Girls Are Awesome+

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Female Empowerment Communities

Female empowerment has been picking up steam, both in business and political spheres. However, there is still a long way to go for women in the US to be on equal footings with men.

Female Empowerment Insights

  • Women's empowerment is a lucrative topic, with 24% of the Top 100 Brands purpose-driven videos being about female empowerment. It is the most published cause among purpose driven videos.
  • This is for good reason, as women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
  • Female empowerment advertising is sometimes called "Femvertising". This type of advertising is generally targeted at Millennials, of which 90% say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause. Additionally, 85% of women say that if they like a brand, they will remain loyal to it. This shows that brands should pay close attention to the desires and demands of women, especially millennial women.
  • Some companies are going further than simply advertising about women's empowerment, and are making it part of their company culture. Currently, at the top 1000 U.S. companies by revenue, women make up 25% of C-level executives, which is up 23% from 2018. Additionally, the number of women CMOs at the top 1,000 revenue-generating companies in the U.S. has risen to 36% from 32% in 2018.
  • However, there is still a long way to go. While the gender pay gap in the US is narrowing, women still only earn 85% of what men do.
  • In the US, some of this is due to the financial hit a woman takes when having a child. Having a child generally sets a woman's earnings back by about 31%.
  • But change may be coming soon, due to the increase in women holding political office in the US. In 2018, more women than ever before were elected to the US Congress, and at least four women ran for the 2020 presidency.
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Key Leaders in Female Empowerment

The key leaders in the female empowerment space are General Motors, Bank of America, IBM, Principal Financial Group, and Salesforce. Detailed below is their revenue, the reasons they are considered a market leader, and their unique selling proposition in the female empowerment space.

General Motors

  • General Motors had $147.05 billion in revenue in 2018.
  • The company is considered a leader in advancing gender equality. GM is the only company that has a female CEO and a female CFO. Mary Barra is the first female CEO in the automotive industry in 2014 and is one of the most powerful women in business. In 2018, Dhivya Suryadevara was appointed as CFO. Suryadevara worked at multiple leading financial institutions before joining GM in 2002.
  • In 2019, General Motors received top marks across 19 criteria in corporate gender equality. The criteria included pay equity; gender balance in the workforce, including senior management and the board; non-discriminatory hiring practices; and parental leave. The company was awarded a B+ and received the top score of 71%, and it is the only company with a pay gap between men and women of less than 3%.
  • According to General Motors, they are committed to develop and support the career paths of women. The company offers resources like Women in Action, a female leadership development program that addresses challenges that women face in business, and GM Women Employee Resource Group, a resource group of employees in the US and the globe.

Bank of America

  • Bank of America made $91.2 billion in revenue in 2018.
  • Bank of America believed that women play a vital role in driving economic growth. They have partnered entrepreneurs to monitor the capital and tools that will help women advance their businesses and make contributions to the economy. The support aligns with the banks' commitment to empowering women that make contributions within the company and the community.
  • In 2019, Bank of America earns top scores in a new study of corporate gender equality. Bank of America scored 68% and earned a B+ grade. Women are well represented in the C-suite, and the company has five women on their leadership team. Bank of America also has outlined a strategy to close the gender pay gap and offer paid parental leave.
  • Bank of America has implemented policies to promote gender equality and offers flex-time, work from home options, and options for out-of-network maternal healthcare.


  • In 2018, IBM generated a revenue of $79.6 billion.
  • The company has a long history of supporting and empowering women in the workplace with IBM hiring its first female employee in 1899. IBM's approaches to helping women include three core programs, namely, Executive Potential & Extraordinary Leadership Identification, Technical Women's Pipeline, and Elevate. Through these programs, the company aims to "identify talent early," "focus on technical women," and "lift up women around the world," respectively.
  • IBM has engaged with communities for more than a century, and community engagement includes creating a good social environment for women and other groups that are under-represented to have access to education and needed resources and the opportunity for them to reach their potential. In 2017, IBM partnered with Girls Who Code and sponsored summer camps that helped 40,000 girls in the US to code. In addition, IBM's Tech Re-Entry program, together with the Society of Women Engineers and iRelaunch, is making it easier for women who took a break from the workforce to rejoin the tech industry.

