Cullen Schwarz, Cofounder of DoneGood
A revolution is underway. It’s been bubbling up for years. It’s not a political revolution (although, given the numbers and passion of people out for recent women’s marches and airport protests, maybe we’re on the verge of one of those too!). The insurgents I’m talking about are operating at retail stores, consignment shops, farmers’ markets, and shopping at their computers while their bosses think they’re working. THR3EFOLD is in on it. You might be too.
This is an economic revolution. More people are realizing that we are in total control of the demand side of the supply-and-demand equation. The more consumers demand products made in ways that are good for people and the planet, the more the market will supply those things, and the better the world will get.
As one of the founders of DoneGood, THR3EFOLD asked me if I’d write a piece about our thoughts on this growing conscious consumer movement, and why and how we’re trying to support it.
The Problem: Where on Earth Do I Shop?
When I was in college, I was in the national leadership of an organization called United Students Against Sweatshops. We worked with universities to establish a code of conduct in their apparel contracts to ensure that the companies making the universities’ clothing were not operating in sweatshop conditions. Years later, I was telling my friend Scott how hard it was to find clothes I knew weren’t made with child labor or someone earning a poverty wage. Scott complained his favorite sandwich shop used plastic containers even for people dining in and didn’t even recycle, so he had to stop going there. We talked about how we wished there was something that made it easier to make sure the money we were spending was supporting things we believed in.
We finally decided we ought to build that thing. We quit our jobs and started DoneGood along with an incredibly talented team.
Before DoneGood, Scott and I worked in politics and for NGOs in Washington, D.C. But we’ve come to believe that purchasing power has the potential to become THE most potent force for social change in the world. Voting is important, but we vote for a president every four years—we vote with our wallets every time we buy anything. Giving to charity is important, but most people spend way more money buying stuff every year than they give away. Imagine if we can align systems so that the money we spend can decrease economic inequality, lift people out of poverty, and fight climate change.
When we talk about this, people get it, and agree. But people tell us the biggest barrier to entry is the amount of time it takes for them to find ethical brands they like. We thought, researched, talked with a ton of potential users, and experimented a lot to try to figure out how to make it as absolutely easy as possible for people to find brands that were making great stuff and making the world better.
The Solution: DoneGood
All of this led us to build the DoneGood Chrome extension.
1 | You install the extension on your internet browser one time, then just shop online like you normally would: search on Amazon or Google or visit big name company websites.
2 | When a DoneGood-approved, mission-driven brand has the kind of product you’re looking for, the extension shows you the company in a little box in the corner of your screen and gives you the option to visit the DoneGood-approved company’s website instead (watch the browser extension in action).
3 | Be really, really ridiculously good looking while changing the world
We also developed the companion DoneGood app where you can enter a product you’re looking for, select values that are important to you (“green”, “supports workers”, “woman-owned”, “vegan”, etc) and the app shows you businesses doing good on the issues you care about.
Bonus: Get Some Shopping Karma
DoneGood companies also provide exclusive discounts through the extension and app to help grow the movement.
The business-as-a-force-for-good revolution is already underway. Our hope is that by making it easy—really, really ridiculously easy—for people to find incredible businesses making the world better, the more often they’ll be able to be a part of the movement, and the stronger it can become.
Download the DoneGood extension and start making it easier to shop consciously today. And if you’re looking for more great tips for being a conscious consumer, subscribe to THR3EFOLD’s weekly emails.