Online Retailer of the Week: Community Collection

Community Collection

What if your online flash boutique purchase came with a charitable donation? Well, now it can — newcomer Community Collection sells limited designer offerings each week, from which 20% of every purchase always goes to a charity paired with the designer.  The one catch is that while the goods are offered on a temporary basis, à la a flash sale, they’re sold at full price (albeit from the designer’s current collection).

Four current boutiques on Community Collection, and their corresponding beneficiary charities.

One of Community Collection’s most admirable traits is its all-around transparency.  Beyond carefully vetting the charities it benefits, it keeps a running tab of total donations made, and continues to track that money after the non-profits have received the funds.

The model also provides an ideal means for designers to, well, look good.  Though the site selected the pre-screened 15 charities — with more on the way — which are beneficiaries of the temporary boutiques, it’s the designers who get to choose the non-profit their goods benefit.  For instance, this week, among others, Alexander Wang is offering sunglasses for Operation Homefront and Inhabit’s fall knits are teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund.

Shoppers can pick up Alexander Wang sunglasses, learn more about the designer, and educate themselves on Operation Homefront, all at the same time.

With designer bios situated next to non-profit descriptions, Community Collection efficiently educates consumers on the clothes they’re buying and the non-profit to which they’re donating, all in one go.  While it’s a lovely idea, what was the impetus for pairing high fashion with charity?  25-year-old entrepreneur Brooks Cook, founder of the site, said he’s been working on the business “since Haiti happened,” referring to the calamitous earthquake there in 2010.  What motivated him to create the retail/charity channel was his own experience donating to Haitian earthquake relief — now he’s created a simple way to shop, donate, and track one’s donation all in one spot.

With boutiques from designers like Cynthia Rowley and Helmut Lang in the pipeline, we’d be more than happy to do all our designer shopping here.  Now that Community Collection exists, as long as one’s willing to pay full price, the question really seems to be: why buy these designers anywhere without a charitable component?