Principal Financial Group

  • Principal Financial Group had $14.24 billion in revenue in 2018.
  • As of February 2017, women comprised 60% of its US workforce, 60% of its mentees in mentoring programs, 33% of its board members, and 42% of its executives.
  • Principal Financial Group is a Hall of Famer in the 2019 NAFE (National Association of Female Executives) Top Companies for Executive Women and also a Hall of Famer in the 2019 Working Mother 100 Best Companies. According to Beth Raymond, senior vice president and chief HR officer at Principal, the company’s culture is rooted in empowering employees to do their best and is proud of the recognition of the company's effort of the advancement of female employees.


  • Salesforce had $10.5 billion in revenue in 2018.
  • After implementing an equal-pay assessment, the company spent almost $3 million to eliminate the significant discrepancy across genders. In addition, during International Women's Day in March 2018, Salesforce was one of the companies at the forefront of promoting equality in the workplace through their Salesforce Women’s Network and holding more than 30 women-related campaigns and events across the globe.
  • According to Divya Ashok, Director of Product Management and President of Salesforce Women’s Network, inclusion is part of their commitment to equality to make sure they retain diverse talent and ensure that they will continue to be a destination workplace for all.

Research Strategy

To determine five market leaders or companies in the female empowerment space, we started our research by looking into different precompiled lists of companies that are considered leaders in empowering women published in 2018 and 2019. After which, we picked the five most-mentioned companies across these sources. We went through the most mentioned first before ranking them according to revenue because each of these precompiled lists has their own ranking criteria or metrics to include a company in their lists. Therefore, we can assume that the more a company is mentioned across several sources, with each having different criteria in choosing key leaders in women empowerment, the more metrics a company has hit to be considered a key leader in the specified space. Next, we looked into the 2018 revenue of the five most-mentioned companies and ranked them according to it. When then supplemented the ranking with how they are considered a market leader and their unique selling proposition in the female empowerment space from their corresponding websites and third-party press releases.
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Sustainable textile brands

Levi Strauss & Co, Reformation and Nike are three consumer lifestyle brands and companies that are breaking ground with their expansive, comprehensive and unique suitability practices.

Levi Strauss & Co

  • This past April of 2019, San Francisco-based textile company Levi Strauss & Co was named the most sustainable fashion brand in the world by American women's magazine Good Housekeeping.
  • In particular, Levi's sustainability commitment is ground breaking not just for the scale of the company, and its related impact from sustainability efforts, but for the systematic manner in which Levi has thoughtfully executed sustainability practices throughout the lifecycle of its products.
  • For example, Levi's is making significant strides in addressing global water concerns through its Water<Less collection, which uses up to 96% less water to make, while also taking the extra step of helping to replenish global water supplies, among other efforts.
  • Similarly, Levi's has established and met aggressive climate goals, with the company achieving its 2020 climate goals across its operations two years early in 2018, including a 25% emissions reduction, the transition to 20% percent renewable energy and a 5% carbon intensity reduction per product made.
  • Meanwhile, the company has publicly launched a variety of other initiatives, including a commitment to using "Better Cotton," refreshing and recycling old denim products, making PFC-Free water-repellent textiles and more.


  • Los Angeles-based clothing company Reformation was also named this year by Good Housekeeping as one of the world's top 16 sustainable fashion brands.
  • Similar to Levi's and Shea Brand, sustainability is integrated across the lifecycle of the company's products, but in unusually unique ways.
  • For example, Reformation goes beyond sourcing materials in a sustainable manner to actually track and display the Refscale for each product, which highlights the environmental cost of each piece of its clothing including carbon dioxide emissions and water usage.
  • The company also goes above and beyond in encouraging sustainability practices with its employees, by providing electric car charges in company parking lots and offering employees passes for public transit.
  • Meanwhile, Reformation embraces the ethos of sustainability through the social conscience underpinning its business practices, such as the provision of English as a Seond Language courses as well as free services to employees looking for US citizenship.


  • US-based consumer lifestyle brand Nike has been recognized across numerous institutions including Morgan Stanley and the World Wildlife Foundation for its innovative and extensive commitment to sustainability.
  • Notably, Nike has progressively expanded its sustainability initiatives over the past decades to integrate sustainable practices throughout its organization in new and creative ways.
  • Perhaps most strikingly, Nike has made the bold commitment to achieve a zero carbon footprint and produce zero waste, alongside similar goals, such as using 100% sustainable cotton by 2020.
  • In a similarly original move, Nike also recently launched an app called MAKING, which encourages designers and creatives to make more sustainable choices by providing a database of materials and their environmental impacts, among other features.
  • Overall, Nike is continuously integrating new sustainability innovations throughout its sales, production and other processes, including the uses of mannequins made entirely out of ground-up sneakers in its retail locations.

