There's nothing around here we like more than shopping. But do-good shopping is the ultimate.
Lily Kanter, CEO of the just-launched Mill Valley–based Boon Supply, concurs: 50 percent of the proceeds on home, kitchen, lifestyle and outdoor goods sold on the brand's website will go to the cause of one's choice. Plus, shoppers can start their own personal fundraisers, GoFundMe style, for schools, nonprofits, whatever. (ICYMI: A retailer donating half of the purchase price of a product is pretty darn amazing.)
As soon as we heard what Kanter was up to (from our friend Gina Pell), we needed to know more. After all, she's the Lily in Serena & Lily (swoon!) among other impressive things. Luckily for us, the founder was more than happy to kvell about her new baby.
Find out what inspired her to start her biz with purpose, how it works, and what great (and affordable) goodies you can buy in our Q+A below.
7x7: What inspired you to start Boon Supply?
Lily Kanter: "I had been dreaming about a democratized cause-shopping platform for many years. I was approached by a friend to acquire a school fundraising business, and after reviewing the opportunity, the light bulb went off—to transform the existing business."
7x7: Can you explain exactly how it works?
LK: "Boon Supply is a retail company that gives 50 percent of the purchase price from all items to the cause of the purchaser's choice. The user can shop to support an existing fundraiser on the site or start a new fundraiser for any micro or macro cause."
7x7: How do you choose the brands/products you sell?
LK: "We utilized many of the products of the existing fundraising company we acquired with a new twist on design, color, and pattern. All the products are exclusive—we design and develop products directly with the factories. My favorites are the compost bin, our shopping totes and, because I have three boys, the packing cubes, which are like having drawers inside your bag when you travel."
7x7: What are your goals for raising money?
LK: "We have already given back over $10 million since acquiring the existing school fundraising business less than a year ago. Our goal is to get that number up 10 times, and as quickly as possible."
7x7: What are you doing to get the word out?
LK: "We have partnered with a large number of schools and arts foundations throughout Marin County as part of our launch. Also, we've partnered with many nonprofits including Every Mother Counts, 826 Valencia, Futures Without Violence, GO Campaign, America Scores, ByKids, and the Animal Rescue Fund for the Hamptons."
7x7: Let's talk about your pre-Boon Supply career.
LK: "Before launching Mill Valley Baby & Kids and Serena & Lily, I spent 17 years in accounting and technology—the last eight years at a corporate job at Deloitte & Touche and Microsoft. My professional background is deep in accounting and systems integration. I spent 12 years building Serena & Lily and was schooled on the job in design, product development, merchandising and all the other areas of an omni-channel consumer brand. I got involved in many nonprofits in 2000 after leaving Microsoft. Boon Supply is a combination of everything I've been doing and passionate about for the past 30 years."
7x7: What's next now that you've officially launched?
LK: "We are focused on impact and how to really optimize the model for success, super excited about our gifting assortment launch this fall/holiday season. We'll also will be adding artisan products from special projects around the world."
7x7: What's a day like in the life of Lily Kanter?
LK: "I'm having a blast working on my passion project. Going to nonprofit events is now part of my work life, and my family enjoys travelling the world. We will be volunteering this summer in a refugee camp in Northern Kenya with IsraAid."
// Check out Boon Supply and do some good.