designing a business with intention: soc chic

First, I’d like to say that I’m sorry that I seem to have bowed out a bit in the last few weeks on the blog in terms of personal updates and so forth. Though I haven’t done it intentionally, I’ve been going through a lot of personal changes lately and I have been working through some tough stuff, which I’ll be discussing in the weeks and months to come. As I have been going through these shifts, I’ve kept it to myself. Once I’ve learned the lessons, I will report back. And I have to say, though things haven’t been easy, they have been incredibly powerful and ultimately, will bring positive change to my life.

Anyways, my intention is to now to inject a bit more of my day to day activities into blog post intros so that if you’re even mildly interested on what I’m working on, you’ll be a bit more in the know (though I already do a pretty good job with personal updates on Twitter, @JessConstable).

Designing a Business with Intention: Soc Chic

Okay, so now, let’s get down to business. Literally.

Given that this week is the huge Soc Chic All Week Giveaway, it’s the perfect time to discuss how Soc Chic started and why I have created this necklace line to benefit social causes. Below I’ll break down how things got started and why it works.

The Genesis of Soc Chic

Believe it or not, this social cause line of necklaces began by accident. While I was in college, I created a fortune cookie necklace with a red stone and nicknamed it the “Lucky In Bed Necklace” since it combined the lucky Chinese color, red, with the longstanding tradition of adding “in bed” to the end of fortune cookie messages. Given my target audience at the time, college women, it was a huge success and by far my best-seller for several years.

In November of 2007 I decided to train for a marathon with Team In Training. In order to participate, I needed to raise a considerable amount of money (about $3,000) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Since a close family member survived Lymphoma several years earlier, I had a personal connection to the cause which propelled me past the fear of raising the substantial sum during a very lean time in my business.

I immediately decided to create a necklace that would benefit my fundraising and the cause. At that point, the Silver Lining necklace was born. It was an instant hit.

After running my first marathon in Nashville(!), I decided to help other runners fundraise by letting them sell the necklaces to their supporters. Soon after, Bright Pink, a local non-profit, heard about the Silver Lining necklace and asked to have their own design made to support their cause in a similar manner. We named Bright Pink’s necklace the Pink Lemonade necklace. It too, was a success.

At this point, I recognized that I was easily able to help causes raise money doing something that I knew best; designing cute necklaces with positive messages. So I decided to open the line up to a variety of causes helping them raise money and awareness through the Soc Chic collection whose tag-line is “chic necklaces benefiting social causes.”

How Soc Chic Works

The structure of the Soc Chic necklace collection is pretty simple. They are sold through stores, jesslc.com, and the non-profits themselves. Here’s how it works:

Wholesale (boutique) Orders – 10% of the wholesale price is donated to the cause.

Retail (jesslc.com) Orders – 10% of the retail price ($4) is donated to the cause.

Non-Profit Orders – 40% of the retail price ($16) is donated to the cause.

The causes who work with us are not required to pay any fees for the creation of their custom necklace. We do however request that the non-profits order 50 of the necklaces in the beginning to help cover our initial expenses. Once the causes sell those necklaces to their supporters, with the 40% donation they each raise a total of $800 for their missions. Which is a win-win for everyone. After that point, all the necklaces sold continue to support the cause.

As you can see, though this wasn’t something I had a grand plan for in the beginning, it’s evolved into an amazing way to collaborate with non-profits across the country. If you are involved with a non-profit who might be interested in Soc Chic, email me at jess@jesslc.com and let me know!

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  1. Sarah

    Jess —
    What a great story. I’m in love with the way you do business. Downright inspirational.

    On a sidenote: How did you like the Music City Marathon? I’m thinking about running it next year…

  2. Brigitte

    Really wonderful and inspirational. I hope you come out of the transition you mention soon — and better off for it.

  3. megan

    Thanks for sharing – I love that you’re going to start adding in more personal updates, it’s nice to hear about how other solo entrepreneurs spend their days!

    And it’s great to hear how you make the donation percentages work among your different sales venues. So many people make blanket statements like 10% of profits, but then the customer isn’t really sure how much is really being donated. I think it’s really appealing for a customer to know just how much is being donated to charity.

  4. Gayle Morris

    Congratulation, Jessica, on your continued success. You have grown into an amazing young woman and look forward to watching you achieve even more that will benefit others as well as yourself. Take care, Ben’s mom

  5. Leigh

    I decided to take a closer look and was surprised to see a necklace benefiting CFF. I have two friends working there – we lost a friend to CF a few years ago. What a wonderful way to help raise some cash!

  6. Natalie

    This was such a great read for me. In college, I really started thinking about my place in the world and my obligation to give back to society. I started feeling really selfish, and started trying to design careers and futures that were focused around helping others. The problem was that I started feeling bad about myself for having nice things, or pursuing a career I liked that wasn’t focused on helping people, and those feelings made me unhappy, and that unhappiness rendered me completely useless to anyone!

    I love love love knowing that the Soc Chic line just started off as one small thing, and grew into a sustainable way to give back, without taking over your entire business model or creative passion. Knowing this helps me realize that not everything I plan needs to give back right away, and not everything I do has to be for someone else. I can start small and let it grow!

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