At my sustainable fashion e-commerce site Modavanti.com, we give 2% of each sale we do to one of our two amazing impact partners Nest and Charity Water. While we haven't made such a profound impact with our measly money raised to date, our goal is to be able to make a lasting difference for others as we grow.
This video is obviously not ours. We wish we had made it. But I felt compelled to share it because it shows the power of one simple good deed and the difference it can make.
We give back 2% because we believe that it is important for us to use business to create a strong social impact and help those in need. We believe it is our duty to pay it forward for others not just because so many have done so for us in supporting Modavanti but because it’s the right thing to do. We believe business should be about empowering others and saving our environment as well as making profit.
Our generation in particular talks so much about living a sustainable lifestyle. Eating sustainably sourced foods because they are better for our health. Buying sustainably to help preserve our environment. But what’s more sustainable than giving back and empowering others to improve their lives and fulfill their dreams?
During the campaign President Obama, bungled a line when he said “you didn’t build that” when speaking to entrepreneurs about their businesses. It was stupidly phrased. But the underlying message is that no matter how big or small, we’ve all received a helping hand, had someone believe in our potential or pick us up when we were down both in life and in business. I can’t tell you how many times Modavanti has been saved by others' volunteering, investing in us, providing a creative spark or simple kindness in our year-and-a-half. So for us, the opportunity to save a weaver’s dreams in India or even a small kid’s life in Ethiopia by providing fresh water is incredibly powerful and motivating.
We aren't alone. There are over 1,100 businesses that have pledged 1% of their profits for the planet (and that is only a tiny fraction of businesses who do good in their communities). But we need to do more. Income inequality is at a record high and jeopardizing all of our futures. Illiteracy, poverty and disease are still far too prevalent. NGOs are doing what they can, but they need the business world to join the fight. And the best weapon is entrepreneurial millennials who are creative and concerned. Who see opportunity to make a difference and pay it forward.
At Modavanti we are doing it through clothing. The textile industry is the world’s second largest industry and behind all the glitz and glamour one of it’s most exploitative, both in terms of the environment and labor rights. We have the opportunity to make a difference.
We hope you will join us and help make your own difference, however small, and pay it forward. You could change someone's life.
*Nest is an organization that works around the world, to empower women artisans in developing countries. Modavanti is supporting Nest in a small way to build a groundbreaking weaving facility in Varanasi India that will bring Hindu and Muslim weavers together for the first time.
*Charity Water is a New York based NGO with the mission of bringing clean water to every village that needs it. Modavanti is supporting Charity Water in an effort to fund and build a well in a rural village in Ethiopia.