Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shopping for a Cause with Les Amis


Les Amis Products
LES AMIS is a fantastic new Dallas-based fashion e-tailer that sells luxury international goods with an artistic flare. The founders, Ami Doshi and Amisha Patel are impressive ladies dedicated to social responsibility.

Les Amis, whose motto is “Shop Here, Give There”,  donates 10% of their net profits to The Global Fund for Children , which provides capital for innovative community-based initiatives to help the most vulnerable children and youth.

Each of their products tells a story, spreads a message, and stands on its own as a beautiful piece crafted by a special artisan. Each of their products is a unique piece of the world  – from  dazzling necklaces and shimmering earrings to  charming accessories -- they aim to help people do good and live beautifully.


I had a chance to chat with Les Ami founder, Ami Doshi, recently about how this concept came to be:

Q: What led you to partner with Amisha and launch this company?

A: We both have young children and share similar interests and goals when it comes to work/life/family balance. She was looking to start her own business after her time at Perot/Dell, and I was looking to do the same after my little girl turned one. We worked on a different business concept initially but after completing a business plan, we decided that it was not a viable endeavor. We came across this idea after being inspired by my cousin who was visiting from Singapore. This was in May 2011, we made our first sourcing trip in September and we launched the site in January 2012.



Q: Why did you choose the Global Fund for Children to partner with?

A: We looked at a few non profit organizations that worked with children. We found GFC’s model inspiring and transparent.  We wanted to support an organization that was large enough in terms of resources and infrastructure to make a measurable impact, but small enough where our partnership wouldn’t end up supporting only their organization’s operating expenses. We were impressed that they do not allow their partners to earmark their contributions to any specific country, program or grantee because they felt their priority should be to align their resources where the greatest needs were, and not be restricted by the motivations of their donors or partners.

The GFC works in many countries, but instead of spreading their own resources across all these organizations, they partner with strong and well established grantees that are local to the communities they work in. This ensures better communication, and a higher chance of success in those communities.  We were also very impressed by their choice of partners and how they were eager to work with small businesses to help them grow as well. We went through a few conversations that our Charitable Partnership Advisor, Neesha Nanda Rahim, helped set up. They have been extremely supportive and a great organization to work with.


Q: Why jewelry? It doesn't appear to be your background. How did you decide to create an e-commerce store around jewelry?

A: We both love jewelry – and mostly jewelry that comes from different parts of the world. We wanted to find a way to share our love of travel, fashion and social responsibility in a way that was accessible to people.  Our sense of style is very similar and that made the aesthetic of the business concept easier for us to manage. It is also a good time to be in fashion jewelry and accessories – it is more accessible and affordable than fine jewelry and give today’s market – that is a good thing.

Q: The web is a vast place... How do you market your business? How do people usually find you initially?

A: We have a online and offline marketing strategy in place but we are spending a lot of our energy and resources in spreading the news about Les Amis virally. We really believe in our concept and think both our product and the concept of “Shop here. Give there” will appeal to a large audience. So far, people have come to us through recommendations and by seeing our blog and posts on social media networks.

Now, this is shopping you can feel good about.
Check out Les Amis at http://www.shoplesamis.com/

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