Welcome to Society B! Creating this marketplace has been quite the venture over the last several months. So how did it all start?
The short version of the story is on the main website. But the long version began back when Kelli and I were in college. We had this idea of someday creating a handbag company that would support charities. Of course, we had no resources to start such a company, and our motivation at the time was simply to get our degrees and jobs that would afford us more than our Ramen noodle lifestyle.
And that’s what we did. I worked in non-profits for several years, started a family, got a job as a corporate writer, and moved around a lot. Kelli moved to Austin after college, traveled with her fabulous friends, and eventually worked in ecommerce for several years.
Meanwhile, the social entrepreneurship movement—think Product(RED), TOMS, and Warby Parker—was launched, and more and more companies started creating goods that actually did, well, good. Some companies recognized the value of people making the products (shocking, right?) and started improving the work and wage conditions of their makers. And some companies were compelled to incorporate philanthropy in their business model, rather than simply donating to organizations for publicity and tax savings.
Fast forward to Christmas 2014, and Kelli and I made our annual pilgrimage to Fayetteville, Arkansas for our family’s holiday shenanigans. Whenever we go, the girls take a day to hit up Fayetteville’s eclectic mix of local shops—especially The Handmade Market and The Mustache shop. In those stores, we noticed several great social brands that we hadn’t heard of before—Hand in Hand Soaps, HALF UNITED, and Krochet Kids intl.
And then it hit us: wouldn’t it be great if there were an online marketplace of more of these social companies? It would make it so much easier for people to do good while they shopped for things they buy anyway. And it would help customers connect with social brands and help those brands thrive, rather than struggle like most start-ups do. Also, a central marketplace for all of these goods would save these mindful shoppers tons in shipping charges!
There was just one problem: our goal was still to connect charities to commerce. How could we start a marketplace full of products that do good without giving back and doing some good ourselves? So we decided to put our money where our hearts were and added charities to our business model.
We would connect people to good companies and great causes by blending the two sectors on one website. And so we did. We toiled over our laptops nearly every night and weekend for the past several months (because we have day jobs) to create a marketplace for good. The result is Society B.
Each week, we’ll feature a brand that gives back to charity and/or creates fair trade goods by providing fair wages and good working conditions for makers. We believe people should know where their products come from, so SocietyB.com will also share the story of each brand.
And each week, we will shine a spotlight on a reputable non-profit that is doing great work to benefit society. And to be transparent, we will donate 10% of all sales (not just proceeds) each week to each featured charity.
We hope you like what you see. In fact, we hope you like it so much that you decide to support these brands and charities and tell your friends about them. And we hope you’ll stop back often to read stories about people doing great things to make this world a better place.
- Lindsay Byers