Pay It Forward
Doing good helps new businesses do well
Life / 31 Oct 2011
Along with transparency, social responsibility is one of the most important factors in shaping young consumers’ opinions of corporations and brands. Increasingly, given the state of the economy, Gen Ys are seeking to leverage their consumerism in more benevolent ways. Several new companies have taken note, creating new business models that are as focused on giving back as they are on turning a profit.
Community Collection: Groupon has proven that daily deal sites can drive sales, but perhaps something’s missing, as some shoppers report experiencing post-purchase frustrations, or even guilt, when dealing with them. Enter Community Collection, the first-ever flash sale site to donate 20% from every purchase to a worthy cause. USC graduate Brooks Cook had the idea to pair hip designers such as Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang, LNA, and Alexis Bittar, with charitable organizations like Operation Homefront, Flying Kites, Partners in Health, and World Wildlife Fund. Categorized into ten distinct causes with over 200 brand partners and counting, Community Collection may be redefining the meaning of “retail therapy.”
Cycle House: Cycling studios are emerging across the US, making it hard to differentiate one from another when deciding where to break a sweat. LA’s Cycle House sets its spin class apart by motivating students off the couch and onto a bike with the promise of charitable giving in exchange for cardio exertions. Upon the completion of each 1,000-calorie-burning class, the studio provides two meals for a needy person on behalf of each student. Group fitness crazes may come and go, but donating those fourth meal calories to someone who needs them sounds like a workout plan worth sticking to.
Soul Kitchen: Jon Bon Jovi conceived of his new restaurant after learning about Denver’s So All May Eat (SAME) Café. Not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill soup kitchen, Soul Kitchen is an experimental restaurant with a priceless menu. Patrons have the option of paying what they can or donating their time. Those who can’t afford to pay are encouraged to work in the kitchen, bus tables or wash dishes. Meals are nutritious and locally sourced, and everyone who comes through the door is treated with respect. Soul Kitchen has become so successful that it’s now recognized for providing patrons not just with hearty meals but also with a genuine sense of community.
©The Intelligence Group