ED: As a business leader, it’s really easy to get caught up in the financials. How many units have I bought? How many units have I sold? How many units do I have an inventory? Entrepreneurs can get worn down. When that happens, we frequently forget about why we’re running the business. It sounds trite, but when you lose the focus on the why, it isn’t easy to manage the what.
Today we’re talking with Kris Wittenberg, founder of Be Good to People, also affectionately known as The Original Kindness Company. Be Good to People believes in conscious capitalism—a belief that business can play an essential role in making the world a better place through commerce. A percentage of every Be Good to People purchase goes to the Be Good to People Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose intent is to create a kinder world. Her foundation recognizes people in organizations who are being good to people, creates human kindness events, like Bright Friday, and fosters kinder environments in schools. Now more than ever, we need to be good to people.
Let’s visit with Kris. All right. Hello, Kris.
KRIS: Hi, Ed. So, it looks like we’re on brand.
ED: Yes, it’s like we called each other. “What are you wearing today? I don’t know. What are you wearing? I’m gonna wear a black shirt with white letters.” Kris, we’ve visited multiple times, but I want to take this opportunity to tell the world about your brand and your brand story. One of the principles we operate from is that, really your brand is more than just a product. And someone could look at your company and go, oh, she sells t shirts. But you and I know that it’s much, much more. So, let’s talk about how this all started and what led to your creation of Be Good To People.
KRIS: It’s funny, I think a lot of entrepreneurs share the experience of how they became an entrepreneur, not intentionally, right? They were solving a problem, or in my case, Be Good to People happened to me. I was out running errands, many years ago, I’m here in our little mountain town in Colorado, and I had an unkind experience. I honestly don’t remember exactly what happened in the experience. But when I returned to my office and stood there, I just stood in front of my whole team and said, “Why can’t people just be good to people? How hard is that.” I was really annoyed. I own another company called Say No More Promotions, and we create branded merchandise. The entrepreneurial blood that runs through my veins. Because of that negative experience, my next thought was I’m going to put Be Good to People on a T shirt. And it was as simple as that. That’s how it started.
ED: We’ve been talking about how your brand is more than a product, and this is a great example of that. You had an idea. You had product expertise. But the whole process expertise of going B2C versus B2B, is a different model and customer journey. So we’ve established your origin story, why are you more than a t-shirt company?
KRIS: Well, the easiest way to describe it is, our products move the movement. So the magic of this brand is that every single product we have has Be Good to People on it. The message. Every single product we have is black and white. The reason everything’s black and white is because it’s simple. Just be good to people. I’ve been working in branding, promotions, and marketing for 27 years. I’ve helped some of the world’s biggest, well-known brands, and I have never seen a brand like this one. It just gets to people’s hearts. The brand, the the trade dress, the black and white, our funds—it stops people in their tracks. Whether it’s the kiosk at the airport or whether we’re at an event of the farmers market in Vail or one of the holiday markets we do in different places in the country, every person who works for Be Good to People is mission-centered and heart-centered.
We don’t hire people who are just out to make a wage. Everybody has to believe in our mission, the message, and the brand. It is the coolest thing to see people come to Be Good To People as customers and leave as friends. They leave as our friends, but they also meet other customers at the kiosk. We’ve had people stay at our kiosk for two hours, Ed, and exchange information and stay in touch. Be Good to People connects people. What other brand does that? It’s like-minded people coming together. The trade dress and the message gets them in and the conversations happen. In our world, that’s what’s not happening. We’re not having civil conversations with one another. So Be Good To People creates conversations,
ED: You mentioned about being an unintentional entrepreneur. I believe the best brands, develop products that meet an unmet need. And I think it’s safe to say that there is a significant unmet need for people being “gooder” to people than they are right now. I’m convinced our audience is going to want a product. How do you buy Be Good To People products?
KRIS: We make it super simple. The website is BeGoodToPeople.com. All of our social media, Instagram and Facebook are where we do the most work. It’s @BeGoodToPeople. We also have a really cool private Facebook group called The Be Good to People community. That is actually where a lot of our conversations happen and where people are connecting all over the country and getting together and meetups. That’s where this momentum is really building, is in that private community. We make it easy. Every online order has a free little gift in it. We handwrite a note for every order and every order is packed with love. We stand behind our products. Every once in a while, we have, a mask that doesn’t work or a pen that doesn’t write but our customer service handles making things right. Our customer service department is called the Good Service Department. We really exist to make people feel good
I want to share with everybody who watches this. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. It is so easy to watch the news and be online and be discouraged about people and our world. I might start crying when I say this. I am here to say that there are more of us who feel this way than the others in the world. Because when I am at an event and I’m talking to people, I can’t believe how many people are on this team solid. And as this brand grows, we will see more of us coming together. And there are more of us than the others. They are just really loud. And we just need to be together and turn up our volume for kindness and respect and caring for one another. And it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.
ED: It is going to be okay. Lead with being good to people and everything else tends to fall in place. I love it. Well always enjoy a visit with you Kris. Be Good to People. Truly one of my favorite brands and I’m honored to be a part of the community. Thanks, Kris.
KRIS: Thank you.