As entrepreneurial trends continue to follow consumer tendencies, more social entrepreneurs are continuing to rethink the way we do business and how we can support causes with our consumption patterns.
The much documented Millennial generation has had much to do with this transition. From wanting a career that “actually matters” to using their purchasing power to launch and grow movements like the sharing economy, there is a fundamental shift occurring where doing more good for people and the planet is more important than conspicuous consumption. For Fair + Simple, an e-commerce startup created in Peoria, it’s about providing a platform to connect people with products they’re already going to buy, but by selecting something from a mission-driven provider to make your dollars go even further.
We caught up with Molly Acord the Founder and CEO of Fair + Simple to chat about her business and the good she hopes can come from her responsible buying and giving platform.
What is a fair and the most simple way of explaining what F+S is?
Fair+Simple is a meaningful gift that’s simple to give. It’s fair – every item in our collection is fairly traded from companies that give back. It’s simple – a Fair+Simple card can be redeemed for ANY single item in our gift collection. For someone that is hard to shop for, let them choose their gift!
What was the process for starting up your business?
The process of starting Fair+Simple involved intricate web development, branding, transparent product sourcing, business licensing, and immense personal and professional growth.
Was there any inspiration from another business model that you saw somewhere else that helped you in starting F+S?
Fair + Simple is inspired by people who are seeking opportunity in the marketplace. The mission and vision statements flowed effortlessly and quickly, because they were deeply inspired from companies that are busing business as a tool for social change.
Can you talk about the need in the market you’re filling?
Fair + Simple bridges the gap from an easy gift, like a gift card, and something that is still meaningful and has an impact. It is a gift that gives twice – once to the recipient, and once to the person behind the product.
How many products do you have in your collection?
There are over 50 products from cause-based companies in our collection. We roll out new collections every spring/summer and fall/winter.
How do you go about finding them?
The social entrepreneurs and businesses are a very collaborative circle of people, so the connections are made quickly and willingly. Many of the companies in my collection are businesses that I followed for several years before starting F+S. Others have discovered us and reached out to see if they would also fit in our collection. It is always a joy to find out about companies that are giving back, ranging from clean water initiatives, restoration homes, safe and consistent job employment, rehabilitation from homelessness, educational sponsorships, and so much more!
What are the immediate needs for a business like yours and that has been established for as long as you have?
An immediate need for Fair+Simple is to get the word out there!
Have you had anyone mentor you or serve as an advisor to your startup?
My brother, a skilled helicopter salesman, connected me with his business mentor. He has been an excellent resource for me. There are many other business leaders who I respect and follow, either personally or professionally.
What’s next for F+S?
The next advancement for F+S is “Fair + Simple: Delivered.” This is a service we offer for someone to get all their shopping done for the year in one sitting. A customer would enter each occasion for the year that they need to have a Fair+Simple gift delivered, and we take care of the rest. For example, a customer could get their mother’s day, anniversary, brother’s birthday, and teacher appreciation all done at once. Custom gift messages can also be included for the individual person. We aim to simplify the gift giving process while keeping it meaningful. We will be kick-starting this in the fall, so stay tuned!