CanadianSME sat with Joanna Griffits, Founder & CEO of Knix and Knixteen discussed their Knix GoFundMe initiative to raise funds to support PPE needs of Canada’s frontline workers.
On March 21, Knix Founder & CEO, Joanna Griffiths and 26-year old brother, Dr. Chris Griffiths, started a Knix GoFundMe initiative to raise funds to support the PPE needs of Canada’s frontline workers. The company leveraged its Facebook and Instagram channels to promote the campaign and share milestones with its community. Since, the Toronto-based global intimates companies have secured over $250,000 in community donations, financing 200,000 units of certified masks and gloves to hospitals and clinics across Canada. Just last week, the company announced a collaboration with the Robert Kerr Foundation to expand the campaign’s reach to support PPE needs for the GTA’s homeless shelters and drop-ins.
Joanna Griffiths is the Founder and CEO of Knix and Knixteen the direct-to-consumer intimate apparel brands that are reinventing intimates for real life. Since launching the company in 2013, Joanna has built Knix into one of the fastest-growing intimate apparel brands globally. Through a focus on product innovation and the brand’s mission to empower women to be unapologetically free, a Knix item is now sold every 7 seconds, and the company has shipped over half a million orders in the last twelve months alone. Knix was recently named the 6th fastest growing company in Canada with over 3800% 3-year growth. Joanna holds multiple patents and has been cited in hundreds of media publications including Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times, and more. Joanna has been recognized on both the national and international stage for her work as a marketing disruptor championing the topics of body inclusivity, fertility, mental health, and postpartum. In 2018 Joanna was named Women of Influence’s Entrepreneur of the Year and more recently she was the recipient of the Retail Council Of Canada’s Marketing Innovation Award.
What can you tell us about the Knix GoFundMe Initiative and how it’s helping those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The idea to launch a fundraiser was sparked from a conversation I had with my brother who is a doctor at a Hamilton hospital. He had noticed that PPE supplies were already running low at his hospital and expressed concern around a PPE shortage in Canada.
We saw an opportunity to leverage the company’s existing supply chain to help support healthcare frontline workers. After understanding the severity of the issue, we immediately contacted our suppliers to see if they could help and the answer was YES. We started the campaign with the goal to raise $50,000, and within less than 48 hours we surpassed this number. We have currently received $400,000 in donations and have secured over 330,000 units of certified masks and gloves.
To get a better understanding of where the PPE supplies should be donated we went straight to the source and created a private form to confidentially track supply requests. This allows us to match available products for donations with those who need them most. Over 175 institutions across the country have submitted requests to the platform illustrating the seriousness of the shortage.
To raise funds for the campaign, the company relied on its Facebook and Instagram channels and managed to raise over 250,000$. Why do you believe promoting through social media had such a huge impact on the campaign?
We have such a tight-knit community at Knix, both internally and with our customers externally. One of our biggest avenues for communication with Knix customers is done through our social platforms on Facebook and Instagram. It was a natural fit to leverage these platforms to share the PPE campaign with our community. Facebook and Instagram are set up to promote information sharing and make it very easy for users to access and share fundraising campaigns with their friends and family. What we have seen is that Canadians are really eager to help frontline works during this crisis, our GoFundMe campaign gives them the opportunity to do so from the comfort of their home.
Knix recently announced its collaboration with the Robert Kerr Foundation to expand the campaign reach and gain more donations. How do you believe this partnership will help the campaign and those in need?
The Robert Kerr Foundation committed an immediate contribution of $100,000, and a dollar for dollar matching program, up to $100,000. This partnership with the Robert Kerr Foundation allows us to access one of our most at-risk communities, people experiencing homelessness.
The donations provided by the Robert Kerr Foundation will go towards the purchase and distribution of PPE for homeless shelters, drop-ins, and agencies in Toronto and the GTA, while Knix will continue to use community raised funds to provide PPE for frontline healthcare workers across Canada.
On a final note, what are some of the areas that you believe need the most help during the COVID-19 and how is Knix planning on helping them?
Our goal is to help bridge inventory gaps while larger government programs are put in place. Securing PPE during COVID-19 is difficult because the cost and the amount of supply are changing every day. Since we have existing relationships with PPE production facilities we are able to act quickly to secure items. This helps ease the stress on healthcare facilities that are running low on masks and gloves and gives the government more time to put a more prominent distribution plan into place.