Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Lindsay Byers-Hirth, co-founder and chief giving officer at Society B, a business founded in 2015 that allows customers to give back through everyday purchases all in one marketplace, explains how this image represents her business.
This is an image of the exact moment that changed my professional life — the moment that would ruin future 8-5 corporate jobs and would make anything but working to make a difference unfulfilling for me. It was taken in Ethiopia when I worked for a non-profit that provides clean water and rural development. At this moment, I felt the weight of a jug of clean water and the challenges people face because of poverty.
In the years since this moment, I took a corporate job and deeply missed the sense of purpose I had in non-profits. I’ve also been a long-time patron of companies that give back and blur the lines between for-profits and non-profits, but I realized that it’s still difficult to find brands that are doing good, aside from well-known companies like TOMS and Warby Parker. So with some e-commerce expertise from my sister, I decided to combine commerce and causes to bring the best do-good brands together in one marketplace and create Society B. My hope is that conscious commerce becomes more mainstream than it is today.
Our biggest challenge is simply brand awareness. We bootstrapped our budget and didn’t have a solid go-to-market strategy when we launched. So, we’re currently chasing traffic to get people to notice us. Fortunately, our customers are great champions for us, partly because of our mission and partly because we go above and beyond to exceed their expectations with service. Many of our customers have already made repeat purchases.
We launched in September, and in the first four months of business, we impacted the lives of 768 people, planted 200 trees, and saved 900 square feet of rainforest! These figures do not include the donations we made to our featured charities. Seeing those numbers — realizing how impactful our little business has been already — makes all the hard work worth it. Our business is growing, because people truly care about doing more with their purchases than the traditional model of commerce has offered.