Lily Kanter, known in retail as the founder of bedding and furniture retailer Serena & Lily, on Thursday launched an online household essentials marketplace dubbed Boon Supply Co.
Boon Supply's selection includes 200 items for homes and automobiles, including storage and organization, kitchen supplies, and accessories like totes. Most are priced under $25, and 50% of all proceeds go to a philanthropic cause that customers choose from a list of options, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive.
The site is also a fundraising platform. Anyone can submit their cause, along with a description, an image, the length of time they want to raise money and their funding goal. If approved, it is added to the list of causes customers can to donate to when making purchases.
Kanter is a retail maven, as well as a multimillionaire thanks to her executive stints at IBM, Deloitte & Touche and Microsoft. For the past two decades she's also been an avowed philanthropist, and Boon Supply combines those passions for a Kickstarter-home goods hybrid that taps into the trendy notion of "buying for good."
"Launching Boon Supply Co. fulfills a lifelong dream of mine to make stylish everyday essentials that are accessible to all and give back to those who need it most," she said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive.
The products themselves are carefully sourced to be eco-friendly, BPA-free and designed for repeat use, the company said. And shipping is fast: Shoppers receive their purchase in two to six days. Nonprofits that are recipients of the company's proceeds are featured in detailed stories and Instagram-quality photos.
Boon Supply joins the ranks of companies trying to use retail as a platform for do-gooding. Hat and apparel maker Love Your Melon, for example, gives half of its profits to charity. As of March, the company had donated more than $4.3 million and 133,000 hats.
Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture, said at the NRF's Big Show earlier this year that his company used its own stores to shelter hundreds during Hurricane Harvey and had over 6,000 people attend a Thanksgiving dinner hosted in a Gallery Furniture parking lot. "We can always make the money back but you can't save peoples' lives but once," he said. Others include Home Depot, which has worked on finding housing for veterans, as welll as Patagonia, which has made environmental advocacy part of its brand.
The demand for this kind of activism is growing: 55% of Gen Zers choose brands specifically because they're socially responsible or eco-friendly and 66% of consumers want retailers to take a stand on important political issues.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect shipping times as two to six days, not two days as originally reported.