A portion of the profits will be donated to various charities, but this isn't a non-profit and will have employees with decent salaries. There seems to be a lot of potential for that to be a turn-off for customers. If any of you have had this type of experience, how did you handle the PR? Do you have any advice for someone engaging on this type of an entrepreneurial venture?
Actually, projects that merge profit and social consciousness are extremely trendy right now. Beyond fashion, such projects are rationally what the world ought to be up to, right? No philanthropy is possible without profit somewhere else first.
So I don't think the mixture of "giving back" and profit would be a turn-off for customers. On the contrary. Own it! Be transparent! Brag about it! Make this mixture of sustainable profit and do-gooder social motives a principal selling point. Put it center stage!
When your messaging highlights this mixed approach, nobody can accuse you of hypocrisy or hidden agendas. You preempt those "gotcha" stories. That's how you handle PR.
Then, as long as there is no perceived exploitation of the people you're supposed to be helping, you can be pretty secure in your own skin. Rest easy. Concentrate on the task at hand.
If you'd like help crafting the message, talk to me.