This Upcycled Jewellery Startup has Supported More Than 40 Charities

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JoJo Rings' founder shares how to give back in business.

About three years ago, a uni student in South Carolina looked at a dusty old key and thought, “I can make a ring out of that.” So came JoJo Rings, an up-cycling jewellery outfit currently supplying more than 175 boutiques across the US. And while these re-purposed, buffed-to-a-polish key accessories make a chic addition to any digit (certainly according to a growing celebrity fan-base), they symbolise far more than a fashion statement. “I started my company to shed light on important stories and issues,” says founder and creative director Jordan Dudden. “We donate $5 of every sale to nonprofits [and have] been fortunate to donate over US$40,000 to life-saving nonprofits and partner with over 40 organisations.”

Want to give back but not sure where to begin? Jordan shares how she incorporated charity into her business model…

1. Start early

Philanthropy was built into Jordan’s business from day dot. “My grandmother – who my first keys were from – was very passionate about giving back and really inspired me at a young age to have a passion for helping others,” she says. “After deciding to start JoJo Rings, I knew that I wanted one of the key principles of the business to be about giving back.” It might be tempting to get some cashflow before you start doling out, but Jordan found there were benefits to sharing her profits from the outset. “It was great to have a nonprofit spread the word about us from the beginning. From a customer’s perspective, seeing that their purchase can also help someone in need makes it a win-win.”

2. Be specific

JoJo donates US$5 from each sale, and that’s that. “I was sick of hearing companies being vague about the number that they donate,” says Jordan. “A lot of times a ‘percentage of sales’ is the only thing they say to customers and I really wanted my customers to know exactly how much of their purchase would be donated.” Why was a fiver the right amount for this biz? “It’s significant enough for us to make an impact while giving us enough margin to grow our business. We are able to contribute more, both money and influence, as we become a bigger company.”

3. Share the love

Rather than choose only one charity to support, JoJo donates to a fresh one each month. “We really wanted to be able to help as many different types of organisations as possible. We love being able to support anything from domestic violence, to eating disorders, to giving underprivileged children opportunities to learn and grow.” Another plus is it personalises the experience for their customer. “We’ve received collections of keys from college campuses, high schools and historical buildings. We make them into rings and sell these special collections on our website and donate to the cause of choice by those who send in the keys.”

4. Keep it simple

So what does a partnership with a charity actually look like? “A typical partnership is very simple,” says Jordan, who doesn’t thrust any expectations on the organisations she supports. JoJo’s has a nonprofit partnership form on their website, where charities can flag their interest. “We share who we are donating to each month on our website, our social outlets and via email promotion. We don’t make anything mandatory for the partnering organisation and love when the relationship is very open and collaborative. Getting to know these organisations and being able to donate money to make a difference is the best part of my job.”

Join the #keysforchange movement at jojorings.com

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