You might have seen images of people enthusiastically holding glittery wine bottles all over Instagram and it’s safe to say, we are completely & utterly obsessed with them. ONEHOPE Wine, the company behind the product, lets people not only celebrate & toast to those pinnacle moments in life; they allow us to give back to the community as well! We chatted with Melissa Lake, executive director of the ONEHOPE Foundation and Director of Social Innovation and asked for her opinion on how to create a viral social impact for your brand!
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I started my career at Google, both in sales management and venture capital, where I learned an incredible amount about how to run a business, how to make a profit, and the importance of innovation in this ever-evolving world. In 2010, I took a trip to Tanzania that changed my life and inspired a complete career change driven by the desire to devote my life to making the world a better place. I went to NYU to get my masters in social entrepreneurship and met the founder of ONEHOPE, Jake Kloberdanz, while I was in my program. He wanted to bring on an Executive Director for the Foundation who had a background in business and who would want to scale the Foundation to create an even larger impact with a sustainable revenue model. I knew it was a perfect fit for me to be able to use the skills I had acquired at both Google and in graduate school and put them to use building a program to make the world a better place.
What attracted you to ONEHOPE? Why did you choose to become involved?
What attracted me to ONEHOPE was the desire to take a business model of giving back and scale it to be a platform for other businesses as well. I love the idea that corporate philanthropy can actually solve social issues, and I was immediately drawn to the opportunity to make that a reality. I was also drawn to work with an amazing group of nearly 30 millennials who are just as passionate as I am about making the world a better place.
What is the ONEHOPE mission?
ONEHOPE is a lifestyle brand with a world-class vineyard in the heart of Napa. We give back and create a measurable impact through every product in our Family of Brands.
How has social media helped spread the word about your company?
Social media has been amazing for our brand because of the potential to reach our core demographic. We’re a company of people in their late 20s and early thirties targeting the same age group, so we can have some really fun and lighthearted content, but the fact that we give back to serious causes helps to keep people connected to the brand.
It has also opened the doors for new partnerships (like with you!). It is such a great way to discover and connect with new brands that we want to work with in a really authentic way.
Finally, it has also become a bigger part of our business because people expect that there is customer service on the other end of the account. We’re always monitoring accounts to answer questions and help with any issues that might come up.
What kinds of charity campaigns have you done so far?
Every varietal has its own cause and impact ratio – for example every case of our Sparkling Brut provides 25 meals to someone in need and every case of our Pinot Noir helps one shelter animal find a forever home. To date, we have donated over $1.5M to charity and funded the following:
- Over 1 million meals for those in need
- Over 52,011 trees planted in global reforestation projects
- Over 9,959 shelter animals helped to find a forever home
- Over 1,379 clinical trials funded for women with breast cancer
- Over 1,252 children with autism provided with ABA Therapy
- Over 8,000 children provided with medicine to prevent global disease
And these numbers are growing every day!
What 3 things do you look for in a charity or cause before partnering with them?
One of the first things I did when I came to ONEHOPE was develop a proprietary 15-point criteria system to evaluate nonprofits before we fund them. Three examples are: we like to see over 85% of every dollar going to programs, we only fund nonprofits working at the national or global level to increase overall impact, and we require that nonprofits can quantify their impact.
Why should companies partner with charities? How has charitable partnerships helped ONEHOPE Wine?
I firmly believe that companies should make a positive social impact not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it is also the smart thing to do. Consumers are increasingly looking for more products that give back, and we are quickly approaching a tipping point where they will expect and demand that all products give back. And that is a great thing – that means sales will increase for companies that give back and it will increase the amount of good that is done for the world.
What has working at ONEHOPE Wine taught you professionally and personally?
I’ve been in my role at ONEHOPE longer than I have been in any other job in my life, and that is because I love the company and its people so much. Working at ONEHOPE has affirmed the popular Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”