Lily Kanter, entrepreneur extraordinaire and Mill Valley-based mother of three boys, has relaunched Boon Supply Co., a creative and unique online retail concept that gives back to participating nonprofits when you shop. Look for your children’s school or favorite nonprofit on the site before you make your purchase.
Boon Supply Co. is an online retail platform that donates 50 percent of all sales to its nonprofit partners. It follows Kanter’s two earlier “tech meets retail sales” successes, while fueling her passion for philanthropy.
As a former business manager for Microsoft’s San Francisco retail stores, Kanter landed, at age 35, on the cover of Time magazine for using her success to fuel philanthropy through the foundation she established with her husband — the Sarosi-Kanter Charitable Foundation.
Almost by accident, and only a few days after her second son was born, Kanter launched Serena & Lily, a home furnishings and design firm with coastal sensibilities that started online and expanded into retail stores across the country. Serena & Lily now generates more than $190 million in annual sales. Her Mill Valley home, featured in Coastal Living, reflects the company’s aesthetic and style.
In this Q&A, Kanter explains her Boon Supply Co. vision and sets philanthropic goals that might seem audacious coming from others, but are likely to mark a three-peat success for her.
You have such heart for philanthropy. Why?
It likely started with my upbringing, as my parents were tireless volunteers in the community. I feel like it just feels good to give back. It definitely feeds my overall happiness. I’m very inspired by people doing amazing work to fix our broken world and just want to use whatever talents I have to help contribute to the work they are doing.
Please describe Boon Supply Co. Why did you choose it as your next entrepreneurial endeavor?
Boon Supply Co. is an online retailer that gives back 50 percent of all purchases to the cause of the buyer’s choice. The site hosts affordable, everyday goods, many of which are $25 or less, in the categories of cooking, eco-friendly living, travel, and home organization. Gifting will be arriving in fall 2018.
I’ve been dreaming about a democratized cause shopping platform for many years. When I was presented with the opportunity to acquire a school fundraising business in early 2017, this created the foundation and basis for Boon Supply Co.
What are your favorite Boon Supply items?
I love our reusable shopping bags; they are fun, fashionable, and very practical. I also love our planter ziplock pouches. I’m obsessed with our packing cubes because I have three boys and when we travel they are literally like drawers in our bag.
Which nonprofits benefit from proceeds during this launch and why did you choose them?
Because I believe giving starts at home, we launched in a very local way with more than 50 local public and private schools in Marin county as our fundraising partners. I want to really understand firsthand how we can use this platform in the most effective way — including our community outreach event space — and we want to be a local resource for nonprofits and schools in our community.
How do other nonprofits apply for the opportunity to be beneficiaries?
Any organization can launch a fundraiser on our site in four simple steps. It literally takes minutes. We are always looking for “spotlight” partners that want to share with their network.
Even though this is an online catalog business, you have a retail sales space in Mill Valley. What are your hopes for this place?
While we are definitely an online e-commerce platform, we will be using our retail space for community events. We are currently hosting an art exhibit for Kiddo!, the local community foundation for Mill Valley public schools for arts and music.
What is your long-term vision for Boon Supply Co.?
To continue to build out the assortment, become a go-to for everyday goods, and to give hundreds of millions of dollars to causes and organizations in need.
Anything else you want to tell us?
We are extremely excited about the possibilities of using commerce as a force for good.
Check out some of Boon Supply Co.’s nonprofit beneficiaries:
- YES Foundation
- Kiddo! Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation
- Bridge the Gap College Prep
- America SCORES
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Susan B. Noyes is the founder of Make It Better. She practiced labor law at Sidley & Austin before deciding to lay down the law full-time for her six children instead. Her favorite time of the day is family dinner, despite her children’s constant misbehavior. Susan loves to network, build community, write, and organize lots of moving pieces. Her motto: “A clean home is a wasted life.”