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How to Fold Philanthropy into Your Retail Business—Tips from Ethos of London

London-based online fine jewelry platform Ethos of London is known for its selection of dazzling high jewelry from marquee designers including Silvia Furmanovitch, Graziela, and Andreoli.

What’s less known is that the e-comm’s founder, Valerie Genty, is as committed to philanthropy as she is to jaw-dropping artistry.

When Genty founded the digital storefront in 2021, she added options to the site’s checkout page that allowed customers to give back— by rounding up their final purchase price or making a one-time $30 donation (which Ethos of London matches) to Fashion Makes Change, a nonprofit that advocates for women who work in the fashion supply chain.

Furthermore, she has also made a corporate donation to Women for Women International, a nonprofit that aids women who’ve survived the traumas of war in South Sudan and Afghanistan, among other nations, and she is allocating 10% of Ethos of London profit to re-invest into women-led businesses and/or charitable causes.  

Valerie Genty

Ethos of London founder Valerie Genty

Ethos of London’s do-goodery doesn’t end there. Genty partners almost exclusively with designers whose business plans include continual charitable donations, sustainable sourcing, or both. 

For example, Mumbai-based fine jeweler Estaa created its UNITY collection in 2021 that ultimately provided 42,000 meals for jewelry craftspeople in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. NYC-based jewelry designer Gigi Ferrante, to name another, donates to several worthy organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the William’s Syndrome Association. 

“Philanthropy was always a focus for me,” Genty tells The Zing Report, “and as a result, I feel like I attracted like-minded partners. I found brands whose values aligned with mine—other people who know that selling jewelry doesn’t have to be just a business transaction. ”

Genty, who worked in London’s fine art world before debuting Ethos of London, adds that buying and wearing jewelry you love “is uplifting for women,” a fact that she says dovetails into her philanthropic goals. 

“For me it’s quite simple,” she says. “It all comes back to, what are you doing, what does it mean to you, and how can you spread the love?”  

Nadine Aysoy Earrings

Nadine Aysoy earrings on Ethos of London

Genty’s advice for retailers looking to become more philanthropic is equally uncomplicated. She suggests they “refine their goals and pick an organization that feels close to their heart; you want the relationship with the charity to be long-lasting, not just a one-off donation.” 

Having trouble choosing a charity? Genty notes that environmental causes are natural partners for fine jewelry companies, which deal exclusively in materials dug up from the ground. 

She adds that giving back doesn’t need to be the reason customers buy from you, but that forging a relationship with a worthy cause can boost customer excitement and satisfaction. In essence, she says, a jewelry purchase can “be about bettering, not just beautifying.”

Follow the Zing Report on Instagram: @thezingreport

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