Top 10 Products for Purpose

Products raising money for a cause is nothing new. Whether it's the plethora of pink items supporting breast cancer or a Livestrong bracelet, we're used to giving money and being rewarded with a promo item.
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Products raising money for a cause is nothing new. Whether it's the plethora of pink items supporting breast cancer or a Livestrong bracelet, we're used to giving money and being rewarded with a promo item. But a new wave of social entrepreneurs, propelled by Profitable Purpose (one of my favorite trends of 2012), is actually creating must-have items that fuel their purpose. Owning these items is a status symbol. They're taking their for-profit expertise and turning it into for-purpose gold. So who made the list of must-haves? A few well knowns, and even more must-knows. Happy shopping!

1. TOMS shoes -- TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie was the trailblazer in this new field of social entrepreneurship. Since 2006, TOMS has given away over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. For every pair purchased, the company donates a pair to a child in need. Besides being a great concept, TOMS are also fashionable, comfy-chic shoes., @TOMS

2. FEED bags -- Launched in 2007 by Lauren Bush Lauren (an Honorary United Nations Spokesperson for the World Food Programme) and Ellen Gustafson (a former UN Communications Officer), the FEED bag has become the it bag among global fashionistas. A portion of the proceeds from each bag supports the WFP. Although the FEED bag is the hottest item, FEED Projects offers five different products ranging from the bag to a teddy bear., @FEEDprojects

3. The Giving Keys necklace -- Singer Caitlin Crosby started this awesome project in 2010 after an "Ah-ha Moment." After falling in love with her motel room key, she decided to put it on a chain. Once she was back home in Los Angeles, she asked a locksmith to engrave the word LOVE on it. On her next tour, she sold old keys with words like HOPE, FAITH, and STRENGTH engraved on them. The project continued to grow, but wasn't complete until Caitlin met Cera and Rob, two homeless 20somethings. She hired them to engrave the keys and ship out orders to customers. The project has changed their lives in a profound way, and that's really Caitlin's goal for all of us. Once you make a key with the word you want, your goal is to give it away to someone who needs it. Engraved LOVE? Give it to someone who needs love. PEACE? You get it. It's a new take on paying it forward, and it's impossibly cool., @thegivingkeys

4. Sevenly t-shirt -- In March of 2009, two young entrepreneurs left six figure jobs to embark on what would become The goal? To figure out how to make other people care about major social problems around the world. They broke down the world's greatest problems into seven categories: hunger, water, slavery, aid, disaster, medical, and poverty. The solution? A unique model based on seven. Every seven days, they would raise money for a new charity via a uniquely designed tee. And $7 from each tee purchased would be donated to the charity., @sevenly

5. Falling Whistles whistle -- The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the world's most deadliest war since WWII, claiming the lives of over 6 million people, with 1,500 people losing their lives daily. Falling Whistles, a campaign for peace in the Congo, started out as a small journal written about boys sent to the frontlines of the war. Armed with whistles, these boys were exposed to the horrors of war, too great to forget. Falling Whistles was established to advocate for and rehabilitate these boys. By buying a whistle, you support this great cause, and become "a whistleblower for peace.", @FallingWhistles

6. F Cancer t-shirt -- When Yael Cohen's mother was recovering from her cancer treatment in 2009, Cohen randomly heard a passerby say " f--k cancer." The next day she made a t-shirt for her mother emblazoned with the phrase. Cohen is passionate about teaching her generation, Gen Y, about early detection of cancer, and her F--k Cancer" tees are must-have items. Nearly 90 percent of all cancers are curable if caught at stage one. It's Cohen's mission to make sure Gen Y is aware of this fact., @letsfcancer

7. Pencils of Promise bead bracelet -- Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun coined Profitable Purpose, and it's his goal to utilize for-profit tactics to promote his nonprofit. Pencils of Promise builds much-needed schools in developing countries, but Braun is doing so much more than that. He realizes that younger donors want to participate in their favorite nonprofits, not just donate. Donors can take trips to places like Laos, where schools are being built, or engage from their seat by watching videos of trips to these locales. Can't make the trip? You can always snap up one of PoP's trendy bead bracelets, knowing you're giving a child somewhere in the world the opportunity for a great education. @PencilsOfPromis

8. Breadpig Awesome Sauce - Breadpig was launched in 2008 by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian as an "uncorporation that deals in delightful geeky wares and helps people..." that "make the world less sucky," according to Awesome Sauce is to Breadpig what salad dressing is to Newman's Own. This is the sauce you need -- especially if you can't cook. While you're on the website, check out a host of other products that range from t-shirts to cookies. @breadpig

9. Charity: Water Thermos hydration bottle -- Almost one billion people live without access to clean drinking water. That fact did not sit well with former NYC club promoter Scott Harrison, who founded Charity: Water in 2006. Since that time, the nonprofit has funded almost 4,000 water projects in 19 countries and raised over $40 million. While you can support this great cause in so many ways, my favorite product is the Thermos Hydration Bottle. Each bottle provides clean, safe drinking water for two people, and keeps it cold for up to 12 hours. @charitywater

10. Warby Parker eyewear -- Launched in 2010 by four Wharton students, Warby Parker (whose name is derived from characters in the unpublished writings of Jack Kerouac) offers affordable glasses to the masses. At just $95 a pair, almost 70 percent less than the average pair, Warby Parker not only offers stylish frames, it offers customers the opportunity to give back. For every pair purchased, a pair is donated to someone in need. @WarbyParker

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