Fashion and charity come together at the philanthropy-driven boutique Olivela
Social entrepreneur Stacey Boyd experienced the ultimate “aha” moment while visiting a refugee camp in Kenya with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Glancing down at her own designer handbag, Boyd began envisioning a business in which fashion and jewelry shoppers could donate a portion of their purchases to the Malala Fund and other educational causes. That bright idea became Olivela, which has paid for more than 90,000 days of school for girls since its opening in June 2017.
“Olivela was founded with philanthropy at its core,” says Boyd, a former educator based in London. “Twenty percent of our profits from every purchase are donated directly to our charity partners.” With offerings from the likes of Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and more than 40 jewelry brands (such as Ippolita, Marco Bicego, Roberto Coin, Zoë Chicco, and Lizzie Fortunato), the benefits add up quickly, with no added cost to consumers. A $275 Dana Rebecca star necklace, for example, provides seven days of school through the Malala Fund.
Boyd initially linked fashion and philanthropy in 2012 when she founded Schoola, a California-based online store that supports more than 30,000 schools through the sale of new and gently used clothing. “I realized what a profound impact the purchase of an item of clothing could make,” she says now, “and what immense potential there was to be had by applying this concept to luxury goods.” Headquartered in New York, Olivela has grown from an initial group of 12 designers to more than 200 brands, including ready-to-wear, accessories, and beauty and wellness products.
The decision to make jewelry an integral part of Olivela was a no-brainer for the style-conscious company. “The Olivela customer is the fashion customer, with a deep appreciation for style and luxury, but also an understanding that in 2019 there’s no excuse not to shop consciously,” Boyd says. The bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings offered “span from fine to fashion jewelry, bringing together a selection of the most stylish pieces from virtually all price points into one place for fashion- and philanthropic-minded customers.”
Pop-up boutiques in Nantucket, Mass., and Aspen, Colo., enable shoppers to find out more about the Malala Fund and other causes supported by Olivela (including Too Young to Wed, which works to end child marriage worldwide, and CARE, dedicated to poverty alleviation and education for refugees). “Our physical locations allow our customers to experience the effect their purchase is making to girls around the world,” says Boyd, herself the mother of two daughters. It’s all part of her ambitious goal “to make Olivela the ultimate philanthropic retail destination.”
Top: Boyd with Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin (© Human for the Malala Fund)