Last November, I happened to watch a YouTube video about children born with cleft conditions. To know that a child’s life is limited forever by not receiving a life changing surgery that only costs approximately $250 was astounding to me. I felt the urge to do something but didn’t want to just talk or donate money.
I’ve never felt comfortable just asking for money. I always feel better when people can gain something they really need and lovein exchange. I went to bed that night thinking about products people need, that gets used up, and sellsat a low price, so the decision to take action through a simple purposeful purchaseis a given. I wanted to connect the issue of clefts to something intimate like the lips, something you use to eat, to speak…a lip balm. Lasting Smiles Lip Care was born!
By the winter holidays, I developed a fair trade and organic lip balm, with shea butter sourced from a women’s cooperative in Northern Uganda. Between January and March 2013, I sold 2500 lip balm units,without a website or marketing. All profits were donated to provide cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries. My trial run raised $30,000. Consumers told me Lasting Smiles is the best lip balm they have ever used. They want to be able to buy them in stores and get involved by supporting a worthy cause.
Our planet is getting smaller as new technologies allow usto connect as never before, growing our awareness of problems worldwide that demand our attention. How do we take actions to make positive marks and create sustainable solutions to solve problems ofhealth, poverty, and environmental damage?
I established my company, StartMark, a Social Purpose Corporation, to start to create significant positives in the lives of people around the globe and the health of the planet. Our first product line, Lasting Smiles lip care, empowers our consumers to become co-creators of sustained change.
Each Lasting Smiles lip balm starts by empowering at the core. Through the ingredient sourcing, StartMark works to support and uplift fair-trade, cooperative, small-scale farmers in the Philippines, Peru, and Ghana. StartMark is currently the only U.S. company manufacturing and selling Fair-trade Labeling Organization (FLO) certified cosmetics. . We employ no testing on animals, use all pure andorganic ingredients, and carbon-neutral packaging.
Through our partnership with Smile Train, 50 percent of Lasting Smiles lip balm profits ensure children have access to cleft surgeries. Profits from our initial launch will work to provide cleft surgeries to children in the Philippines, Peru, and Ghana where our fair-trade ingredients are sourced. We are launching in early 2014. Keep updated at lastingsmilescare.com and join the social movement; savvy consumers can make affordable, and empowering purchases, creating lasting changes for global communities and the health of our planet.
-- Zoe Mesnik-Greene