I’ve had the privilege of watching my grandfather, a serial entrepreneur, build many businesses over the course of his career—all the while, giving back to his community every step of the way. Growing up in Korea, during the Asian Financial Crisis, I saw that businesses could play an intimate role in the community, and make a big impact, one that could be good or bad.
I once heard Nathan Swartz, the founder of Timberland speak, and came to deeply admire businesses like Tom’s Shoes, Ethos Water, and Timberland all of whom incorporate giving back into the very tapestry of the business without compromising their business model.
Back when I worked as a consultant, I attended a conference where I heard Nathan Swartz, the founder of Timberland speak. His approach was inspiring—and so different than how most corporations build their business, as he chose to prioritize philanthropy right alongside sound business economics.
I wanted to learn more, and traveled to rural Thailand, Uganda, China and the outskirts of Korea to work with savvy organizations that were building orphanages and hospitals in sustainable and self-sufficient ways. I volunteered with a microfinance organization in Uganda to learn how business and philanthropy could go hand-in-hand. And in fact, triple bottom line businesses could be even more successful than just bottom line focused businesses.
I was blown away when I heard Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, and a leading social entrepreneur speak about how businesses could play such a giant role in the community – and it would be more financially and socially enriching for everyone. It makes sense, but to hear about the impact, and the virtuous cycle in such concrete and vivid detail was enlightening for me.
Peach & Lily isn’t a social enterprise or a non-profit, but one of our core values from day one was to get involved with our community and give back in ways that we could afford. We’re not a huge enterprise, but I believe that if we don’t start getting involved and giving back when we’re smaller, we’re not going to do it when we’re bigger.
So in 2015, when we reached a place where our foundation and infrastructure could support looking outside our organization and getting involved, we thought about how we could give back.
We wanted to pair up with an organization that was local, to begin with, so that we could get more intimately involved. We didn’t want to just give them money, but we wanted to meet the organization, see the impact of their work, go out and volunteer as a team, and support in whatever in-person ways we could. We also wanted to work with an organization that put donor funding to high impact use – not just directly benefiting each individual beneficiary, but in working to change a broken system altogether. Given that we feel most delighted when we see that we can empower our customers to restore their skin (and sometimes, even, their confidence in learning how to better take care of themselves), when we found Restore NYC, we wanted to get involved right away.
Restore NYC is such an incredible non-profit that seeks to rescue and restore sex trafficked foreign nationals trapped as sex slaves in New York City. They focus on foreign nationals due to the extra layer of shackles there as these individuals often don’t know their rights, can’t speak the language, and don’t have a wide support network in the US. Further, Restore NYC is run by a group of badass individuals who are so smart and generous in spirit, and most of all, innovative in how they think about sustainable restoration. They’re often seen as a beacon among nonprofits for best-in-class work in how to make real lasting change. The work that they do is important and impactful, and every time we meet with them, we leave a little bit more inspired and in awe of how with persistence and dedication, seemingly insurmountable social injustice can be slowly righted.
We’ve been working with them throughout 2015, but this holiday season, we want to dedicate the full month of December to spotlighting this amazing organization that helps women New Yorkers might run into on a daily basis. Did you know that there are 4 times as many massage parlors in New York City than there are Starbucks? Did you know that these women live among us, are riding the subways with us, and are silently suffering in invisible shackles commuting to these massage parlors because they’re systematically and structurally not allowed to leave?
However, Restore NYC provides real ways to make a difference and help these women. $100 can feed a sex trafficked survivor for one month. $1000 can provide shelter for eight women for ten days, during which they can safely explore options to not just escape their captors, but also to find a way to make a living and become self-sufficient. Every dollar here counts.
Here's one of the beautiful Restore NYC beneficiaries in her home in Mexico before she was tricked into becoming a sex slave.
Her horrifying reality that's happening right here in New York City.
With amazing organizations like Restore NYC, these women CAN be restored!
Visit our Restore Collection where we’ve picked some of our most popular items that hydrate and nourish skin, so that you can restore your skin, and restore others. 100% of net proceeds from this collection will go to Restore NYC this month.
Every Friday this December, we’re also doing a special #FridayFeature where we bring awareness to this cause so that you can help spread awareness of Restore NYC and the great work that they do.
We’d love for you to get involved, spread the word, and share in the giving this holiday season.
With hope for our community,