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Textile Production Techniques: US

According to experts, some of the most cost-effective techniques for textile production are to improve worker efficiency and use less/waste less materials. To improve worker efficiency, manufacturers can implement techniques such as refining their hiring process to only hire skilled workers and launching new skill training for their existing staff. This technique was used by Dixie Specialty Fibers in Georgia, wherein they partnered with Georgia Quick Start and Georgia Northwestern Technical College to develop a training program and a pipeline of skilled labor. To use less/waste less materials, manufacturers can implement techniques such as identifying areas in which excess material is being wasted improving efficiency in these areas, as well as recycling. For example, The Renewal Workshop is a company that partners with brands to recycle their excess inventory in a way that garners the highest value.

Improve Worker Efficiency

About this Technique:

  • Improving worker efficiency is noted by experts as a way in which manufacturers can reduce costs and can be accomplished through various methods such as hiring only skilled labor, implementing new skill training for existing staff, and simplifying the production line to minimize time spent performing each task.
  • In the textile industry, experts suggest manufacturers should implement human resources strategies that focus on recruiting skilled labor and develop programs that help train employees on how to adapt to new, production-improving technologies.

Example 1 of Technique Adoption:

  • Dixie Specialty Fibers entered into a partnership with Georgia Quick Start and Georgia Northwestern Technical College to help staff Dixie Specialty Fiber's new 125,000 sq. ft. facility in Georgia.
  • Quick Start's role in the partnership is to create training materials, simulations and training instructors, while Georgia Northwestern Technical College will serve as a "continuous pipeline of qualified workers for the facility".
  • To start off, Dixie Specialty Fibers will be providing 100 new jobs in Chattooga County.

Use Less/Waste Less Materials

About this Technique:

  • Designing products that require the use of fewer materials is another great way to reduce costs. This can be done by minimizing the amount of material that can be used in a single unit without sacrificing the overall quality of the product, or identifying materials that are not contributing directly to the product and working to eliminate or minimize them (i.e. documentation, packaging, etc), and also looking for ways in which material is being wasted during the production process and improving efficiency in those areas.
  • As the cost of raw textile materials has been rising globally, experts note that it's important for textile manufacturers to refine their production processes in a way that focuses on raw material waste reduction.
  • In the United States, manufacturers are working to open textile recycling facilities to repurpose textile waste.

Example of Technique Adoption:

  • The Renewal Workshop is a company that partners with apparel brands to recycle their excess inventory.
  • Excess materials are turned into either new apparel, upcycled materials, or recycling feedstock.
  • The system is designed to obtain the "highest amount of value for each product".
  • One-third of the recycled products the company has received have been able to be re-sold on their website.
  • As of 2017, the company has "diverted 16,000 pounds of apparel from landfills."

Research Strategy

To conduct this research, we relied on a number of research paths including analyzing press releases, case studies, company annual reports, articles written by industry experts, and trusted media sources. Overall, information on this specific topic appears to be lacking within the public domain, largely because the vast majority of content available is focused on companies and markets outside of the United States, as that is where the majority of textile production is currently taking place. Despite this, we were able to pull together existing insights that are either directly relevant to the United States or are general insights that can be logically applied to the United States. In doing so, we first began analyzing expert-suggested techniques for ways to reduce costs in manufacturing overall. This served to provide a solid foundation upon which we were able to add expert-supported insights related to textile manufacturing specifically. Lastly, we delved into case studies and press releases to look for examples of textile companies that are implementing these techniques. Overall, while the available information on this topic is mostly high level, it appears that a deeper dive into this topic can be accomplished by researching it from a global perspective.
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Textile Production Techniques: EU

The Circle of Sustainability has been the guiding principle behind cost-effective production techniques for textiles in Europe for at least five years. WornAgain Technologies is emerging as an industry leader with its developed process, which takes the old cloth, sorts, decontaminates, brings it down to the molecular level, and produces the required material to weave into fabric. There were also pilot projects in 2017 and 2018 with other manufacturers where they worked with their supply chains to recycle both denim and polyester.

