KIND Advice for Bra Maker: Support Matters


Photo via Drew Mackie on Flickr

KIND Healthy Snacks is more than a business. The company seeks to inspire and to celebrate kind acts. In addition to making delicious snack bars that are good for you and your tastebuds, KIND has a social mission: to make the world a kinder place.

This weekend I read a story on another business that is aiming to make the world a better place. Megan Grassell is the 18-year-old behind a new company called Yellowberry. Her goal is to sell age-appropriate bras that are attractive, comfortable and modest. Megan wants to change the bra industry and people’s attitudes about undergarments for young teens.

“There shouldn’t be so much of a hurry to grow up so fast,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

As the father of a 14-year-old girl, I love what Megan is trying to do. I want her to succeed. But what do I know about running a business? I’m just a blogger! But this is where KIND Healthy Snacks comes in. I spoke with them just last week on my CauseTalk Radio podcast and they know a thing or two about starting and growing a cause-related business.

I don’t pretend to speak for anyone, but I bet if Megan from Yellowberry had a conversation with KIND founder Dan Lubetzky, he’d have some good advice for her. After all, Dan led KIND to $120 million in sales in 2012.

Lead with an outstanding product. Like any great business, KIND leads with its products. The bar’s value proposition says it all: Kind to your body, your taste buds and the world. It’s no coincidence that “the world” comes last. A bar that tastes good comes first. First and foremost, Yellowberry has to be focused on creating a product teen girls will buy. The product makes the mission possible.

Cause isn’t the marketing, but it belongs in the marketing mix. Look at how KIND has grown from a million dollar company in 2004 to over a $100 million today. They’ve succeeded because of product quality, guerrilla marketing and social media—among other things. And its cause-focus helps KIND stand out. A social mission will help Yellowberry, too.

But too many cause-preneurs lead with< the cause and think the waters will part at the mention of their social mission. Maybe it's because cause begins with the letter "c." But the only place cause comes before product, marketing, social media, community and distribution is in the dictionary. Your social mission will contribute about 5% to your success. Maybe a little more, but don’t expect miracles just because you have a social mission. Lubetzky learned the hard way with a previous business that you can’t lead with cause. Almost everything needs to come before it. But, when added, cause makes everything better.

KIND and Yellowberry are different businesses, but they share common goals: to deliver outstanding products and to change the world. Thanks to its KIND Movement, Dan and his team have built a throng of passionate brand supporters.

Yellowberry needs to build the same kind of fan base and strike the right balance between margin and mission. Like the snack bar industry, the bra industry is very competitive. To succeed, Yellowberry will need all the support it can get.