How Ben & Jerry's ice cream inspired MSNBC's JJ Ramberg's entrepreneurial ventures

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MSNBC Your Business host JJ Ramberg didn’t just love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream growing up.

She loved their mission. That led not only to her career interviewing entrepreneurs on television but to her own socially responsible ventures including Goodshop and The Startup Club. 

In JJ’s money story you will learn:

-How Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream inspired JJ’s business with her brother called Goodshop

-How her business supports non-profit causes

-How to use GetGumdrop to support causes you care about

-How her ventures have raised nearly $13 million dollars for non-profit causes

 

In JJ’s lesson you will learn:

-How to balance being socially responsible business with profitability

-Why JJ believes corporate sustainability starts with focusing on secure jobs for employees

-When NOT to give directly to charity

 

In JJ’s money tip you will learn:

-How JJ’s new spending categorization strategy is helping her save money

 

In my take you will learn:

-How to balance supporting your business with supporting causes you believe in

-No-cost ways to support charities you believe in

 

Episode Links

Learn more about

JJ Ramberg on MSNBC

Been There Built That podcast

Your Business with JJ Ramberg on MSNBC

The Startup Club book

Goodshop

GetGumDrop

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

The Body Shop

Patagonia

Amazon Smile

Bidding for Good

 

Follow JJ Ramberg!

Linkedin

Twitter @jjramberg

Instagram @jj.ramberg

Facebook JJRamberg

 
MSNBC Your Business host JJ Ramberg didn’t just love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream growing up. She loved their mission. That led not only to her career interviewing entrepreneurs on television but to her own socially responsible ventures. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode we also discuss no-cost ways you can support charities. #CharityIdeas #GiveBack

MSNBC Your Business host JJ Ramberg didn’t just love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream growing up. She loved their mission. That led not only to her career interviewing entrepreneurs on television but to her own socially responsible ventures. In this Financial Grownup podcast episode we also discuss no-cost ways you can support charities. #CharityIdeas #GiveBack

 

Transcription

JJ Ramberg:
The most socially responsible thing you could do is make sure your employees have a job tomorrow and treat them well, whatever that takes.

Bobbi Rebell:
You're listening to Financial Grownup with me, certified financial planner Bobby Rebell, author of How to be a Financial Grownup. You know what? Being a grownup is really hard especially when it comes to money, but it's okay. We're going to get there together. I'm going to bring you one money story from a financial grownup, one lesson and then my take on how you can make it your own. We got this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Wise words from this episode's financial grownup. She is JJ Ramberg, host of Your Business on MSNBC. JJ has been talking to small business entrepreneurs for more than a dozen years. JJ also hosts the Been There, Built That podcast, and she has a few pretty significant side hustles that she herself has been building including a fantastic plug-in app called Goodshop and a young adult book project with her sister that she will tell us about. Here is JJ Ramberg. JJ Ramberg, welcome. You are a financial grownup. Great to have you.

JJ Ramberg:
So happy to talk to you, Bobbi.

Bobbi Rebell:
You have your own new podcast and a new book to talk about. Tell us more.

JJ Ramberg:
I do. There's a lot going on. We've recently a few months ago launched our podcast Been There, Built That. Basically, I've had this show on MSNBC for 12 years called Your Business.

Bobbi Rebell:
Longest running show, right? Is that the longest running show on business?

JJ Ramberg:
It's the second longest running show after Chris Matthews, after Hardball. I know.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's the longest business show.

JJ Ramberg:
Yeah, for sure. It's crazy. I think it's the second longest running female anchor.

Bobbi Rebell:
Awesome.

JJ Ramberg:
Maybe first female, I don't know.

Bobbi Rebell:
Let's just go with first. Let someone correct us.

JJ Ramberg:
Exactly. I've had this show on MSNBC for 12 years about growing businesses. We just launched the podcast because on this show I get three minutes to talk to people. I always get to talk to them much longer in the green room and at coffee. The podcast is my chance to now get those conversations out to our audience too.

Bobbi Rebell:
You also have The Startup Club.

JJ Ramberg:
The Startup Club was my side passion project that I did with my sister. It's a fiction book for kids about kids who start businesses. It's a typical book for grade school kids, like two best friends start a business. The mean girl in school copies them. They get in a fight. The brother gets involved, all this stuff. Through it, they learn what's the difference between profit and revenue, and what is marketing, and all kinds of business things, which tap into kids' general interest at this age anyhow.

Bobbi Rebell:
Kids are curious. My son is very curious. I have a ten-a-half-year-old. He is very curious about business. I am definitely going to check that out with him. You also, speaking of kids, when you were a kid, you loved ice cream. It was memories of Ben & Jerry's that inspired your money story that you're going to share with us.

JJ Ramberg:
It was. When I was growing up I was really taken by the idea of socially responsible businesses. In those days it was Ben & Jerry's, all the good that they were doing, and The Body Shop when it first started, and Patagonia. I thought when I'm older, even just as a kid, I thought I want to do something that is business because I come from a family of business owners and incorporates doing good. Cut ahead many, many, many years, and my brother and I came up with this idea called Goodshop, which was we partnered with thousands of stores. You'd shop just like you normally would. We'd get you all the best coupons and deals for those stores, but you can select your favorite cause no matter what it was. A percentage of what you spend goes back to that cause.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's awesome. Now there are extensions.