Wornagain Technologies

What it is

  • Worn Again Technologies, headquartered in London, has developed a chemical process that morphs polyester and cotton clothing, as well as PET plastic bottles and packaging, back into raw materials. ["PET, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate, is a form of polyester (just like the clothing fabric)"].
  • Worn Again Technologies has pioneered a polymer recycling technology that can "separate, decontaminate and extract the polyester polymers, and cellulose from cotton, from non-reusable textiles and PET bottles and packaging" and turn them back into new textile raw materials as part of a continuous cycle of reuse.

How it developed

  • As the idea of circular sustainability became more well-known, the founders of WornAgain Technologies realized that the industry would need a process that could recycle the very building blocks of textiles at the molecular level. They realized they needed a vital technological component.
  • That's when they met Dr. Adam Walker, a scientist from Cambridge, England, who had already "authored several peer-reviewed papers and patents in the field." The founders asked Adam if their plans were feasible, and his response was 'Of course, polyester and cellulose in cotton are polymers. What's the problem?'
  • It wasn't quite that easy, but after years of research, WornAgain was presented at the Fashion Tech Lab in Paris in 2017.
  • Between then and 2018, Circle Economy, Valvan Baling Systems, Reshare, Procotex, Worn Again, and Smart Fibersorting formed a consortium called Fibersort. They then worked with industry stakeholders to better understand the market for their products, to optimize the machine designed with Valvan, and to validate the business case.

Who is using it?

Success metrics

  • The company saw an investment last year of almost $6.4 million.
  • Fashion retailer H&M has signed on, along with partners including Sulzer Chemtech, one of the world's largest chemical engineering companies; Mexico-based Himes Corp., a garment manufacturer; Directex, a textiles producer, and Future Tech Lab, run by fashion investor Miroslava Duma.

Other Companies


  • ASOS began in 2000 and has become a top fashion brand for 20-somethings. It currently has more than 87,000 branded products on its website, with 5,000 new products added each week.
  • ASOS launched a pilot project to increase the amount of recycled denim for its ASOS jeans. Using a mix of pre-consumer and post-consumer denim, they increased the amount of recycled denim to 17% in 2017 and 18% in 2018.
  • In one year, the water savings were 7,694 m cubed, the energy savings were 13,978 kWh, and the CO2 reduction was 3.5 tonnes. 1.1 tonnes of fabric were saved from the landfill.
  • ASOS has made a public commitment to circularity through its 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment.


  • Moodstreet is a brand of child's wear. It is a Dutch family-owned business established 40 years ago, which transformed from a children's coats and jackets specialist to a general children's wear specialist.
  • Their pilot project was the development of sample jersey collection for girls called Darlin and boys called Fellow. Jackets of 100% polyester were taken into production and were made with 43% recycled fabric.
  • The project was considered a success, with a 17% decrease in energy and a 22% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Research Strategy

We began our search looking for textile manufacturers in Europe and reviewed their web sites. Two examples are FOV Fabrics in Sweden and Lameirinho in Portugal. The first uses the model of circular sustainability, and the second did not provide information on its production techniques.

We then looked for reports in the textile and fashion world that highlight textile production techniques. We found that Boston Consulting Group, beginning in 2017, has produced an annual report called "Pulse of the Fashion Industry" in which it rates the industry holistically on its production techniques. Reading through those reports, we found numerous examples of manufacturers. We followed the breadcrumbs from these reports to multiple manufacturers and provided some cases in the findings.

We then turned to an in-depth search of the academic research on textile manufacturing. We found an article on "2D net-shape weaving for cost-effective manufacture of textile reinforced composites". We thought the technology might be applicable. Still, when we read the article, we found it a very specialized area of reinforcing mechanics with cloth with tensile strength and determined it was not applicable. We also reviewed an article called "Manufacturing processes in the textile industry. Expert Systems for fabrics production." It did not provide any usable information.

After reading multiple historical and current reports (2016 to the present), we found that the industry as a whole has been focused on circular sustainability as the driving force for any changes being considered. We were unable to find any recent information on production techniques for textiles but found many examples of recycling used clothing. We, therefore, provided a detailed report on one of the companies doing that, and some cases that have cost-saving metrics.

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Cost-effective Textile Locations: EU

Two of the most cost-effective locations in Europe are Moldova and Ukraine. The two countries share borders and are both located in Eastern Europe, at the eastern edge of the continent. Low wages, utility costs, and fiscal incentives are the primary reasons why textile production costs are low in these two countries.


