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Cause Marketing, Fashion Week Style

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tonictee

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Pankaj Shah is a 36-year-old four-time entrepreneur whose latest project, Tonic, is like Angelina Jolie in website form: glitz and sex appeal combined with do-gooding and a dose of unreasonable optimism. The for-profit site sells exclusively celebrity-linked products (Donna Karan T-shirts, a Gwen Stefani-signed iPod) with a percentage of proceeds going to various charities, and also runs original news stories, focused on “random acts of kindness.”

“So many people tell me I don’t even read the news anymore or watch it, I don’t want to hear about this crap! Give me some good news!” Shah, who’s in town for Fashion Week, told me. His mix of relentless positivity and cheerful profanity is apparently beloved by his legions of famous friends. He makes no secret of the fact that “a lot of our success comes from calling in personal favors. And it gets easier every time you ask.”

 

[photo: Luella Bartley tee from Tonic.]

About the author

Anya Kamenetz is the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her 2011 ebook The Edupunks’ Guide was funded by the Gates Foundation

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