack.com/.
Good Work(s) Make a Difference
Sometimes things happen when you least expect them. At least that's what happened to Helena Cho, founder and CEO of Good Work(s) Make a Difference. She recalls, "I was a very successful young businesswoman and in my early 30's I went completely bankrupt. I was broken in all areas. Then in my complete brokenness, I encountered God. I found a higher calling for my life. I wanted to live a different life that gives people hope and dream in their lives. With that vision and purpose, I created a company called Good Work(s) Make a Difference." Cho launched the brand with leather wrap-around bracelets that have inspirational words and phrases on them, and now the collection is comprised of other categories of inspirational jewelry and accessories. "People get encouraged when they hear positive words all the time, and the best way to hear it is to wear it where you can see it constantly." The company donates 25% of net proceeds to charitable organizations like Dream Center, Children Miracle Hospital Network, LA's Best, A Place Called Home, and more. https://goodworksmakeadifference.com/
Blue Planet Eyewear
David Weinstein launched Blue Gem Eyewear in 1982. Around 2006 he and his wife wanted to do something that would create less impact on the environment. That’s when they researched how to create eyewear from excess materials and Blue Planet Eyewear was born. They launched the first collection of eco-eyewear in 2009 using up to 70% of the excess materials from the parent company, Blue Gem.
Years later, David asked his son Matt to take over the Blue Planet business, and feeling empowered by the task, Matt knew he wanted to do even more. He was inspired by Blake Mycoskie’s "One for One" program at TOMS and wanted to implement something similar. That’s when he and his wife Lisa launched the Visualize Change Program.
Matt explains, “With every purchase, we donate a pair of corrective glasses to a person in need. We are proud to announce that we have helped restore sight to over 1,000,000 people. Our glasses have always been made with up to 70% recycled materials by reusing the excess plastic and metals from production. Keeping 1,000’s of pounds of materials from going into our landfills and oceans.
“Our newest giveback venture is going to start in 2020, we will be planting a tree for every pair sold. The trees planted will provide food, crops to sell, animal feed, wood for fuel and of course help restore the soil and reduce the world's carbon footprint. Blue Planet Eco-Eyewear’s core mission is to help the planet and the people on it through our Visualize Change Program.”
Now Blue Planet Eyewear is sold in stores like Whole Foods, Lulu’s Boutiques and Soft Surroundings, retailing from $35 to 65. Blue Planet has a truly inspiring story and is on a mission to, as Matt says, “Be kind to the planet and the people on it.” To learn more, go to https://blueplaneteyewear.com/
Want more inspiration? Here are some additional brands on a mission to give back and help others!
1302 Watch Co., 1502 Candle Co., Bitchstix, Ciao Milano, DIFF, Doap Baq, Espiritu, Etica Denim, Finley Shirt, Grethchen Scott, Hathorway, Ivy, Joyn, Lokai, Mata Traders, Michael Stars, Project Social T, Socksmith