  • Moldova is a small European country with a population of only 3.6 million inhabitants in 2018.
  • The country has overtaken low-cost textile production destinations such as Romania with even lower production costs.
  • Textile production costs in Moldova are low due to a variety of reasons.
  • A major reason is that labor costs are lower in Moldova than neighboring low-cost countries.
  • Wages in the country are amongst the lowest in Europe, with the minimum legal wage set at 71 euros, compared to 139 euros in Bulgaria, 133 in Romania, and 80 in Ukraine.
  • Salaries in the textile industry in Moldova are also low, ranging from 144 euros in the clothing sector and 126 euros for footwear. These salaries are lower than the 251 euros in Turkey, 234-252 euros in Romania, and 189 euros in Bosnia.
  • In addition to low labor costs, Moldova is also characterized by low rental costs for production facilities, which are cheaper than Romania or Serbia, at an average of 2-4 euros/m2 compared to 3.5-4.5 euros/m2 in Romania and 4-5 euros/m2 in Serbia.
  • Rental costs are even lower within Moldova's Free Economic Zones, ranging between 0.8 to 2 euros per square meter.
  • Due to the reasons listed above, numerous well-known brands carry out production in Moldova.
  • These include Nike, Gap, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Celio.


  • Ukraine is a larger European nation than Ukraine, with 42.2 million inhabitants in 2018.
  • The country used to be part of the Soviet Union and has a history as a major hub for textile production.
  • Ukraine can produce textile at a lower cost than most European countries.
  • The main reason for this is that the country has one of the lowest net minimum legal salaries in Europe at 80 euros/month.
  • Ukraine has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe, allowing textile producers to pay low wages.
  • Despite wages being low, the country can count on an experienced textile workforce and advanced machines.
  • The devaluation of the Ukrainian currency has also contributed to making Ukraine a cost-efficient textile location, and one of the most competitive ones in Europe, in terms of U.S. dollars.
  • In addition to low salaries in the industry, Ukraine has low electricity costs compared to other European low-cost textile producing countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, or Slovakia.
  • For the reasons listed above, many textile brands have set up their production in Ukraine, including Zara, New Look, and Marks & Spencer.

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Cost-effective Textile Locations: US

Some of the most cost-effective locations for textile manufacturing in the United States are South Carolina, Texas, and Alabama. A profile of each state has been provided below.

South Carolina

  • Textile manufacturing has long been a part of South Carolina's industrial history, however, the industry declined in the 1990s and 2000s due to manufacturers moving overseas. As a result, South Carolina has put into place the 'South Carolina Textiles Communities Revitalization Act' (SCTCRA) which grants tax credits for the "rehabilitation, renovation and redevelopment of abandoned textile mill sites located in South Carolina".
  • Businesses that take advantage of the SCTCRA can earn a 25% credit that can be put towards real property taxes, state income taxes, corporate license fees, or insurance premium taxes.
  • According to MIT, a living wage for a family of four in South Carolina is $14.40 per hour, which is slightly less than the national average of $15.12 (living wages based on a family of four with two working adults).
  • South Carolina has a lower corporate income tax rate than neighboring states (5% compared to 6-7%), according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
  • South Carolina has significantly lower utility costs compared to national and regional averages, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.


  • Texas is the "main trade intermediary between the U.S. and Mexico" which gives the state a competitive advantage when it comes to exporting goods.
  • Manufactured goods make up the majority of Texas's exports (over 78% of all exports). Textile mills account for $1.4 billion dollars worth of exports, apparel accounts for $300 million, textile product mills account for $300 million, and leather products account for $700 million.
  • Texas offers property tax abatement at the city level for up to 10 years in NAFTA-impact zones, which seems to directly correspond to the export-friendly nature of the state. NAFTA impact zones are "intended to promote business opportunities for local businesses". In these zones, the local government may also waive fees related to building construction, building inspection, and other similar types of fees.
  • The annual average wage for textile manufacturing in Texas is around $36,200, significantly lower than the national average.
  • According to a 2018 article, Texas is a top state for doing business in the United States, due to a strong economy, workforce, infrastructure, innovation, access to capital, and overall cost of doing business.


