A Good Search

Consumers are increasingly turning to their computers to do at least some shopping online whether it’s for food, clothing, gifts or pet items. Often we log onto to the same big online retailers because they usually have a larger selection, and we trust that they’ll deliver our order on time and without hassles. If we do a Google search, for example, to find products, we often click on the top links on a search result even if they’re paid ads.

What if we could shop with our values and purchase quality products from mission-driven companies that may not always land at the top of a search result?

On Black Friday 2016, DoneGood launched as both a mobile app and as an extension on the Chrome browser. Both are free to download, and they help shoppers find mission-driven companies selling products such as men’s clothing, women’s clothing, kids’ clothing, outdoor gear, shoes, bags, home, personal care & beauty, gifts and pet products.

Products can be filtered by values that support the environment, good labor practices, diversity or sustainable manufacturing processes and/or materials. All the companies featured on DoneGood have businesses practices that benefit their employees, their customers, their supply chain or the environment. Many have also have earned some type of third-party certification such as B Corporation, Fair Trade or GOTS certified organic cotton.

The idea for DoneGood came from founders Cullen Schwarz and Scott Jacobsen, who wanted to vote with their wallets and buy products from companies that aligned with their values.  They both moved to Washington, DC, in 2007 to work in politics. Conversations often centered around buying from companies that treated workers well or didn’t use toxic materials in the manufacturing process or in packaging. They continued to talk about the idea of buying from good companies and sharing this with others.

While Scott entered a Master’s degree program at Harvard, Cullen’s continued to advance in his career as a press secretary. While at Harvard, Scott discovered an incubator called iLab, which helped him and Cullen turn their idea of finding good companies into a business. They found an MIT grad with app development experience. The pilot app featured brick and mortar businesses making a positive impact in the Boston area.

To scale up and feature online businesses, they needed a data scientist. Scott found one who helped develop the search capability to identify online vendors that have third-party green certifications or align with any of the ten categories in the application under the filter heading “What Matters to You?” – Green, Organic/GMO Free, Vegan, Gives Back, Supports Workers, Women/Minority Owned, Made in the USA, Toxin Free, Cruelty Free, Recycled/Upcycled.

Some of the vendors that are featured offer discounts on purchases when you find their company through DoneGood. More features and capabilities will be available soon, and the company is fully funded through 2017 thanks to angel investors. Keep an eye on how DoneGood will help more good companies reach new customers and connect them to companies that are doing well by doing good.