“Retailers are increasingly realising that they must tell a better story beyond their product. There’s only so much they can talk about their shoes, for example, and as consumers we’re all looking to shop our values.
“The brands that are emerging as the most relevant are those that are building transparency and impact into the customer journey. When they’re actually committed to it, it resonates with consumers who are wanting to be loyal to brands and what they stand for,” says Jeremy Meltzer, the founder of i=Change.
I spoke to Jeremy this week and he outlined the vision of i=Change and its growth, An Impact Investment Summit ImpactConnect Pitch Partner, i=Change is seeking to raise funds to scale its business into new verticals and deeper into retail.
“We’ve been around for almost 10 years now and when I started this we were very much the odd person in the room. I would go to a lot of retail summits and nobody wanted to talk to me. Now, we’re leading the purpose driven movement in Australia amongst retailers especially, by making it simple and valuable for retailers to give back across their online channels.
“What was once a cute idea of bridging the world of business and NGOs is now emerging as a powerful way to help businesses transition from products or business services only to a business that transparently translates and can track their impact in alignment with the SDGs and with the issues that they care about as individuals.
“No one expects you to get everything right, but they expect you to go on the journey. We make it simple for retailers to go on that journey. We’re not ticking off their supply chains and their human rights compliance, but we’re saying here you can talk about your commitment to supporting extraordinary NGOs in Australia and/or globally with a focus on women and girls empowerment and the mitigation of climate change.
“In doing so, you can start to receive that direct benefit from engaging your customers with a much broader message around what you stand for in the world, which is powerful in terms of engagement, customer loyalty, sales and ultimately repeat purchases. We make it easy for them to tell a bigger story.“
Funding to scale
i=Change has partnered with over 400 brands including Camilla, Ginger & Smart, National Tiles, and Clarins and has raised $9 million — $1 at a time — with 100% of donations sent to 50 carefully selected NGOs that are committed to best-practice development.
The NGOs that i=Change partners with are vetted and visited to ensure the funding reaches leaders on the ground that are working to unlock the potential of women and girls, and to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
In regards to the raise, Jeremy said: “It’s an exciting time for what we do. The funding we’re raising is to scale, or really to and scale quicker. We’re growing anyway but it’s really about how do we really take advantage of this moment in time? We’re very confident, having modelled that we could 10x our impact and revenues by 2027 — we know what we need to do to get there.
“And it’s exciting from an impact investing perspective because not only is there the opportunity to come in at a fairly early stage with an impact business, with proven market fit — having already over 400 retail partners — but also create that social and environmental impact out in the world.
“Scale for us is to go deeper into retail, with a number of brands asking us to build an in-store solution as well, which is where 80% of transactions still occur. And it looks like there’s opportunity for scale in the much more traditional industry of legal as well, that already have philanthropic budgets and are realising the opportunity to retain great talent, to communicate their commitment to building a better world with their clients in a way that builds loyalty beyond just the services that they offer.
“So there’s an enormous addressable market still to tap in those two verticals specifically.” He adds that i=Change’s professional service solution also really opens it up to any business that issues an invoice.
This International Women’s Day, i=Change will host a unique thought leadership event for the retail sector — a Masterclass with senior leaders from the Australian Government, NGO and retail sectors.
Here you can learn about the critical issues impacting women and girls in Australia and the Pacific, the power of giving back, ‘stories from the field’ and the opportunity for business to play a leading role at this critical time in history.
The event will be held in Sydney on March 6 2024 from 3pm – 6pm. Tickets are $20 with 100% of the ticket revenue to be donated to featured NGOs.
You can purchase tickets to attend here: https://iequalchange.com/international-womens-day-masterclass-event#buy
For more on see: iequalchange.com