  • According to Global Trade magazine, Alabama is the number one best state for manufacturing in the United States, when examining a range of factors including existing industrial landscape, workforce, investment incentives, and the tax/regulatory environment.
  • Alabama offers a wide range of financial incentives for manufacturing companies, including job-creation and investment tax credits, reimbursement for capital costs, and property-tax abatement.
  • It appears that the state also helps manufacturing companies save costs by helping them save time when it comes to obtaining permits. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management expedites things by ensuring that "all permitting can be completed in 120 days."
  • Significant investments in the textile industry have been taking place in Alabama in recent years. In Tuscaloosa county alone, over $11.678 billion dollars were invested in textile product mills in 2017.
  • Area Development, a publication, ranked Alabama among the top states for doing business due to the state's economic development policies, low-cost business environment, new capital investments, and strong workforce development.
  • Alabama is known for its shovel-ready sites initiatives, which can logically be assumed to save prospective new businesses a lot of time and money. Shovel-ready site is one that is "ready for the start of work" and usually already has environmental clearances, some supporting infrastructure, completed soil analysis, etc (i.e. a piece of land that is ready for construction to begin).

Research Strategy

In order to identify some of the most cost-effective locations for textile manufacturing in the United States, our team analyzed industry reports, government websites, and industry publications to get a sense of the textile manufacturing landscape in the United States and see which states were doing the most when it comes to supporting textile manufacturers (and manufacturers overall) in terms of providing financial incentives to these businesses. We further analyzed the general cost of doing business in each state to ensure it is equally friendly. Some areas that were explored throughout this process are the availability of tax incentives that would logically benefit a textile manufacturer, cost-of-living/average wages, and costs of obtaining permits or property.
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Brands Licencing Royalties and Different Setups

VF Corporation has license agreements with partners who can achieve higher effectiveness in design, production, and distribution than it can achieve internally. Nike's license agreement with Micheal Jordan catapulted it into a billion-dollar brand earning $126 million in its first year (1985) that has grown to $3.14 billion in 2019.


  • VF Corporation has 30 lifestyle brands categorized into three brand categories. Its primary brands in its Outdoor and Action Sports division include Vans, The North Face Timberland. VF Corporation's primary brands in the Jeanswear division are Wrangler and Lee whereas its primary brands in the Imagewear division are Kodiak and Terra.
  • VF Corporation enters into the design, production, and distribution licensing agreements for its brands. The majority of its licenses cover Vans, Lee, Timberland, and Wrangler brands.
  • Primarily, VF Corporation has license agreements with independent parties whose core competencies create a competitive advantage in design, production, and distribution that VF Corporation cannot achieve internally.
  • In 2018, Marcolin Group was granted a five-year extension of a license agreement partnership signed in 2003 to design, produce, and distribute Timberland optical frames and sunglasses. Marcolin Group produces Timberland optical frames and sunglasses made from 35% bio-based plastic that has earned it a Timberland Earthkeepers mark for its sustainability.
  • In 2017, Global Brands Group Holding Limited signed a partnership with Timberland to design, produce, and distribute men socks, women socks, gloves, and cold-weather accessories. Global Brands Group Holding Limited is a global leader in producing fashion accessories, footwear, and apparel for Disney, Calvin Klein, and Sean John among other brands.
  • VF Corporation License partners pay 4% to 10% of their licensed product revenues as royalties to VF Corporation. In 2017, VF corporation earned $75.5 million in royalties contributing 1% of its total revenues.


  • Nike entered into the Air Jordan licensing agreement to expand its market penetration and brand recognition. Before it approached Micheal Jordan Nike had limited market penetration in basketball or other non-track sports. It also was a small brand with limited brand recognition, unlike Converse or Adidas.
  • Nike's Air Jordan licensing agreement mirrored a successful market strategy that had enhanced market penetration in a new market. Nike had used tennis player celebrity endorsements to gain a growing foot hold in the tennis sports wear market and wanted to replicate the strategy in the basketball sports wear market.
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Purpose-driven Commerce

The examples of brands that have successfully used examples of purpose-driven commerce are Warby Parker, Brandless, and Nike.

Warby Parker

  • Warby Parker is a socially conscious eyewear manufacturer that offers affordable prescription glasses and sunglasses.
  • Warby Parker is also aware of the vision impairment issue that is impacting 15% of the world population. Therefore, they work with non-profits organizations, such as VisionSpring, to help address this problem.
  • This company has created the 'Buy a Pair, Get a Pair' program from the beginning. According to the official website of Warby Parker, they have distributed over 5.5 million pairs of glasses in more than 50 countries around the world.
  • In 2015, Warby Parker created a program called 'Pupils Project', where they collaborated with numerous organizations and local government agencies to provide free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses to schoolchildren.
  • Based on the research from VisionSpring, for every pair of glasses given to a person in need, his/her productivity and monthly income will increase by 35% and 20%, respectively.
  • To display their transparency and how they stick to their core values, Warby Parker always releases an annual impact report every year that contains various information, including the employee profiles, the number of the people they help through their social programs, the materials of their products and how they acquire those materials from their vendors, the amount of renewable, non-renewable, and recyclable materials that they use, as well as the company's carbon emission. However, this report doesn't specify the annual revenue, the number of purchased glasses from this company, or the amount of money that they distribute to the social programs they have created.