JJ Ramberg:
Now we have the Gumdrop extension. You don't even have to worry about putting the coupon in or choosing your cause every time. You just go to getgumdrop.com and add the extension. It automatically puts the best coupon in at checkout. If you select a cause, a percentage of what you spend will go back to that cause. We've raised nearly $13 million for causes so far.

Bobbi Rebell:
Amazing. What is your lesson for want to be entrepreneurs who also want to be doing good? How do you actually execute this? This is an 11-year overnight success.

JJ Ramberg:
Twelve, actually.

Bobbi Rebell:
Yes, 12. Oh my gosh, 12.

JJ Ramberg:
Yeah. It's interesting. I get this question a lot from people. As you can imagine, because of the show, I meet so many founders and people who want to start companies. Because my company is socially responsible, I get the question. My thought is Goodshop was born originally on this premise of let's give away our revenue when people choose causes. It was baked into what we were doing. That's why we launched it in the beginning, but not every company is like that, and not every company needs to be. You got to think of social responsibility not just about giving money away. It can be about treating your employees really well. The best thing, I think, the most socially responsible thing you could do is make sure your employees have a job tomorrow and treat them well, whatever that takes. Yes, if you can take time off to volunteer, or if you can donate part of your profit, that's fantastic, but I don't think you need to feel the great pressure of that right when you're starting up, if you don't have time.

Bobbi Rebell:
I feel like there is pressure for people to say, "I'm giving this percentage to charity." In fact, by employing people, you are helping.

JJ Ramberg:
Yeah, and look, when you're starting out, you know this, you don't necessarily have money to spare to give away. That money needs to go back into building your business.

Bobbi Rebell:
Solvency is important.

JJ Ramberg:
You have to think about what makes sense for your company at this particular time. Look, it's changeable. As you grow, things can change. I think treating people well and keeping your doors open, you can think of that as socially responsible.

Bobbi Rebell:
Give me a money tip, something that you and your family do that our listeners can implement right now.

JJ Ramberg:
I have recently started categorizing all of what I spend, which I think is so fun. I know some people think that is so horrifying.

Bobbi Rebell:
That's fun? That's not fun.

JJ Ramberg:
I know. It's so funny. To most people, that sounds awful. To me, I take such great pleasure in seeing exactly where my money is going. My money tip, if it at all sounds fun to you, go ahead and do it also. There are all kinds of systems online.

Bobbi Rebell:
Are you using an app?

JJ Ramberg:
I use a proprietary one, but there are lots of them out there that will help you do this.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you, JJ.

JJ Ramberg:
Good to talk to you, Bobbi.

Bobbi Rebell:
Here is my take on what JJ had to say. It has a lot to do with her refreshing and realistic on business and being socially responsible while you build a business. Financial grownup tip number one, as JJ says so well, when starting a venture don't get caught up in making sure that you give, for example, a certain percentage of profits to charity, or give employees days off to volunteer. If it works for your business plan, that's great. The truth is if your business provides a service that is helpful to your clients, providing value for them and also can provide a solid and stable job for your employees to support their families, that is good too. A solvent, profitable business should be your priority.

Bobbi Rebell:
Financial grownup tip number two. From the consumer perspective, for things that you are already buying, see if there's a way that you can buy things that you're already buying, and have a percentage of what you are already paying go to a cause that you care about. For example, you can start with Goodshop's new Gumdrop extension. You could also, for example, shop with retailers that donate a percentage to charity like Amazon Smile, which has the same products as Amazon, but donates half of one percent of your purchase to the charity of your choice.

Bobbi Rebell:
Also, keep an eye out for themed promotions at places you already shop where they will give a certain percentage to charity for that time period. Separately, you can go directly to charities and even schools and ask if they have any partnerships with retailers. Very often you can put a code in and, for example, enter through a website portal with retailers. Then that organization will get a cut of what you spend. I also like to shop at school auctions where I can buy things that I probably would have bought anyway, and you can support the school or the cause. The website I use for that is called biddingforgood. You can bid on items for any school or organization there. You don't have to be affiliated with that organization or school. I've bought everything from kids' classes to theater tickets, even a yoga mat, all through bidding for good often at lower than retail prices, in fact. Even though you're bidding, it's not always a higher price. Sometimes you actually get a good deal for yourself. Of course, the money goes to the school or the organization, so it's all good.

Bobbi Rebell:
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Financial Grownup podcast. If you like the show and want to hear more, please help support us by subscribing and then rating or reviewing on iTunes or Apple Podcast. That is the way more people can hear about us. Also, please share on social media or just tell a friend. I hope you enjoyed hearing JJ's story and advice and that we all got one step closer to being financial grownups. Financial Grownup with Bobbi Rebell is edited and produced by Steve Stuart and is BRK Media Production.