Giving Gifts that Give Back
When disaster strikes, our human instinct is to help, fix or give back. Sometimes that can seem overwhelming or nearly impossible, especially when chaos is occurring thousands of miles from your own front door. But who said it has to be complicated? For co-owners of Hope Tank on Broadway, Erika Righter and Jade Baranski, they believe giving back can be done effectively, locally and simply. At Hope Tank, you will find “gifts that give back,” items available for purchase that each benefit a specific charity or cause. For Righter and Baranski, it’s all about involving the community and equipping those interested with the right knowledge.
For Righter, Hope Tank began as a passion project with a small shop on Santa Fe. It was a way to connect the community to impact in ways that are unique and simple. After about a year and a half, Righter had to decide whether to forge ahead full speed or stay small. Realizing the excitement around the project and a clear need, she was then willing to take the leap of faith. Later, the space on Broadway became available and Hope Tank was moved to its current location.
“The Baker neighborhood felt really authentic,” Righter said. “It reflects the diversity we were going for. Broadway gets a wrap for being a hipster neighborhood but it has some of the nicest, warm and friendly business owners.”
Baranski first came into Hope Tank as a customer and fell in love with the concept and heard the spiel from Righter. At the time, Baranski owned their own business but after buying things at the store, they were on board and ready to get involved.
According to Righter, Hope Tank’s mission is to connect the community to their impact, which is accomplished by selling gifts that give back. Every product in the store has a sticker indicating which charity is benefitted through the purchase. The staff is educated about each different charity to assist customers while browsing.
Righter has noted a trend in some companies that claim to give back with the production of their goods but are actually greenwashing. While these organizations have wonderful intention, sometimes they aren’t achieving what they set out to do. So, Righter is vigilant about educating each consumer about these types of claims and ensures that Hope Tank has done their homework.
“It is important to research how much of a positive impact [these organizations] actually have,” Righter explains. “Is the impact actually needed or wanted? Internationally—is the impact something that the country actually needs or wants? Is it creating opportunity?”
Baranski and Righter are non-traditional business owners and the store is only one component of what they do. They work with 20 nonprofit organizations, support different campaigns quarterly, host events in the community and provide services through Impact Factor, including Swag For Good and Joy Lab, which allows the community to interact with their brand on different platforms.
“We want everybody in on this,” Righter said. “We want to connect people to their heart and realize that they can do something in their community that matters … that their impact can fuel their business or non-profit and it reminds them why we are on this planet.”
Hope Tank | @hopetank | HopeTank.org