Six business owners explain how being purpose-driven is helping them kick goals on Shopify

- November 15, 2021 5 MIN READ

As brands look for ways to be more relevant to consumers, being purpose driven is the first stop on the road to reinvention. According to Shopify’s Future of Commerce report, almost half (46 per cent) of Australian consumers prefer green or sustainable products and 44 per cent responded positively to retailers making a donation to a cause with each purchase.

The global pandemic has given a whole new perspective to consumers who have become more aware of their purchasing power and it turned into a powerful movement towards purchasing from brands that support diversity and are purpose-driven.

As we approach peak sales season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, six Aussie Shopify merchants share their thoughts on why building a profitable business that is also making a difference, matters.


Mike Smith, Founder, Zero Co

Our purpose and mission is to end the single-use plastic problem and clean up the trash junking up our oceans. We put this at the forefront of everything we do and it’s our job to help Aussies make better choices for our planet. The holiday season is a great time to kick into these habits and it’s important to remind your customers that by supporting your business, they’re doing something with greater purpose and joining a community of like-minded people wanting to help make the world a better place.


Stevie Angel, Co-Founder and Director, Active Truth

People are drawn to brands whose values align with their own. Particularly when you’re in a saturated market (hello activewear!) your ‘why’ can help you stand out and connect with your customer. People have a huge amount of choice, particularly over sales periods when most companies are competing on price. Telling our story from side hustle to thriving business, celebrating inclusivity and diversity, offering a wider range of sizes, and highlighting that we are an Australian-owned and women-led business are some of the ways we differentiate ourselves and share our purpose, especially during this busy holiday season.


Nik Robinson, Director, Good Citizens Eyewear

Over the last couple of years, it’s become evident that a product with a backstory appeals and a product with a purpose-driven backstory appeals even more.

Our entire business is driven by the mission to untrash the planet and that’s resonated well with customers across the globe. People are looking for an easy way to do their bit and they want an inspiring story to tell as they hand over a gift. It shows that they have really thought about it.

You can’t fabricate purpose however. It has to be at the heart of everything you do. It has to be authentic or the consumer will see straight through it. You have to connect the purpose to the essence of your business. Our purpose of un-trashing the planet is inbuilt as we take discarded waste and turn it into good plus we remove plastic from the ocean with every pair of sunnies we sell. It makes sense and doesn’t take much explaining. That’s the key to success.


Clare Spelta, Director, Bon Maxie

People are looking increasingly for intentional gifts. Not only do they want to support small businesses in difficult times, they’re looking to find creative, memorable products to be able to gift – and if those items come with a bigger reason behind their existence, they are more likely to connect with the brand – and feel good for supporting them. During lockdowns and travel restrictions especially, as people aren’t able to see family or friends in person, being a business with an underlying purpose means you’re able to better connect with customers as people really do resonate with the reasons behind products, not just the items themselves.

anna robertson

Anna Robertson, Founder, YEVU Clothing and Co-Founder, YEVU Foundation

As we recover from Covid-19, I think that consumers are more acutely aware of how fragile and delicate our world is, and that with a change of pace has come a greater appreciation of protecting our people and planet from adversity. Spending money online has been one way that people have been able to exercise their values throughout lockdowns across the world, and we’ve had the benefit of more time to make more informed decisions. This conscious consumerism is needed to drive brands along a path in which actual changes are made to have a positive impact on people and planet – not just greenwashing through marketing, but actually doing some substantial work.

YEVU has been a purpose-led business since inception – we didn’t ‘look’ for purpose as an afterthought as so many brands are now doing. It is at the core of our operations and is reflected through every hand that touches our product before it gets to your door. Our long-standing customers love seeing this story evolve as we grow as a business, and our new customers might see a product that they like before they learn about our story, which is a double win. I think during sale periods, these old and new customers are more likely to spend their money with a brand that is in it more than just for profit. Sure, becoming profitable has been a huge achievement for YEVU as a social enterprise, and we are able to use those resources to employ more women in Ghana, build a better factory, train more apprentices and invest in projects that will have a positive impact on the community that we work in.

josh howard

Josh Howard, CEO and Founder, Single Use Ain’t Sexy

We are proudly purpose-driven 365 days a year. That said, the holiday season provides a great opportunity for us to empower our community to increase their impact even more. Our business model is simple, when people buy our products, plastic bottles are saved from landfill. The mad rush of the holiday season is a great opportunity for us to turn rampant consumerism into meaningful, lasting change (and we can’t ask for much more than that!).

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