Read the full story in Triple Pundit.
Monika Wiela was walking to work on Michigan Avenue in Chicago when she passed a homeless man holding a sign that read, “I need shoes.” Wiela desperately wanted to help him. As the founder of online shoe store StyleUpGirl.com, she had a warehouse full of platform heels and stiletto boots – but no men’s shoes.
Wiela did, however, have a ton of cardboard shipping boxes, and after ruminating over the man’s dilemma all night, she came up with a solution: What if you could take your old shipping boxes from online retailers and – instead of tossing them into the recycling or garbage – pack them with clothes and household goods you no longer need, and send them to charities?
That’s the idea behind Give Back Box, a startup Wiela launched last year after running a year-long test with StyleUpGirl.com clientele. Before shipping a pair of new shoes to customers, the Polish-born entrepreneur placed a prepaid mailing label addressed to a secondhand charity in the cardboard box, along with donation instructions. The result? Thirteen percent of shoppers boxed up their unwanted goods and mailed them off to nonprofit organizations.
Now Wiela is working with online retailers Newegg.com and Overstock.com to promote the Give Back Box program to their customers, by including flyers in their cardboard shipping boxes. Prior to officially launching her partnership with Newegg, Wiela ran a pilot program with the electronics retailer and achieved a return rate of 0.5 percent without any real marketing effort, Forbes reported.