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100 Percent Cause Marketing from the Rich and Talented

To get into Harvard, jewelry designer Joan Hornig made a deal not with the devil, but with her better angels: if she got in, she told herself, by the time she was 50 she would give away all her earnings to charity.

She does just that with her eponymous jewelry line sold on her website and at retail outlets like Bergdorf Goodman.

Like other ‘all benefits’ companies, 100 percent of her profits… year-round… are donated to charity.

When you purchase it online, you designate where you’d like the donation to go. Hornig also does exclusive lines for retailers that benefit predetermined charities. For instance the earrings above are from her Snowflake line at Bergdorf, which benefited UNICEF. 

Hornig's jewelry is priced in the ‘if you gotta ask, you can’t afford it’ range.

It goes without saying that not everyone could manage this. Town & Country magazine reports that Hornig is independently wealthy. But the appeal to would-be consumers is mighty.

How easy it would be for someone looking at Hornig’s Leaf Cuff bracelet and say, ‘sure it’s $4,800, but all the profit from the sale goes to my charity of choice.' 

The skeptic in me wonders about what incentive Hornig has to keep her costs low. I wonder about just how high her profit margins are. I wonder what salary she pays herself and what her overhead structure is like. As a for-profit business in the United States, she is under no obligation to disclose any of that.

It’s not impossible, of course, to do this completely without taint. Paul Newman… God rest his soul… never took a salary and had a reputation as a fierce cost cutter. I hope, and trust, that Hornig is still true to her better angels and cut from the same cloth as Newman.

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