This December will mark three years since Oliver Madison decided to scratch his entrepreneurial itch and form Me to We [Responsible Style], an organic clothing manufacturer which donates 50 percent of its profits to charity. While Madison appreciates his companys bottom line growth, for him, this venture means more than sales and returns on investment. The growth Madison is most excited about today, is philosophical and social.
Society is on the cusp of exponential growth, exclaims Madison. Think how far weve come in accepting the issue of global warming. Now that green policy is no longer a partisanship issue, we can begin to see real change occur. To become a catalyst for social change is why Madison started his business in the first place.
Following graduate school and a stint in investment banking, Madison felt destined for something more meaningful. He returned to his native Toronto and rekindled his friendship with former Harvard classmate Marc Kielburger, who was busy with his own venture: Free the Children, a charity devoted to building sustainable communities in the rural areas of Kenya, Sierra Leone, China and Sri Lanka.
Kielburger and his brother Craig, an international rights activist and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, created Free the Children to liberate youth and communities from social and economic victimization and to provide the tools and funds needed for change. This philosophy is what sparked Madisons entrepreneurial vision.
I never believed that to succeed in business someone else had to fail, Madison stated. The competitive outcome desired shouldnt be a zero sum game. My talks with Marc helped me realize how together we could create a win-win business model that would promote social change, philanthropy, and corporate profitability.
This social enterprise is centered on the Me to We philosophy, focusing less on Me and more on We local communities, the nation and the world to ultimately improve everyones lives through collective outreach and action. The clothing company Me to We Style evolved from this worldwide movement and philosophy.
As the environmental and social responsibility movements continue to gain momentum, more people will recognize that their purchase choices are paramount to political votes, Madison stated. Society can choose to support companies who promote fair labor, organic materials and processes and sustainability, or not. Madison is relying on the former choice. In a time of increasing social and environmental responsibility, Madison says individuals, corporations, charities and businesses want to work with companies that are aligned with these values.
To meet these expectations, Me to We Style provides only the highest quality products that are not only stylish and comfortable, but are manufactured using certified organic, sustainable materials, and support ethical manufacturing and supply chain practices. Me to We Responsible Styles fabrics are knitted and dyed in North America and it is the only apparel company to have been successfully audited by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization. Moreover, Me to We Style donates 50 percent of all its proceeds to its charity partner Free the Children.
These exciting initiatives perfectly illustrate Me to We Styles better clothes for a better world approach, explained Madison. By enabling organizations to include our social and ethical responsibility messages into their value proposition, were helping them create new opportunities for their customers to make a statement about their own values and brands.
Me to We Styles business model may very well be revolutionizing the corporate world. Madison hopes so. He is encouraging other companies to join this movement, add a similar philanthropic component to their business model, and help truly build a sustainable global community that makes a difference. No wonder he is so excited!
To learn more about Oliver Madison, Me to We Style and Free the Children, visit www.metowestyle.com.
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