How do new brands cut through the noise to win consumers’ eyeballs and purchases? In crowded industries like footwear, there’s serious competition and high stakes when it comes to building a brand. Kane Footwear is a great example of a startup growing demand and community. By combining personal experience with passion and purpose, Kane’s early success offers lessons to entrepreneurs on the journey to building impactful businesses.

“It’s about creating better for you and more climate friendly products,” John Gagliardi, Kane’s CEO, tells We First. “I think we’ve done that here.” His father started a sneaker store in Brooklyn, New…


Necessity truly is the mother of invention. Businesses that find ways to better meet people’s needs carve out competitive advantage and build community around their brand. An exceptional example of a business breaking the status quo is Ritual. The vitamin and supplements brand is investing in leading science and transparency to make it easy for women and men to get the nutrients they need every day.

Katarina Schneider immigrated from the Soviet Union as a 4 year old refugee to live in a welfare hotel in Brooklyn. She now runs one of the fastest growing multivitamin brands in the U.S.A…


Impact is now competitive and big brands across sectors are dedicating resources into driving business growth through purpose. But how do you authentically develop your purpose? Companies large and small, from legacy brands to scrappy startups seek the key to building a community of stakeholders that support their business and collaborate in building a better world. A wonderful example of a company that’s marrying purpose and growth is VSP Global.

The optical industry leader began with impact-driven origins but just recently refined and clarified their purpose. “We hit an inflection point,” Wendy Hauteman, Chief Marketing Officer at VSP Global, tells…


Today’s consumers want to support businesses that make a positive contribution in the world. With so many companies vying for people’s attention and dollars, it can be a challenge for a startup to gain traction. “If you have a real business opportunity and you’re addressing a true need, you will find a way,” Marc Washington, founder and CEO of the Uplifting Results Labs (UR Labs) and Muniq, tells We First. Washington launched Muniq during COVID-19 and it is revolutionizing gut health by focusing on healing the microbiome in your gut.

Before UR Labs, Washington studied engineering at Princeton and went…


All entrepreneurs want to know how to get people to try and to purchase their products. Whenever a brand launches a new product they must inspire consumers to change their behavior. Behavior change is one of the most coveted yet challenging feats for business leaders. A brand doing an excellent job inspiring behavior change is Thistle. The plant-based food delivery subscription service recently secured $10.3 million in a series B fundraising round. They’re expanding their network and building a better world.

“The mission is to help people get and stay healthy while improving the sustainability of our food system via…


Perspective, foresight and purpose are qualities that every founder and executive must foster to succeed in today’s marketplace. Lynne Twist, co-founder of Pachamama Alliance and founder of the Soul of Money Institute, has an unique ability to spark those qualities in leaders. Her work has brought her into the inner circles of the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Buckminster Fuller, Mother Teresa and many others. Her organizations have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for social and environmental causes. She is a well of wisdom and powerhouse of purposeful action. …


The beauty of capitalism is that innovative companies can shift the status quo and transform what is possible. While often abused, when done with purpose these transformations can create strides for humanity and our planet. An excellent example of a brand changing what’s possible in terms of impact is Aspiration, a truly disruptive financial services company turning every transaction into a positive action.

“We didn’t set out to build a bank, we set out to build a better world,” Andrei Cherny, co-founder and CEO of Aspiration, tells We First. To have the most impact, Cherny says he, “followed the money…


Collaborative leadership is essential to cultivating an abundant and flourishing world. Organizations that build community and cultural conversations around a higher purpose are rewarded with goodwill and loyalty. Forum For The Future is setting a prime example of how to bring partners from the business, government and nonprofit sectors together to create a meaningful shift towards a sustainable future.

“We bring brands together to focus on shared challenges,” Sally Uren, CEO of Forum For The Future, tells We First. “Competition law hasn’t caught up with the need for pre-competitive collaboration.” Issues like climate change, the novel coronavirus and poverty eradication…


Businesses that tackle pain points and meet consumer needs in new ways can gain market share and loyalty. A brand that’s driven to disrupt the carbonated beverage category is Poppi.

The company packs prebiotic health benefits with natural sweeteners to produce a low sugar alternative to traditional soda pop. “I was interested in what food does for your body as medicine versus going the traditional route,” Poppi’s co-founder, Allison Ellsworth, tells We First. “We plan to really democratize healthy soda,” Stephen Ellsworth, Allison’s husband and co-founder, shares.

Consumers are looking for healthier alternatives. With annual global demand for carbonated drinks…


Behavior change is one of the most powerful and most challenging levers we have to catalyze the growth of a healthy and prosperous future. Brands that solve for society’s most challenging issues build community and a loyal customer base. A brand doing a great job growing the plant-based food movement is Bolthouse Farms. “If we move to plant-based and we do it in a regenerative way, it drives planetary health, which also lowers healthcare costs,” Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms, tells We First.

Founded in 1915, Bolthouse Farms has built a health conscious legacy founded on carrots, expanding to…

Simon Mainwaring

CEO We First Inc, author NYT's bestseller We First, strategic corporate consultant and trainer, father, Australian, optimist.

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