When commerce and charity share a mission

Whoever said that fashion can't make a difference in our world? Surely, if people can wear their hearts on their sleeve, they can definitely wear their cause.

I recently chatted with Kevin Murray, CEO of Jedidiah, who talked about the company's unique ability to artistically connect fashion to social causes so everyone can make a measurable difference in the world. Their collections are available online and in select retailers. *World Vision is the beneficiary of Jedidiah's Spring and Summer 2011 collections.

Tell me about the humanitarian mission behind Jedidiah...

Jedidiah's mission is “to use apparel sales as a vehicle to provide care, support and financial resources to those in need." We do this by partnering with amazing NGO’s each season. Really, our model is the collision of commerce and charity. I believe that social enterprises and business models with embedded generosity have the potential to change history and effect social causes like never before.

How do you think this belief resonates with Jedidiah supporters?

I think their deepest desire is to be part of something bigger than themselves and to make a real difference. America is the most compassionate country the world has ever seen. But maybe people don’t know how to engage or be part of the compassion movement. We ask for consumers to support our apparel brand as a way of getting involved and having a voice. But for that support, we, in turn, owe them a great product, with great design, built with integrity and style. If we don’t measure up to our peers in the apparel industry than we don’t deserve to be in business. A quality product at a fair price is crucial to our growth as a company.

So how did World Vision become part of the picture?

Our family has supported World Vision sponsored children for many years. I have always thought of World Vision as one of the most productive and efficient NGO’s and have been a huge fan for a long time. I love the way World Vision starts at the individual level. The model of changing one person’s life -- that can then change a family, a community, a city and a nation -- is one I believe in with all my heart.

I also know you have a huge heart for the child trafficking cause...

I am the father of three daughters. The idea that children are bought and sold for the pleasure of others is the saddest, darkest part of humanity I have ever seen. So with World Vision, we chose to commit our Spring and Summer 2011 charitable sales to fund a trauma recovery center in Cambodia that will help hundreds of children who are rescued from this life.

We focus on partnerships and campaigns that support the human condition. Child trafficking is a cause that the human condition suffers from greatly.

So what does Aaron Chang bring to the Jedidiah/World Vision table?

Aaron is an artist with a lens as his tool. I wanted someone to help document through photography the connection between Jedidiah and World Vision. Aaron jumped at the chance to be part of our trip to Cambodia last summer.

One thing we really believe as a company is to make a difference for the people we work with on an everyday basis, too. Aaron has traveled the world as the most famous surf photographer ever and he puts our trip to Cambodia at the top of his list of trips that have impacted his life. That's an honor to me.

What's next for Jedidiah?

A lot! We have actually trademarked the name “Made For Good” and are building a brand consortium of different brand names with different levels of distribution -- all will leverage our mission statement and our embedded generosity model. This approach will expand our footprint and make our overall company more effective, ultimately making an even bigger difference for our partners and NGO’s that benefit from our sales.

Read more from World Vision on our partnership with Jedidiah: Jedidiah Clothing and Bulldog Drummond Partner with World Vision, Announce Apparel Collection for Japan, and also on the Jedidiah Blog.

Aaron Chang and Kevin Murray in Cambodia with World Vision. (WV/2010)

Kevin Murray and Keith Kall (World Vision) in Cambodia, May 2010.

Read more on the World Vision Blog about: human trafficking Interview

    Comments

    Love this mission! This is a business model I'm exploring with a friend, seeking a means to combine commerce and charity, as you described. Orphan care and missions is my heartbeat, and as a former business owner-turned-stay-at-home-mom and my friend's background in NPs, we're exploring how the Lord may use our passions and backgrounds to really make much of Him. Thank you so much for your innovative thinking and your wonderful undertaking! God bless this mission!

    I went on a mission trip in 1975 w/World Vision. It was the most awesome experience! I went to Colombia, S.A. and enjoyed the trip so much! It really made an impact on my life! I'm glad to see businesses supporting such a wonderful organization! Thank you Jedidiah!

    I follow World Vision on facebook, so when I saw the plug for Jedidiah, I was intrigued, and opened up the link. One of the first images that appeared was a model, in a skimpy swimsuit, sitting in a very provocative manner. It's bad enough when we are faced with so much garbage, as we navigate this life of ours, but it's even more disappointing to me to see that kind of image posted on a company with such a great heart and love for others. Truly, can we not do better than that for our children? For our daughters? And yes, even for our sons? I find the picture ironic, in light of Kevin's words: "I am the father of three daughters. The idea that children are bought and sold for the pleasure of others is the saddest, darkest part of humanity I have ever seen.I am the father of three daughters. The idea that children are bought and sold for the pleasure of others is the saddest, darkest part of humanity I have ever seen." Not to be crass, but I wonder just how much "pleasure" a lot folks are getting from that image. Hmmm...great words, but somehow they fall flat on my ears. I was ready to support the company; not so interested anymore...

    June, I cannot even imagine what image you are referring to. We dont sell womens swimsuits and have never done any provocative photos in our photo shoots. Maybe you saw Jedidiah on some other retail website??? Not sure, but there is nothing like this in our brand or in our imagery.

    Kevin--Thank you so much for responding. The image is on Jedidiah Clothing's FB page. Once you are on that page, open up "photos", and look at the second group of photos (Videos and Photos). You can't miss it! It shows a model wearing what I assumed was one of the company's designs. There is a reference to "Team Menace". The tag on the picture reads: "Hope to see you there for the best tattoo, extreme sports and girls updates daily !!" Actually, there are at least three posted by the same group. I should have thought this through before I posted my comment, because it appears that someone is just messing with your page. The pictures seem to be pretty inconsistent with your worldview. Thanks again~

    Thanks June, all those rouge photos are now off our Facebook page. For some reason we were tagged on those photos but all have been removed.

    I am relocating to cebu, philippines this summer.i have felt a calling to help others raise their standards.I plan to contact church groups to assist in rehab buildings, or educate children,If you have any programs in cebu. I would appreciate the opportunity to assist wherever I am needed. Take care and god bless.

    Thanks for the comment, Jeff. What an outstanding calling to relocate to the Philippines. I'll keep this in mind, and if I hear of any programs in the Cebu area, I'll let you know via email. Blessings for your journey ahead.

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