Photo: Photo provided by Krochet Kids International
People say you pay a price for beauty. Some companies make it possible to pay that price and help others at the same time. These for-profit companies integrate nonprofit ideals into their missions. Lipsticks translate into medicine, glasses give motivation to others, crocheted accessories create jobs and whistles spark conversation.
Consider shopping with companies like MAC Cosmetics, Warby Parker, Krochet Kids International and Falling Whistles. You can make stylish purchases that make you look good, but also do good for the world.
We ask people to become whistle-blowers for peace [in the Congo]; the whistle necklace is a great way to start a conversation
- Jen Jones, social liaison for Falling Whistles
Glam It Up
In 1994, MAC Cosmetics introduced the VIVA GLAM lipstick collection. Every cent of the selling price goes to the MAC AIDS Fund (MAF) to help people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Drag queen RuPaul, singers k.d. lang and Fergie, pinup beauty Dita Von Teese, supermodel Linda Evangelista, and Sir Elton John are among the celebrities supporting the campaign. Lady Gaga was the 2011 spokesperson.
The lipstick also has a good reputation for how it looks.
“I love VIVA GLAM lipsticks,” said Allan Avendano, a celebrity makeup artist who has been part of the MAF. “I have every shade. You can't go wrong, there's a shade for every race, color and gender. The pigments are so beautiful, and there are even different textures for those who like matte lips or sheer colored lips.
"I'm a huge fan, and I hope that the whole world buys at least one lipstick,” said Avendano.
Avendano’s favorite from the line is the original VIVA GLAM I.
“It’s a red that looks great on all skin tones,” he said.
"Four eyes" used to be an offensive term for people who wore glasses. Nowadays, glasses are tres geek chic.
In February 2010, four bookworms, Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider and David Gilboa, launched the vintage-inspired and affordable eyewear company Warby Parker. Warby Parker also has a mission to help people achieve other kinds of visions.
“For every pair we sell, we donate one,” said Kaki Read, spokesperson for Warby Parker.
Read says the "Do Good’ section of the company website explains where and how the glasses are distributed. Read says the Warby Parker team went to India in 2011 and saw how the company could help some people there.
"A lot of the people over there are doing things like sewing and farming," Read said. "They need to be able to read to further [their] education. If your vision is at all hindered, you can’t execute those things, like separating seeds when you’re planting. You can’t do things as effectively as you could if you could see properly.”
Warby Parker takes doing good one step further. The company has also partnered with nonprofit organizations like VisionSpring to give business training to low-income adults in developing countries. The trainees are taught how to sell the glasses in their communities. The idea is for those people to learn how to grow a business of their own.
Three dudes, some crocheting needles and yarn … the perfect recipe for the style conscious and socially conscious accessories brand Krochet Kids International.
“Growing up in eastern Washington, my friends and I learned how to crochet,” said Kohl Crecelius, CEO and co-founder. “Of all people to teach me, it was my older brother who learned in college. We thought it was cool because we were all skiers and snowboarders.”
The former hobby turned into an international crochet selling sensation. The cool, crocheted accessories and company’s philosophy even caught the attention of megabrands like Volcom. Volcom recently partnered with Krochet Kids as part of the Fall 2011 Give Back Series, its sustainability and corporate social-responsibility initiative.
As a cause-centered accessories brand, Krochet Kids empowers people to rise above poverty. All of its products are made in developing countries. Crocheters get a job, consistent income and education. At the end of the three- to five-year program, employees are encouraged to find jobs outside of crocheting.
“It’s kind of a come grow and go model,” Crecelius said.
Every item is signed by the lady who crocheted it. Visitors can go to the website, meet each lady, read her bio and send her a personalized thank-you note.
Accessories are often statement pieces. Falling Whistles has one that makes a statement about war.
Falling Whistles, an organization dedicated to promoting peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sells a sleek and stylish whistle necklace. Whistles are used as part of the war effort in the Congo. Children too small to carry guns are often sent to the treacherous frontlines with a whistle to ward off opposition.
Falling Whistles hopes its whistles draws more attention to the war and the risk taken by the children.
“We ask people to become whistle-blowers for peace; the whistle necklace is a great way to start a conversation,” said Jen Jones, social liaison for Falling Whistles. “By wearing this necklace, you can raise awareness of what’s going on and become an advocate.”