Internet entrepreneur on green media and technology.
USELESS.org encourages giving through shopping
Hip, new website lets you chose a charitable donation with each purchase.
Mon, Apr 06, 2009 at 07:09 PM
A new fashion company just launched last week called USELESS
. Ten percent of every purchase goes to one of three development projects -- Nicaragua, Sierra Leone or India.
Aside from the cool branding, their innovative website allows you to choose where your contribution goes. Right now they have just a few products -- a messenger bag made from recycled billboards, a heavy-duty water bottle and a 100 percent recycled notebook. But expect to see both the number of products and charitable projects grow.
USELESS joins the growing rank of cause-inspired retail and media sites, a trend that got kick-started with the launch of GOOD magazine
back in 2006. GOOD allowed subscribers to funnel their subscription fee to one of 20 nonprofit organizations.
There certainly is an inherent tension in the brand -- while subtly advocating for us to "use less" there is an implicit "buy more." It is after all a retail site, but perhaps this is a necessary tension. Americans are the master race of consumerism, and what better way to change what it means to consume by "infecting" the process of shopping with a good dosage of philanthropy.
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