Summer 2017
Products with Purpose By Sam Ujvary

Companies that exist for the greater good

Now, more than ever, having the means and the ability to give back to someone in need is something our world really needs. A morale boost, at the very least, it’s an altruistic sentiment that gives us a real purpose in life. Giving back has become more natural for companies, but that’s not to say it should go unnoticed. For these five companies, acknowledgment is far from their war cry, but we need to recognize them as continued trendsetters in the world of giving back.

Nirvanna Designs | Shirley Sanchez, brand and sales manager | www.nirvannadesigns.com

Company Mission: Our company mission is to provide and showcase cold weather hand-knit accessories made by the craftswomen of Nepal who, through working with Nirvanna Designs, are able to both support and care for their families as well as perpetuate their culture’s centuries old craft.

How do your products serve the mission? We only manufacture in Nepal, employing the Nepalese.

Plans for the future: We’d love to get involved in design collaborations with companies, designers or bloggers.

How can retailers get involved? We hope that retailers (purchase and) appreciate the importance of providing the type of products that benefit society.

 

Wonder Duck | Francesca Tenconi, co-founder |www.wonderduckpal.com

Company Mission: To raise money for Camp Wonder, a summer camp for children with chronic and life-threatening skin disease (www.csdf.org) and raise awareness of children’s skin disease.

How do your products serve the mission? Each year, thousands of children in the U.S. suffer from painful, chronic and sometimes life-threatening skin disease such as eczema, psoriasis, epidermolysis bullosa, and ichthyosis, among others. Children with skin disease often feel embarrassed in public, leading to isolation and loneliness, because there’s no hiding their illness. Camp Wonder is a free summer camp for children ages 6-16 with any skin disease. Each year, children from around U.S. with chronic skin disease take a break from being a patient and focus on just being a kid. Camp Wonder is a special place free of judgment and stares! We create an environment of acceptance and support to empower the children to be themselves. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Wonder Duck go to Camp Wonder.

Plans for the future: We want to assure Camp Wonder will always be available to children with skin disease. This summer at camp we will launch a new program called Wonder Wish, which grants wishes to children with skin disease and their families. Families of children with skin disease suffer financially and emotionally.  Wonder Wish will give these courageous families an experience and bring hope to continue to fight. Medical professionals have said these uplifting experiences, like Camp Wonder and Wonder Wish, can impact a child’s physical health.

How can retailers get involved? The more ducks you sell, the more kids you help. By becoming a Wonder Duck retailer, you are helping to give children with skin disease an experience they would never otherwise have and supporting deserving families in need. Additionally, you are helping to increase awareness of skin disease, which is very important to help educate people that skin disease is not contagious and make it easier for children with skin disease to go out in public.

 

 

Ann Page | Virginia Thomas, owner | www.annpage.com

Company Mission: To provide affordable gifts and greeting cards that will brighten someone’s day. We are all about having fun and we realize that what we do is a privilege. There is nothing that makes me more giddy inside than when someone emails/tags/posts about our products and how much they love them.

How do your products serve the mission? We are all things bright colored and fun. And we keep things interesting by releasing three catalogs per year and hundreds of new greeting cards. In 2017, we released four greeting card styles that directly benefit Gift for Life. We were extremely honored to be asked to participate in helping GFL raise money.

Plans for the future: Keep expanding. Continue to be innovative in our product offerings while understanding that the more we sell, the bigger the impact we can have on Gift for Life.

How can retailers get involved? Contact Thomas at virginia@annpage.com.

 

Roses for Autism | Michelle L. Ouimette, managing director | www.rosesforautism.com

Company Mission: To help individuals with autism achieve their dreams of meaningful employment and personal success in their local communities.

How do your products serve the mission? Since 2009, we have helped nearly 100 individuals gain positive work experience in all areas of our business, from the greenhouse to e-commerce. In addition, we teach practical employability skills in order to ensure success in the workplace. We also help foster valuable relationships within the community. Our interns have obtained jobs in industries such as retail, agriculture, technology, restaurant, hospitality, as well as the arts. Many have also returned to school to pursue post-secondary education. The successes of our interns inspire us every day to continue our mission.

Plans for the future: Bring our Ardent Rose perfume to a wider market including regional and national retailers. Proceeds from our flower sales fund scholarships and programs for career training.

How can retailers get involved? Contact us for corporate partnership opportunities (in) philanthropy, volunteerism, corporate flower program, resale of Ardent Rose perfume and employee engagement.

 

Softsie | Natalie Feild, founder | www.softsie.com

Company mission: Our mission is to provide unique, well-designed, high-quality apparel and accessories that comfort and care for the skin of all infants and toddlers, while also bringing ease and style to every family. Our mission of partnering with the Pay if Forward Fertility Foundation is to bring awareness to this amazing foundation and to help couples achieve their dream of starting or growing their family.

How do your products serve the mission? We are achieving this mission by donating a portion of our online sales to this foundation. For every order over $50, a dollar is donated. We hope to increase this in the future as we grow the business. We achieve this mission through our uber-soft, organically infused fabric. Our fabric is made in the USA and is infused with all-natural aloe vera, jojoba oil and vitamin E to help gently nourish, protect and comfort the skin of all little ones. Our colors and prints are stylish and gender neutral. We designed our products to meet all safety standards with qualities such as gripped soles, zipper pull covers and an organic infusion. The fit, stretch, and breathability in the fabric allow for maximum comfort all year round.

Plans for the future: To continue to strongly build our brand and become the go-to pioneer brand for infused children’s wear. We hope to be innovative while sticking to our original mission as much as possible. We hope to lower our costs of manufacturing while still remaining solely in America. If we are able to do this, we will be able to do more wholesale in addition to selling through our website. We currently donate a portion of every sale to a nonprofit fertility foundation and we hope to be able to donate more and more as the business grows. Customer service is of high priority and we hope to always be approachable and accessible to our customers.

My husband and I struggled for over two years to conceive our first child and were fortunate enough to be able to afford the services we needed at the time. It breaks our hearts that millions of couples struggle with infertility and cannot afford these same services. We hope that with the success of Softsie, we can help many couples.

How can retailers get involved? Retailers could donate a portion of their sales to the same Fertility Foundation. Even if something small, every little bit helps.

 

Michelle Blue | Bené Scarves, co-founder and owner | www.benescarves.com

Company Mission: Buy a scarf, educate a girl.

How do your products serve the mission? With the purchase of each scarf, Bené is committed to providing tuition, books, supplies and uniforms for girls in Ghana to continue their secondary education.

Plans for the future: We are excited to continue to work in our local communities to provide educational opportunities to students in the metro Atlanta area and the communities we come from.

How can retailers get involved? To join us in our efforts to educate girls around the world, we would love (for you) to carry our collection in your store. Email info@benescarves.com.

 

Sam Ujvary

Sam is the managing editor of Gift Shop Magazine and assistant editor for its sister publications, Stationery Trends, Museums & More and Party & Paper Retailer. She has a copywriting background and has been in publishing for five years.




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