For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Trend Tribe: Doing Good While Looking Good

Today I am excited to introduce you to Samantha Cooper. She is a former Babson classmate of mine and is currently a trendsetting entrepreneur. She started her own company called Trend Tribe, which aims to sell the trendiest jewelry at affordable prices.

Believe it or not, at one point Sam struggled to get a job. The summer after her freshman year in college she attempted to get an internship without any luck. But rather than giving up and taking any old summer job, she took the entrepreneurial approach and decided to design and sell her own jewelry. Now Samantha is on a mission to help other women going through the same struggle she did.

Her group of college campus ambassadors, also knows as Trendsetters, sell jewelry on their campuses at trunk shows they organize and host. The goal is to provide these lucky ladies with hands on entrepreneurial experience.

Trend Tribe also believes in giving back! Portions of trunk show sales are donated to a philanthropic cause chosen by the Trendsetters. And along with that, Trend Tribe is honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating $5 for every purchase of these hot, hot, hot, pink studs.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Trend Tribe is donating $5 for every sale of these hot pink studs.

So I reached out to Samantha for an interview and here is her inside scoop on fashion, starting your own business, and giving back.

What is a typical day like in the shoes of Samantha Cooper? Walk me through a typical day in the life…

As they always say, no day is a typical day. I have a joke that I hardly sleep in the same bed for more than 3 nights in a row because I’m always traveling. 

On days I’m not traveling, I start my day by checking in with our Trendsetters and providing one-on-one mentorship, training, and support. I make sure not to schedule any meetings from 9-11 so that I can focus on the Trendsetters 100%. 

After that, it’s all up in the air! I’m usually on the phone with our team of interns and freelancers – mostly everyone works remotely. At night, you can find me at networking events or grabbing dinner with other entrepreneurs. Building relationships is essential when you’re starting a business.

What have been your most and least favorite parts of starting your company?

My favorite part is seeing Trendsetters succeed on campus. One of our Trendsetters did over $1,000 in sales at her very first event and we were able to raise $300+ to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. 

On top of all that, she now has a killer resume with tangible results that not just shows, but prove her skills in fashion and business. It’s a huge confidence boost and at the end of the day our mission is to empower young women while giving back. 

It’s a win-win and nothing is more exciting than seeing your vision come to life.

My least favorite part is dealing with the legal and accounting side of the business. Boring, but so essential. Having enough discipline to deal with the things you don’t love is not easy! 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to budding entrepreneurs?

“It may not all happen today, but it’s all going to happen” is a quote I came up with when I realized I was beating myself up for not having everything “perfect.” 

When you have so many ideas, but limited time and resources it can feel like you’re chasing your tail. No matter how many hours a day you work, it’s impossible for everything to be perfect. Beating yourself up about it isn’t going to help either. It sucks the fun out of living your life’s dream. 

Now, I focus on putting one foot in front of the other and taking everything one step at a time. Have faith that it will all happen, even if it doesn’t all happen today.

Why did you choose to make giving back to philanthropic causes a part of your business plan?

It actually wasn’t in the original business plan, but once I started bringing on Trendsetters and working with them to plan their monthly events, it was clear that philanthropy was something that was near and dear to all of their hearts. Of course, I’m all about giving back and I was inspired to see that Trendsetters were more passionate about donating their commission than keeping it for themselves. 

Now, we donate 10-20% of all product sales to the different philanthropies that Trendsetters choose to work with. I’m so proud to say that it was our Trendsetters who sparked this crucial element of our business. No matter what everyone says, millennials are passionate about giving back and they’re going to change the world. I believe that 100%

How would you describe Trend Tribe’s style?

As the name says, our style is trendy! We’re all about bringing the latest fashions to the mass consumer at a super affordable price. Everything in the collection is $50 and under. Oftentimes people say our jewelry reminds them of Kate Spade or J.Crew which is a huge compliment!

Finally, what is your favorite accessory?

Is this a real question? I can’t pick! Hmmm, I guess I would have to go with statement necklaces. They’ve become my signature. When I traveled to Boston for a big trip I had so much jewelry with me that I couldn’t bring clothes. I wore an outfit and brought an outfit and just rotated the statement necklace. It does the trick! Statement necklaces are also great for networking – people are always complimenting my jewelry which gives me an opportunity to talk about the company and spark up a conversation. 

