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8 Steps to Create a Socially Responsible Fashion Brand

Updated: Mar 8

Weaving Social Good into a Successful Business Model was one of our recent IFD workshops, led by Julie Allen. Julie so inspires me....she is a designer, boutique owner, author, and advocate for a cause she is personally connected to. Julies passion is contagious and we got to hear firsthand, how important it is to keep working toward your vision, powering through those tough days and how aiming for your north star will keep you getting up & going after it every day.

Online Workshop Replay:

Weaving Social Cause into your Business with Julie Allen

Making an Impact

It is no longer ok for a business to be in business just to make money- consumers are asking what the brand or company stands for, what its mission is and what they are doing to make an impact. So as a brand, whether a personal brand, company brand, or small designer is your business making an impact by working for a social cause?

If you work for an existing apparel company, do they have a philanthropic arm? Not sure? Just ask- perhaps they hold annual fundraising events, support a local community, or employees put in volunteer hours. Do they have a gift-matching program that you can take part in? If they dont have any of these programs, what could you do to help get a cause in place? There are ways you can help build social responsibility whether as an employee or self-employed. It's never too late to implement a social cause into your business model. Take a look at the ideas below...which ones can you implement?

Here are 8 ways you can build social cause into your business

  1. Identify your Cause: what matters to you? What pulls at your heartstrings? What cause will motivate you to keep going every day?

  2. Research organizations: Who is doing the work you are passionate about? Does it already exist? Can you partner with them? Do they have events, fundraisers, or take donations?

  3. Transparency: Perfection is not expected, but consumers want to know what the company is doing, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. Are you an existing brand? If so, how can you share your challenges, what you are doing to overcome them, and what steps you are implementing to get there?

  4. Use your Voice: Through social media platforms, businesses can share their efforts and their values to find consumers who align with their mission. Start your own social media campaigns- share your cause, speak about what moves you, and build awareness.

How to partner:

  1. Host a fundraising event- this is a great way to build awareness among the public, and share your brand's mission and the cause you are supporting.

  2. Give a % of sales from your brand- share this on your platforms so your consumer knows what they are supporting with their purchase

  3. Sharing the organization on your platform: explain how you support, donate, and advocate on behalf of the organization you are supporting and partnering with

  4. Use your platform: use your platforms to elevate the cause and your business. (sharing your cause makes great marketing!). Make it a regular practice to share updates about the organization, progress reports, latest successes, etc.

Are you a student looking forward to entering the workforce? Knowing about a company's values and social impact efforts will help you guide your job search. Go after companies that are making a difference and that are supporting causes you believe in.

Do you work for a smaller company with a limited staff? Does their mission include a social cause? If not, how can you and the team work together to define the bigger purpose and implement one or more of the steps below?

Are you self-employed and not sure what cause you want to support? This is a great opportunity to discover your own personal values and what bigger purpose you want to support.

Not sure what your top values are?

That's ok.....sometimes we get so caught up in our roles and responsibilities, that we've lost touch with our bigger purpose and our why. Or perhaps you are a student, a young working professional and you haven't really discovered it yet. Maybe you love your study, and your work, but haven't considered your bigger purpose. Sometimes our values and purpose are crystal clear, and over time, our priorities change, or we discovered something new we are drawn to.

Why is it important to know what you value?

"Reflecting on what is important to you is a powerful way to get to know yourself better. While there are thousands of possible values out there, it’s usually best to focus on a small number of values personally. It’s tricky to juggle too many things at once, and values are no different. Most people have between 5-10 core values that they try to embody in their lives.

Values are like guideposts in our lives. They help us stay on track, prioritize what matters, and make decisions that align with our beliefs and needs." Holistic Consultation

To discover your values and why they are important, check out this article with a full list of values to choose from

So, to be like Julie who has found passion and purpose in building her clothing line and non-profit, I challenge each of us to discover what's most important to us, to find our cause & purpose, both personally and professionally. Getting up every day with that in mind will give us the energy and motivation to keep reaching for that north star and will make an impact!

To learn more about Julies non-profit, Mary Rose Foundation, visit here

To shop her collection, visit here

Thank you Julie for sharing your passion, and your words of wisdom and for all that you do to make an impact!

Know someone who has an inspiring story to tell? Let us know.- we love to share stories of inspiration! Want to contribute an article?

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