  • Brandless is a company that offers innovative products made of quality materials and clean ingredients. They also apply several core values in their work culture, including simplicity, sustainability, wellness, and kindness.
  • This company focuses on products that are organic, gluten-free, non-toxic, and refillable. They also use tree-free paper products and avoid over 400 questionable substances in their beauty and personal care products.
  • Aside from providing environment-friendly and health-conscious products, Brandless is also committed to reducing its negative impact on the environment by applying the 3Rs policy of reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling items as much as they can.
  • Brandless is also partnered up with Feeding America, where every purchased product of Brandless means a donation to Feeding America. Additionally, when a customer becomes a Brandless member and pays $36 for the annual fee, Brandless will donate $10 and an extra $2 every time a member makes a purchase.
  • Due to this campaign and the philosophy of this company holds onto, the website traffic and referring pages of Brandless have shown consistent growth. For instance, Brandless website's referring pages reached 14,568 clicks in June 2018.
  • In 2018, Brandless donated 5,000 meals on behalf of every speaker on “Vegan Women of Color: Influencing Lives and Healing Our Cultures” or How to Quit Your Day Job" events. They also donated three meals for every customer who tagged their company or used the hashtag 'Brandless' on social media and ten meals every time someone visited their pop-up store in Los Angeles.
  • Although Brandless doesn't provide an annual report for public viewing, they have pledged to donate at least $300,000 from May 16, 2018, through May 15, 2021, to Food America.


  • Nike is a footwear and activewear manufacturer that focuses on innovation, sustainability, and creating a positive impact on communities.
  • To protect the environment, approximately 75% of every Nike product and apparel are made of recycled material. Around 99% of the water used for dye-coloring processes for Air soles is recycled.
  • Nike is also partnered up with Ocean Conservancy to protect the Arctic and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to support hospitalized children and improve their health through medical care, research, and education.
  • Nike created a program called 'Made to Play', where they are partnered with 60 global partners to move and play which leads to kids' healthier, happier and more successful lives through various ways, including supporting PE teachers, turning employees into coaches, supporting young runners, and using soccer to improve relationships. According to Nike, active kids tend to have increased focus, better school attendance, and a stronger sense of self compared to inactive kids.
  • According to the annual report of Nike Impact, Nike has invested over $79.4 million in communities around the world in 2018 and helped 16.5 million kids through their 'Made to Play' program.
  • This company releases impact report every year which includes information about their targets on social, sustainability, and environmental issues, gender pay ratio, employee profiles, community impact, workplace situation, child labor, material sources, sustainability efforts, the types of cotton they use, recycled materials, renewable energy, energy consumption, fuel consumption, electricity consumption, and the amount of waste they produce.

Research Strategy

To began our research, we first started by looking through expert blogs and articles to find precompiled information about purpose-driven commerce. Utilizing the insights collected from the previous strategy, we decided to dive deeper into the topic by visiting each website of the selected purpose-driven brands to find information about how they communicate their purpose, how they market their products and the transparency of their campaigns. But, our research team found that the report of Brandless wasn't available on their website and we were unable to determine the transparency of this company.

Therefore, we attempted to find the requested information by reviewing news articles, publications, and reports from respected sources, including Forbes, Digiday, and Grocery Dive. To gather accurate and the most updated news, our research team utilized advanced search engines, such as Google News, News Lookup, and Millie Northern lights. We also visited the organization's website that partnered up with Brandless to find the requested information. However, the information collected from using the previous strategy confirmed the unavailability of the report of Brandless for public viewing. According to Digiday, Brandless decided not to disclose its annual revenue due to the competition with other big e-commerce businesses, such as Amazon and Walmart.

For our last strategy, we decided to visit Brandless' social media to find any related information about the company's transparency, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But, the information that we could find was only related to the promotional content for their products. After utilizing three different strategies, we could conclude that Brandless decided not to disclose their financial and donation report.

From Part 02