If you’re not a sports fan, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will make you one. He’s handsome, charming and spends a ridiculous amount of time volunteering for charitable organizations and visiting children’s hospitals. He’s stylish, successful and one of the top quarterbacks in the National Football League. Turns out he’s also an entrepreneur and is pairing his love of fashion, business acumen and charity all in one.
In March, Wilson launched “Good Man Brand,” a mid-range fashion line of well-crafted clothes and shoes with a humanitarian touch. For each item purchased, the company will donate $3 to Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on empowering today’s youth to transform culture and society by both helping inner-city kids and raising money to fight childhood cancer, world hunger and domestic violence. The foundation has successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through novelty events, like trying to pull airplanes down a tarmac, but the fashion line is a sustainable way to maintain revenue while also providing a great product.
Wilson wanted to launch a brand that delivered good clothes but didn’t want to stop there: “We’re going to change a culture through fashion,” he told GQ. With the tag-line of “Lead. Inspire. Live.,” Wilson hopes that the men who buy his clothes will not only look good but do good in the process. And their good acts start when they buy their very first item.
“What good is $3 out of a price tag of $288?” you may ask. It certainly isn’t the same standard as TOMS–where for every pair of shoes bought, another is donated to a needy child–but imagine if Wilson’s brand inspired other up-and-coming clothiers to build in charitable contributions for every item of clothing sold? Or, even better, what if a company decided to donate based on an overall percentage of the sale, and not a strict dollar amount per item bought?
There are a number of ways to increase the money raised for charity while still allowing the company to make a profit. Wilson’s system isn’t perfect, but it can still have a substantial impact. People are going to buy Wilson’s clothes thanks to his name and the style, and even more so if they’re really are as well made as they claim. But if Wilson’s brand is successful while also raising money for good causes, this business plan could prove viable. Just imagine the cultural shift that could happen if others decide to follow Wilson’s footsteps and use a similar business model.
Will Wilson’s brand change the world? No. But it could change one person’s world and inspire countless others to do the same.