A social entrepreneur gives back to global education through her ethical baby clothing line
The Small, Steps Big Wins campus challenge is built on the belief that an idea, moment of inspiration, or simple action can set something powerful in motion. And social entrepreneur (and Net Impact member) Jo Tiongson-Perez is just one example…
Jo’s approach to change is written right on the front page of her company’s website: Big change starts puny. In 2011, the Philadelphia communications professional and mother co-founded Punypixel, an “eco-cool” organic and ethical baby clothing line that gives a percentage of each sale to help kids around the world.
As a girl growing up in the Philippines, Jo saw firsthand the inequality and lack of access to basics, like education, that so many children around the world experience. She had originally planned to fund an education program in the Phillipines – once she made enough money. Then Jo had her first child, and began researching natural and ethically-made baby products. A puny little idea sparked her creative instincts: why not create her own line of products that’s good for kids, and also helps kids? Using her own design sense, her background in marketing, and her photojournalist husband’s beautiful images, Punypixel was born. The company was named after her husband’s photoblog that documented all their baby’s firsts.
Punypixel works on a social entrepreneurship model: for every purchase, the company donates a set amount to a nonprofit committed to children, with a new organization benefiting every four months. The nonprofits they work with are diverse, but Jo has an eye out for organizations that preach an empowering kind of philanthropy. “It’s not about ‘saving’ people with your money,” says Jo. “It’s about giving people the tools to thrive so they can grow strong and break from that cycle of poverty.”
As a business owner working for a better world, thinking small can be its own type of empowerment. “You don’t have to wait for the government or a nonprofit to create social and economic change in the world,” says Jo. “It’s something you can do with your own small efforts. You may not know exactly what you want to do at first, but wanting to create change is a powerful start.”
This post was originally published on the Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge blog. Check out the 50+ campuses that have already committed to making an impact by recruiting friends, taking action, and winning some really cool prizes.