It’s easy to get distracted by what seems to be important in the world of entrepreneurship. We find ourselves talking about what we’re doing when we should be talking about, and acting on, why we’re doing it.
And that’s exactly why I was intrigued when I got an email with the subject line “Act with Love” this weekend. What surprised me more was that it came from Buystand’s Joe Davy. I knew all about what Buystand does, but I had no real idea why they’re doing it.
Joe Davy’s a smart guy. I don’t think that’s news. What you probably don’t know is how passionate he is about building a company that focuses on the why rather than the what. But maybe that’s actually what makes him so smart in the first place. The Buystand team is about more than naming your own price for lifestyle goods. They’re passionate about making fitness gear accessible to everyone.
And they’re proving their passion with, Act With Love, a partnership with the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. The idea started with the intent to create a campaign honoring mothers for Mother’s Day. Joe reached out to Lesa Mitchell with the Kauffman Foundation (and a member of the 8 Rivers Captial board) and she suggested that they look at a potential partnership with the Love Foundation.
After a little bit of research, it was obvious to Joe that his team had to partner with the Love Foundation. To them, this was less about transactions and more about giving back to the women in their lives in a meaningful way. As a part of the campaign, Buystand is donating 50% of the profit from all sales in the collection and 10% of all other sales to the Love Foundation, a pioneer in breast cancer awareness and research.
When Joe learned about the Love Foundation, he knew that he had to do the campaign, because Buystand’s vision of making fitness more accessible to the world aligns perfectly with Love Foundations’ core premise that fitness is the only way to prevent breast cancer. Joe and the Buystand team have a sense of clarity around their company’s vision. This is the kind of campaign they would support in their personal lives, outside of the tangential business benefits.
Tactically, Buystand didn’t have to change their model to integrate the partnership at all – they created a collection for the Love Foundation, and their founders handpicked the products for the collection.
This should serve as a model for startups looking for opportunities to partner with other organizations with similar visions. For Buystand, what was initially meant to be a short term campaign honoring mothers has turned into something more permanent. BuyStand will continue the Love collection and donating a part of their profits for at least the rest of 2013.
Buystand is an eCommerce company, but their partnership with a breast cancer awareness nonprofit illustrates the broader point that Joe wanted to emphasize: “Too many startups are too focused on what they’re going to do and what metrics they have that they don’t spend enough time on why they’re doing it.”
It seems to follow that it’s easy for startups with big visions to find organizations with overlapping missions and do good along the way.