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Name: Ashley Howell

Business: The Givve Collection, an online marketplace exclusively featuring charitable fashion products

Industry: E-Commerce, Social Enterprise, Clothing & Accessories

Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California, U.S.

Reason for starting: I like to shop for items associated with a cause. I also am passionate about social entrepreneurship, helping people through philanthropy and volunteerism, and fashion. During my MBA, I was searching for my contribution to the world and came up with Givve late one night. From the time the idea for Givve popped into my head to the present day, I have dedicated my time, money, effort, brain power and most importantly my passion into making my dream a reality!

Related: Read about another female entrepreneur using her business to help social causes here.

How do you define success? I define success as creating a vision and making it come to life. 10 months ago Givve was just a dream and now our site is live and it’s a reality. Another measure of success is the number of users on the site. The more users we acquire, the more products will be purchased and ultimately the more we can raise for our social causes.

Biggest Success: Our biggest success is managing to go live by completely bootstrapping. We went live with 10 vendors and nearly 200 products who believed in what Givve wants to do and where we are going. Now that we are live, Givve is reaching out to more vendors daily.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Our top challenge was how to track purchases. Since we just feature items, we need to track when a purchase is actually made from the user finding it on Givve and clicking through to the actual site to purchase an item. To solve this, I had students from the MBA program at Babson look into solving this technical issue. Through their help and the expertise of my web development team we solved the problem. Again, all while bootstrapping this business.

Related: E-commerce as a platform for creating social change. 

Who is your most important role model? I don’t have one single person, but a unit, my parents. My father is third generation entrepreneur and I get my business savvy and strength in my convictions from him. From my mother, I get my fashion sense and love for people and changing the world. My mother was a successful fashion buyer and I grew up with her always doing something for other people. They have both helped me pursue my dreams and have given me the confidence, love and ability to do so. I am truly grateful for them!

Twitter   @givvecollection

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Edited by The Story Exchange