Brands Find Varied Ways to Help Coronavirus Fight
Industry companies are jumping in to help during the coronavirus crisis in all sorts of ways.
Here is a sampling of programs and donations that we have heard about. While not a comprehensive list, it does show examples of how a few brands are trying to help.
Vans “Foot the Bill”
Vans is working to help small businesses such as skate shops, restaurants, art galleries, and music venues by selling custom designed footwear through the Vans Customs platform.
Vans is committed to supporting at least 80 local and community driven businesses with the program called “Foot the Bill.” Net proceeds from the project will go to those businesses.
Vans will sell up to 500 pairs of each style based on demand.
Visa Gift Cards for Shop Staff
We also heard of one brand who is reaching out to core industry stores that have supported them from the very beginning with a touching offer.
Sun Bum is sending a bunch of $50 Visa gift cards to some store owners to give to their staff to buy groceries or whatever the employees might need.
The brand is also buying $1,000 worth of gift cards from stores and then will give away those gift cards to store customers in the area when businesses open back up.
A store owner who received the offer from Sun Bum was very moved by it.
Sun Bum originally did not want to comment publicly on the program because they just wanted to help. But here at SES we were pretty impressed by it so asked if they would share why they are doing it.
“These independent surf shops are behind the launching of every major surf brand out there,” Founder and President Tom Rinks said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about surfboards, apparel, sunglasses, boardshorts, sandals, socks or sunscreen. None of us would exist without them. These are our friends, our partners. Some of these shops have been around for generations and this pandemic could wipe them out. We all just need to remember where we came from and do what we can to help these shops. We’ll get through it together.”
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the surf shops that gave our brand a chance when we were first getting started,” Rinks said. “They’re the lifeblood of our industry and everything our community stands for. So, we’re trying to help them during this crazy time – like family, it’s just what you do.”
New Balance is using its domestic manufacturing expertise to produce much needed medical masks.
“We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility and hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon,” New Balance said in a post on its website. “We are coordinating our efforts with our government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities.”
Elaine Tran, the CEO and Founder of swimwear company Dippin’ Daisy’s, who we often see at Surf Expo, is also using her LA garment factories to make masks, which she is donating.
In the last week, Elaine has made and shipped more than 5,000 masks and replaceable carbon filters to doctors, nurses, high-risk individuals and first responders across the country, at no cost to them. She’s hoping to double those numbers in the coming weeks, and welcomes requests from institutions that might need them.
“We’re not doing this for business, we’re simply doing what we can to help during this pandemic,” Elaine said. “Dippin’ Daisy’s has the fabrics, materials, sewers and facilities to provide tangible resources for medical professionals and organizations who are in need or short supply. Our masks are bright and hopeful, and our only goal is to reach and help protect as many people and communities as we can.”
Each mask is made with machine washable materials and elastic, and is shipped with a charcoal filter that fits into a secure, refillable opening. Although they are not FDA-approved masks, healthcare workers at hospitals have welcomed the donation, as they can help prevent people from touching their nose and mouth, can help contain a portion of droplets coming from the nose and mouth, and most importantly, can be worn over medical-grade masks as a secondary layer of protection, all of which may help minimize the spread of the virus.
Several other companies are helping to make personal protective equipment for health care workers include Eddie Bauer and Nike.
More Help for Core Stores
Jetty has expanded its help for core stores.
Jetty started with the Retailer Kickback Program that sends 10% of Jetty’s net profits from online sales back to retailers in the zip code where that sale came from.
Now, they are offering a Rising Tides relief tee, hoodie and accessories with 100% of net profits going back to retailers as part of the Rising Tides Retailer Rescue Mission.
Online shoppers can choose which retailer they want to support when they purchase the product.
Ambsn and Corkcicle are some of the other brands that have launched programs to help retailers.
Some companies are also donating a lot of money to help with relief efforts.
For example, Nike Co-founder Phil Knight and wife Penny; Nike Executive Chairman Mark Parker and wife Kathy; and Nike President and CEO John Donahoe and wife Eileen, are personally donating a combined $10 million to the Oregon Food Bank, the Oregon Community Recovery Fund, and to Oregon Health & Science University to improve statewide care coordination in Oregon, increase patient access, and ramp up operational readiness for expanded diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
In addition, the Nike Foundation announced a $1 million donation to the global COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
The Nike Foundation is also donating the following: $1 million to the Oregon Community Recovery Fund; $1.1 million to support community partners across Europe, Middle East and Africa through the King Baudouin Foundation; $250,000 to the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, Tenn.; $250,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’ COVID-19 Regional Response Fund; and $500,000 to the Boston Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
The Vail Resorts CEO also announced a major donation to mountain communities today.
Rob Katz, and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, are giving more than $2.5 million to provide immediate support for both Vail Resorts employees and the mountain towns where the company operates.
Katz will donate $1.5 million in immediate emergency relief grants that will benefit more than a dozen local organizations providing critical services in Eagle, Summit and Gunnison counties in Colo.; Park City, Utah; Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Whistler, B.C.; Vermont; Stevens Pass, Wash.; and Jackson Hole, Wyo. (home of Grand Teton Lodge Company).
An additional $1 million is being donated by Katz to create a new fund within Vail Resorts’ Epic Promise Employee Foundation, which helps the Company’s employees respond to unpredictable setbacks, including medical events. This fund will help meet the increased need for assistance due to the impacts of COVID-19, ensuring that the Foundation has the resources to address this challenge.
“I cannot recall another moment in my lifetime that has caused so much disruption to our lives – to our work, to our health and to our communities,” said Katz. “As we navigate this situation, it’s essential we continue to support our employees and the vitality of our communities, providing partnership when it’s needed most.”