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News Bites | New Luxury Fashion Site's 'Philanthropic Retail' Model

Olivela launches today with over 200 items from brands including Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Valentino, and will donate a portion of each sale to a nonprofit.
The Olivela homepage | Source: Courtesy
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  • BoF Team

Welcome to News Bites, BoF's regular feature of the stories that get the industry talking.

A new e-commerce site aims to bring a philanthropic element to luxury fashion retail.

Olivela launches today with over 200 new season or "just past season" items from brands including Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Valentino.

The for-profit model will see a portion of each sale donated to a worthwhile cause, including Jessica Seinfeld's Good+Foundation, The Malala Fund and VH1's Save the Music Foundation.

The site is the brainchild of Stacey Boyd, a former school principal with an MBA and Masters in Public Policy from Harvard.

Olivela founder Stacey Boyd | Source: Courtesy

"We thought a lot about the right way to put it together," she told BoF. "I'm a really firm believer in the power of business to do good. We donate to nonprofits... and then we're ploughing the rest into scaling and making the business bigger and making more money for nonprofits."

Transparency surrounding the donations is a key part of the Olivela model. Each product page allows the consumer to see exactly what the donation from their purchase will fund (a pair of $835 Aquazzura sandals, for instance, will provide 41 days of children's essentials through the Good+ Foundation). A personal dashboard tracks the cumulative contributions a consumer has made through their purchases.

Boyd would not disclose how much she hopes to sell in her first month, however she already has the infrastructure to operate at scale. A facility the size of two football fields in Columbus, Ohio, can process 20,000 units per day. It currently services Boyd's existing "social enterprise," Schoola, an online retailer that sells new and gently-worn clothing to support schools in need.

Boyd has been working with former InStyle and StyleWatch editorial director Ariel Foxman on branding and content strategy, who believes the site will resonate well with consumers.

"While the merchandise is gorgeous and alluring, I know from my experience in shopping editorial and fashion editorial, that women and shoppers in general are always looking for that additional push to get them to transact," he said. "What better push and justification and inspiration to add something to your cart?"

Boyd believes that the concept will appeal to the values of millennial and Gen-Z consumers in particular.

"The idea that you can buy what you love while doing good in the world, and feeling great about the luxury brands that you're buying, I actually think is quite significant," she said.

"A $2,000 handbag can do an awful lot of good in the world." — Tamara Abraham

Do you have a story for News Bites? Email newsbites@businessoffashion.com.

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