This Homegrown Fashion Brand Is Embracing Social Consciousness This Homegrown Fashion Brand Is Embracing Social Consciousness In a season when simply gazing at the news or scrolling through Facebook feeds can elevate one’s heart rate, finding an impactful way to give back and make a difference can be tricky. In an era with a renewed thirst for checking the accuracy of sources, if one isn’t a billionaire, what is the most effective way to help others and ignite change? Samantha Pleet, the founder of the independent fashion brand, Samantha Pleet, was faced with this very task and wanted to feel involved. So she and her husband (and co-creator) came up with small opportunities to let their voice ring loud and clear by using their 10-year-old homegrown brand. Not only did they donate 100 percent of their proceeds to Planned Parenthood the weekend of the history-making Women’s March, they also gave 10 percent of their proceeds on Black Friday. After the appalling and unwarranted immigration ban, they donated 10 percent of a week’s worth of sales to the ACLU. Here, Pleet shares why this move was important not only for her, but for women everywhere. What inspired you to branch out on your own? “While in school I did internships with the likes of 3 As Four, Harper’s Bazaar and a lingerie designer. I started my line with the minimal knowledge I gained from these experiences. I wanted to design clothes that I was looking for but could not find, and I was young and had the energy. I never considered anything else. We have grown from just a few small boutiques carrying the line, to working with about 30 select retailers and our own online store. We are still entirely independent and work with small boutiques and, on occasion, we have collaborated with larger companies like Urban Outfitters and Wolverine. What made you decide to give 100 percent of your proceeds to Planned Parenthood? We were so inspired by the Women’s March and the energy that it brought that during the event and the weekend that followed we wanted to give all our sales proceeds to PP. While PP has not personally affected my life, it has impacted that of so many of my friends. I just gave birth to a daughter and I want Planned Parenthood to be there for her if she needs it. I want to do what I can to help the world around me, in the ways that I can make a difference. I think that if I can give money when I’m having a sale, that can make a very big difference to the organizations that I want to support. Why is giving back an important part of business? Giving back with donations is something we can do to directly benefit the world we live in. When we have a sale it is a great time to generate enough sales so we can make a contribution that will actually make a difference. Not only are you giving to a cause you care about, but you are also able to promote your cause and bring awareness to the issues. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs who want to make charitable giving part of their business plan? We should be taking a stand on issues all the time, but especially now we cannot be silent. In this age, we have channels through social media to speak out, so we should use it. It’s a balance to communicate with your customer without preaching to them, but speaking out and donations from sales are a great way to bring awareness and make a difference. What advice do you give for figuring out what your ’cause’ is? We have been giving to organizations like Planned Parenthood, Earthjustice, The Southern Poverty Law Center, but there are also many more. Following activists and artists who are doing amazing things like Sarah Sophie Flicker, ShiShi Rose, Jenna Gribbon, and Tennessee Thomas have been a great inspiration as well. There are many organizations to donate and bring awareness to, so do your research on the causes you feel most passionate about. Do you think it’s an important time for a company to support women’s causes? Right now, so much funding is being pulled by the U.S. that it’s up to businesses and individuals to make up the difference. Issues like the environment, Women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, LGBT rights, and immigration are all in jeopardy, and it is beyond troubling. I want my daughter to have the right to choose her own destiny whatever it may be and I’m sure that is the view of our customers as well. Our clothes are made with love and we want to give some of that back. Processed with VSCO with a9 preset What’s next for the line? Children’s wear and shoes are in the near future. I think it’s more important now than ever as a young women to run a successful company and inspire others. Lindsay Tigar Lindsay Tigar is a writer and editor in New York. Her work has appeared in Self, Refinery29, Bustle, Prevention and many more. When she's not traveling or spending time with friends, she's going to the latest boxing class, trying a new food trend or volunteering.