The idea for Olivela, a philanthropic e-commerce platform, came to Stacey Boyd after spending time in African refugee camps in 2015. The site’s Founder and CEO flew to Kenya and Rwanda for Malala Day, where she traveled with the young Nobel laureate. Upon meeting young girls in camps that were attending makeshift schools, Boyd set her sights on bettering the lives of children on a global scale. Thus in 2017, Olivela took flight, providing consumers with a satisfying shopping experience that was able to offer more than just fashionable pieces.
“I knew then that we could unleash the equity in luxury shopping to yield benefit and opportunity for so many children around the globe. And I knew that I could draw on experience and expertise from having launched Schoola, which aims to benefit public schools in the United States,” Boyd says.
Schoola was Boyd’s first venture into e-commerce with a purpose. The organization raised funds for American schools by selling secondhand clothing. The former school principal earned her MBA & Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard University. She is a staunch believer in providing stable education for children. Through Olivela, she seeks to provide that consistency for children around the globe by merging the worlds of luxury retail and contributions.
There is always a feeling of gratification when you snag a coveted item, and shopping through Olivela proves to be more rewarding. Shoppers can see the direct impact of where their money is going through what Boyd has coined the Olivela Effect. Under the cost for each item, consumers can see exactly how many days of schooling their purchases will provide to refugee girls. Olivela is currently partnering CARE, Malala Fund and Too Young to Wed, organizations committed to empowering girls through education.
“There is nothing starker than realizing that it’s a lottery when your child is born. That they’re just really lucky to be born in a place that has so much to offer. Because while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. We want to do what we can to ensure that girls around the world have access to safe and consistent education so that they can reach their potential,” Boyd says.
Boyd was initially concerned with how designers would react to the philanthropic e-commerce platform. She initially reached out to a dozen brands; they all said yes. Today, Olivela includes more than 225 leading fashion and beauty brands that embrace the concept, including Louboutin, Missoni, Givenchy. And why shouldn’t they?
Charitable giving is at an all-time high. In 2017, donations grew to an estimated $410 billion. Giving has increased almost every year since 1977 (only 3 years marked a decline: 1987, 2008 and 2009). Globally, most donations are made by individuals (about 70%) and 14% of all donations are going to education based charities.
This summer, Olivela opened up its first pop-up boutique in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Boyd is aiming to expand the philanthropic e-commerce platform by opening more boutiques and adding additional shopping categories and brands. Boyd wants to make Olivela the “ultimate philanthropic retail destination”. To date, shoppers have provided girls with more than 34,000 days of schooling just with their purchases. That’s true guilt-free shopping! ■