And there you have it! Great advice, great prices, great deeds, and great jewelry! Does it get any better? Why yes it does.  My lucky readers can use the code forthegreatergoods25 to receive free shipping on orders over $25. So head over to trend-tribe.com and pick out some stylish pieces. You know you want to. I’ve already got a few on my wish list…

Trend Tribe Wish List

Black Cord Layering Bracelet / Deco Blush Statement Earrings / Tortoise Statement Necklace

If you’re a college student and interested in becoming a Trendsetter, you can apply here. And if you still haven’t gotten enough fashion and entrepreneurship inspiration, you can head over to the Trend Tribe blog to get more career, life, and fashion advice.


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/āl’kǝ-mē/: the art of transforming something common into something precious

I came across Alkemie while browsing through Anthropologie online (one of my many non-productive pastimes) and knew I had to spread the word about this awesome jewelry company. The husband and wife duo behind Alkemie not only create beautiful and unique pieces, but are also big believers in sustainable business practices. All of their products are made by hand in Los Angeles with 100% reclaimed metal.

The jewelry makers say they take inspiration from: “our love for each other, our two daughters, Mother Earth and all of her creatures, and our passion for treasures from the past”. How precious! And each piece has a story behind it. For instance, the Double Feather Bangle’s description states: “The bird is always an inspirational animal to us!  We love the way these two feathers play off each other in this bangle.  It’s both delicate and fierce like many birds of prey.”  Every Alkemie item is truly a meaningful, wearable piece of art.

I have picked out a few Alkemie bracelets and put them in a slideshow below. I tried to find a wide variety. I focused on bracelets to help myself narrow down a small selection to show you, but they also make necklaces, earrings, rings, and belt buckles, all of which are equally beautiful. There are also men’s sizes available in most of the leather bracelets and a few of the bangles.  You can check out all that Alkemie offers here. I will warn you that they are a tad expensive.  I would guess the average price is over $200, but the quality, craftsmanship, and attention to detail are well worth it.

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Alkemie also believes that a big part of being a sustainable pioneer is supporting causes that are important to you. Therefore, each month Alkemie picks a cause they are passionate about and donates a portion of each sale to it. This month Alkemie is donating 5% of each sale to the Seva Foundation, which works to prevent blindness and restore sight worldwide. You can learn more at the Seva Foundation website.


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Made By Survivors

The wonderful company I am going to tell you about today is called Made by Survivors. I did a case study about this venture in college and I think it was the first time I really understood the implications of social entrepreneurship, the complexity of helping, and the entrepreneurial strategy behind it all. So I kind of consider this company the spark that inspired me to create this whole blog and I hope this post does it justice.

Made by Survivors sells beautiful jewelry that is made by women who have been rescued from human trafficking in Nepal, India, Thailand, and Cambodia. The US Department of State defines human trafficking as “activities involved when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service”. Those who suffer from human trafficking can be subject to: forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, and child soldiers.

Made By Survivors

In the beginning stages of this company, the founders realized that rescuing these women simply wasn’t enough. This is because often times the rescued women had nowhere to go or means of an income after their rescue and eventually would be forced back into what becomes the vicious circle of human trafficking. Therefore, Made by Survivors came up with a business strategy to empower the women that had been rescued to insure that they do not end up back on the trafficking circuit.  They offer the women classes in jewelry design and entrepreneurship in order for these women to become financially educated and stable. The women use these skills to create all the jewelry that is sold.

BraceletThis is a Made by Survivors bracelet I got about four years ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if it lasted many more years. Unfortunately, this bracelet is no longer offered, but I have picked out a few necklaces to show you that I have had my eye on.

Necklaces

The first one is a sort of toned down statement necklace, not quite as big of a statement as perhaps a big, chunky J.Crew piece, but the bright colors do make it stand out. I like to think of it as a picture of a setting sun on top of a mountain. Does anyone else see that too? This next necklace (pictured on Sarah Hyland from Modern Family!!!!!!!! and on the far right) is more simple, versatile, and conveniently more expensive. It costs $90 and the previous one is about half that cost. They also have a variety of jewelry for men/unisex like the one pictured below, which costs $80.

Necklace 2

I will leave you with the words of the co-founder/president of Made by Survivor, Sarah Symons: “To be honest, my first instinct was to avoid the pain by turning away from the problem.  “What can I do about it?,” I thought.  Like many people, I was paralyzed by the enormity of the problem.” And look at all that she has accomplished! I feel like a lot of people will be able to relate to these words. The moral of this story is that even though some problems seem intimidatingly too big to handle, you can still find ways to help. All of the jewelry can be bought at: http://www.madebysurvivors.com.