Charitable Fashion

By Kristen Castillo

August 5, 2013 5 min read

Every season, you buy new products, clothes and accessories. While your new gear makes you happy, why not make each purchase count even more? Every time you buy from a retailer that supports charities, you're giving back to your community and supporting important causes.

The practice of selling products to benefit charities is called "cause-related marketing" or simply "cause marketing," explains Michael J. Montgomery, fundraising consultant at Montgomery Consulting Inc. and adjunct professor at the College of Management at Lawrence Technological University.

Cause-marketing campaigns can help businesses increase sales and "build good will with current and prospective customers," says Montgomery, noting that supporters are happy to help their charity in a "painless" way.

"Consumers like to support companies that support nonprofits doing important work in the community," says Montgomery. "Some university research suggests $1 spent on giving can yield $6 in increased sales for the donor company."

In many cases, shoppers don't know about a charity until they see the retailer-charity promotion. In making a purchase, those shoppers then become supporters of the cause.

Here's a look at four noteworthy companies selling products that benefit charities:

--Thirty-One Gifts: http://www.thirtyonegives.org/buy

Direct-selling company Thirty-One Gifts donates 31 cents from the sale of each product from its U R U Collection to charities that support women and children, such as Project Woman, Dress For Success Worldwide and Girl Scouts USA.

Since February 2012, the Thirty-One Gives program has raised more than $200,000 via the U R U Collection, from products including a cosmetic bag set ($35), a Keep-It Caddy ($22) and a scarf ($10).

--Cookies for Kids' Cancer: http://www.cookiesforkidscancer.org and http://www.oxo.com

National nonprofit Cookies for Kids' Cancer has partnered with various retailers to support phase-one pediatric cancer research.

One of those retailers is OXO, a company that produces household items. Several OXO products such as measuring cups, spatulas, knives and eggbeaters feature the Cookies for Kids' Cancer promotional sticker, indicating a portion of the purchase (25 cents per product) will go to the charity.

Cookies for Kids' Cancer was founded by Gretchen and Larry Witt, two OXO employees whose son had pediatric cancer and died in 2011 at age 6.

The charity also sells gourmet cookies via their website with 100 percent of the sale of the cookies going to fund pediatric cancer research.

--Puppy Luv Glam: http://www.puppyluvglam.com

Love your dog and charity, too? Check out Puppy Luv Glam, an infants to juniors logo-based fashion line that has a licensed brand partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The company donates $2 from the sale of each garment, from their online store as well as via wholesale, to the ASPCA. In the next two years, they plan to donate $3,000 to the charity.

Puppy Luv Glam's product line includes tees, dresses, tank tops and accessories. Company owner Priya Mittelmark started the business to help nonprofit animal shelters.

Their logo says it all: "It is a pink puppy with a tiara adorned with Swarovski crystals with the words Spoiled and Fabulous," she says. "The premise of the logo being: 'Every rescue pet deserves a Spoiled and Fabulous life.'"

--SNOX: http://www.snoxsocks.com

Seventeen-year-old high-school senior Makena Masterson started SNOX, a nonprofit that produces colorful non-slip socks, with 100 percent of the profits going to charity.

The idea started after Masterson, a Rhode Island resident, developed a blood clot in her left arm while she was visiting friends in Orange County, Calif. She was treated at the Children's Hospital of Orange County, but the experience changed her outlook.

"Seeing kids there that were so much worse off than myself made me realize that I needed to do something now," she says. "That's where the idea for SNOX was started. I needed a product that was simple enough that anyone could use it, and therefore, I turned to socks."

Although the company launched less than a year ago, SNOX has already donated more than $2,000 to charities including Action Against Hunger, Direct Relief International, Remnant International and Crossroads Rhode Island.

"It's a great win-win situation since the customers get a great product while the money goes to charity," says Masterson.

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