February can be a particularly bleak month as winter hangs on and spring seems a way off yet. So we wanted to pull together some inspiring business stories to provide a much needed blast of warmth and optimism.
Here at Work for Good, we believe that business can be a powerful force for good in the world. There are so many great examples of businesses who have giving as part of their DNA. They are committed to doing good in the world — and equally committed to growing a successful businesses. Giving isn’t seen as a nice-to-do sideline, it’s integral to their brand and business purpose.
Here’s our top five picks:
Blake Mycoskie was inspired to start Toms after a trip to Argentina made him realise there were still many children whose families were too poor to afford shoes. He started out with 250 pairs of espadrilles in 2006. The combination of great product design and a compelling mission proved massively successful. Just seven years later, his business was valued at around $625m. They’ve given away more than 60 million pairs of shoes.
“Toms doesn’t have any ad spend. A big portion of our spend goes on giving. But by giving, we build a community and people recommend through word of mouth and on social media,” says Mycoskie.
These guys have been phenomenally successful in disrupting the beer market and take craft beer to the mainstream. Their brand is bold and anarchic, but underneath lies a fundamental commitment to giving back. Last summer they announced a pledge to give back 20% of their profits — 10% to Brewdog employees and 10% to charities chosen by their staff and their 57,000 equity punk investors.
“At BrewDog, we care about two things above all else; our beer and our people. We want to make the best beers on the planet, we want to be the best company to work for, and we want to build a radically new type of business that we can all be proud of.” As Co-founder James Watts puts it, “it’s not about altruism, it’s about impact”.
3. John’s Crazy Socks
The story of this quirky business had the Work for Good team smiling for days, proving the success of their mission to provide “happiness through socks”.
The business was started by John Cronin and his father Mark. The business was inspired by John’s love of crazy socks’ and his father’s desire to help him build a place in a world in which many with Down’s Syndrome are excluded. In a little over a year, they have shipped more than 42,000 orders and brought in $1.7 million in revenue. For every sock sold, they donate 5% to the Special Olympics. It’s a great example of a successful start-up business which provides hope, inspiration and gives back.
4. Life is Good Inc
Brothers Bert and John Jacobs started out selling t-shirts from a van in their hometown in Boston. Business was slow until they hit apon an iconic design and slogan “Life is Good”. They now sell their t-shirts through retail outlets worldwide. Doing good is at the heart of what they do — with 10 percet of profits going to support children in need. By giving back, they receive a loyal and passionate customer base. This benefits their bottom line, as well as society.
We couldn’t complete this list without highlighting one of our own member businesses. All our Work for Good member businesses are our heroes — pioneers in making giving part of how they do business. Kaihoko, a sales and business consultancy is one great example.
Managing Director, Laura Hannan, was one of the first businesses to sign up to our platform. She made a pledge to donate 5% of consultancy fees to charities that her client’s choose. The clients love it as they get to make an impact simply by working with Kaihoko. In return, Kaihoko are able to deepen relationships with clients and achieve greater loyalty. You can watch Laura’s story in this short video below.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our list — if we’ve missed out one of your favourites — let us know! Small or large, start-up or mature business, there is always scope for giving back to energise your business and your brand, to inspire your people and deepen customer relationships. If you’d like to hear more about how you could work for good, please get in touch.