Plant With Purpose is an international development organization dedicated to reversing the cycle of poverty and deforestation in rural communities. We do this through a three-part approach of environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal.
Several years ago, we decided to provide a unique way for our supporters to give back and started offering meaningful, alternative gifts on Shopify. Our Gifts of Hope – gardens, chickens, cisterns, wood-saving stoves, and more – equip farming families to lift themselves out of poverty. These transformative gifts can be given in someone’s honor and are a great way to show someone you love them while making an impact around the world! Our shop also offers a variety of products that benefit the six countries where we work, like pine needle baskets from Mexico and community-trade coffee from Haiti. Our products are sourced from our partnering farmers or from U.S.-based companies that support our mission.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales came during the Christmas season. We promoted Gifts of Hope within our network of bloggers and friends on social media as alternative giving options for family and friends. Since then, we’ve used holidays as platforms to promote the gifts and have had huge success. (Who wouldn’t love an orchard of trees instead of roses on Valentine’s Day?)
People have shown great interest in purchasing products with a greater purpose, and we're giving them a chance to buy meaningful products – coffee, hand-woven baskets, etc. – and to impact the lives of farming families at the same time. Since launching, we've planted 1,839 trees through Shopify! Our alternative gifts currently generate the most income; selling merchandise online is a recent endeavor.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
All orders are fulfilled and shipped at Plant With Purpose's U.S. office in San Diego. The "Digital Downloads" app has been extremely helpful. We have many donors who purchase alternative gifts in honor of a friend or loved one and the automatic fulfillment of these orders via Digital Downloads has reduced lag time between purchase and delivery and reduced administrative time as well.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Take advantage of the apps Shopify offers! Apps are a fantastic way to extend the functionality of your store. We've had numerous occasions where we thought, "Can we do something like this in our store…?" Chances are you can, and someone has already created an App to do it.