A year ago, through personal interaction with a few social enterprises, I became aware that for some of them, marketing to the public was largely by word of mouth. A number of them were small setups, and while they poured in their hearts and efforts to work with disadvantaged groups, it pulled their resources away from other areas such as marketing and sales.
Around the same time, a good friend of mine was holding a wedding and thus sourcing for wedding favours. She told me she would love to buy socially conscious favours, but had no idea where to get them. I linked her up with a social enterprise that made cookies, and while mulling over the mountain of cookie favours, the realisation came that there was a real need to get the word out about all this good social enterprise work going on.
Recently, Shop For Social was born to address this need. Shop For Social is a social business that that seeks to support meaningful social enterprises and non-profit organisations through creative marketing and value-add of their products and services. Our goal is to raise the profile of these organisations and their championed causes, and to increase sales in order to create a positive impact on the social value chain.
Our first initiative is the recent launch of the online store ShopForSocial.com. It features curated quality products from social enterprises and non-profits, and aims to be a one-stop portal to “shop for a good cause”.
It was the culmination of the work done over a few months talking to social enterprises on the ground, to understand their needs. We became acutely aware that there was a wide range of different needs across social enterprises, so we try to work closely with each social enterprise to tailor to their needs, supporting them in areas such as product selection, professional product photography and assistance for those with no prior online sales experience to move into the online space. We also list each of our social enterprise partners and their social mission on our website, to create greater community awareness of these social causes and publicity for their work.
Every item on ShopForSocial.com comes from a social enterprise, many of whom either engage the disadvantaged to produce these products, thus providing them a source of income they would otherwise not be able to earn, or plough back a portion of their profits to serve a social cause. Each purchase would thus help these social enterprises to further their social mission. A small portion of each transaction is also used to help ShopForSocial.com offset some of its costs, with the hope that with scale, we can become sustainable as a business and continue to provide value-added services to our social enterprise partners.
Currently we have 6 partners onboard: Mother & Child Project, Gift & Take, Friends of the Disabled, Handmade Link, Mama Shoppe, and WeWorkz, with more in the pipeline. Their beneficiaries include disadvantaged women, single mothers or mothers with special-needs children, the mentally or physically handicapped, and the low-income, amongst others. Products range from lovely hand-sewn fabric toys, bags and clothes, to accessories, household and decorative items.
Do check out the store and our Facebook page, and feel free to buy an item or two to support a good cause!
Shop For Social
We need as much help as possible to spread the word, be it through liking and sharing our FB page or website, or to put up a linked banner on your blog or webpage. We also welcome any introductions to sales channels, new social enterprises, as well as feedback.
Please drop us an email at [email protected].
Your support goes a long way, thank you!
About The Guest Blogger:
Serene Ow is one of the founders of Shop For Social. She is a techie at heart who also loves art, music and languages. She wrote this article on her trusty Macbook Air whom she affectionately calls “cheeseburger” (since its clearly not a big Mac J).