2019 Live Más Scholarship recipient Amelia Thomas is the epitome of a Passioneer – the kind of person whose passion and pioneering spirit burns so brightly, they don’t just influence their peers, they inspire them.
While working towards a master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology at the University of Southern California, Amelia is also running her own social enterprise and preparing for a career as a social impact consultant. Using her personal experience with a social enterprise, she hopes to help companies authentically incorporate a social mission into their business model.
For many brands, the product comes first while social impact, if any, comes second. That’s not the case for Resident, Amelia’s socially responsible clothing company, as it makes an impact on the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. When combining her love for fashion and philanthropy, the cause was the guiding principle of her business model.
“After volunteering with a local organization in Los Angeles assisting people experiencing homelessness, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of long-term. I have loved fashion for as long as I can remember, so I thought, what better way to combine my passions than by starting a clothing brand with a mission to help others?” Ten percent of Resident’s proceeds go directly towards organizations providing resources for people in Los Angeles, and every month Amelia volunteers and connects in person with the individuals these organizations serve.
Interested in creating a company with a cause? Amelia shares her tips for narrowing your focus to have the greatest impact for good.
Meeting the people you want to help will deeply connect you to a cause and allow you to learn what resources will truly provide them the most value. Money isn’t always the best solution. Do your due diligence to find out what will make a lasting impact and focus on that.
Get involved in your local community. Look on campus to see what opportunities are available in your area and participate in as many service events as you can. When you find the cause you identify most strongly with, you’ll know.
Keep it personal
Don’t worry about what works best for marketing. Rather, identify the cause that you are genuinely passionate about. You could help bring awareness to a cause that while special to you, is maybe not as well known.
Inspire your customers
To make a real impact and long-standing change, it’s crucial that you educate your customers on what your business is doing to help the cause, why what you are doing is necessary, and provide opportunities for customers to get personally involved too. “After making a purchase, Resident customers receive an email indicating exactly where the proceeds of their purchase went and are invited to join me in future volunteer opportunities.”
Put cause at the forefront
Focus your energy primarily on your mission. Selling a product you’re proud of is important, but creating a positive impact is everlasting.