3. Don't expect nonprofits will jump for joy when you ring them — expect skepticism.
Once we identified that Mann Deshi — which focuses on female entrepreneurship in India — was the foundation we wanted partner with, we reached out to the founder, Chetna Sinha, but she was, understandably, wary of us.
There is a misconception that foundations will blindly partner with anyone in return for donations. We needed to build up a relationship and trust with them, so we visited them in Satara, Maharashtra. The visit helped us see where the donations go and how the funding is spent. Sinha also needed to make sure that we were good enough to represent them, as we are not their only benefactors. It is incredibly important to keep in constant contact and build a relationship. As Mann Deshi is a relatively small foundation, we often get updates and personal success stories of the incredible work they are doing and can share it with our customers.
4. You are only as good as how your goods are made.
The clothing industry is among the biggest polluters. In recent years, we've seen a rise in fast fashion, which generates cheaply made and disposable garments in large quantities. With that in mind, people have become aware of their responsibility to buy into conscious consumerism. There are a few things you need to factor in when considering how to go about creating your product, such as where it is made, what will it be made from, and what is the life span of your product?
As a product developer you need to take social responsibility for how your goods are made and that only comes through research and transparency. You need to understand where your merchandise is coming from.
5. Haste makes waste, and that's not acceptable for an ethical company.
One eco label that has stood out is Reformation, founded by Yael Aflalo in 2009. After visiting China and seeing the reality of what the garment industry has become, she became determined to create an eco-friendly brand. Aflalo began designing and manufacturing in downtown Los Angeles. She opened her own factory and started to watch the trends. By noticing what her customer like and dislike she can create demand without the waste. In 2014, the company's revenue was $25 million and in 2015 it raised $12 million from outside investors.
Being part of a social enterprise is very rewarding. The business will go through many ups and down, but your drive will ultimately come from your values. When starting your company the best advice I can give you is to take baby steps, plan everything to the last detail. Now that Bella Kinesis is two years old we understand the trends better and can start to scale up. We are able to shed light on bigger issues.
Remember, the only way to make a difference is by building something sustainable.
— By Shaleena Chanrai, co-founder and art director of Bella Kinesis, a sportswear brand that helps fund business education for women in rural India through customer purchases. Chanrai is also a YPO Next Generation member.
CNBC and YPO have formed an exclusive editorial partnership consisting of regional "Chief Executive Networks" in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. These Chief Executive Networks are made up of a sample of YPO's global network of 24,000 top executives from 120 countries who are on the front lines of the economy and run companies that collectively generate $6 trillion in annual revenue.
This story is part of NBCU's Share Kindness. Follow the series on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #ShareKindness