When my brother and I started working on Mission, we knew we wanted to give back from day one, not based on if it was smart from a tax standpoint. When it came time to name our new project, we hashed out several names, but then my brother said, "Why don't we call it Mission Belt Co.?" It made immediate sense to both of us and we officially formed our business.
Social entrepreneurship isn't a new thing by any means but it is progressively becoming more and more popular. Tom's shoes was one of the first companies I remember hearing about that had a direct giving aspect associated with every sale. I loved the idea that it was something that would happen regardless of them surviving or making money as a company. Their one-for-one program was inspirational for many.
Tom's has given a pair of shoes for every pair sold. It's a great success for them, for the customers and the people who get free pairs. That's what social entrepreneurship is all about. It's about win, win, win.
Last year I wrote an article entitled "Time to Flex", where I wrote about Trevor Jones and Travis Lubinsky who saw an opportunity to create a niche watch collection that represented great causes. The company took flight after they brought the idea to MTV and ended up creating a deal to integrate the guys and their watch on a entire series of the show Real World.
Flex Watches is committed to its mission of fighting hunger, as is evident with last week's partnering with the Los Angeles food bank to donate over 2,000 Thanksgiving meals to homeless children in Los Angeles. The company aims to bring new light to their causes through making fun affordable but cool watches.
I think we will continue to see new businesses with social benefits. I am so glad that there are so many people out there that not only form these companies, but also buy these products. It's truly a win, win, win.