A Google search for “men’s dress shirts” yields a list of ads and results from the most expected brands. But if you install a new Chrome extension called DoneGood, you’ll also get a lesser-known suggestion: Tuckerman, a startup that makes organic cotton shirts in a union factory in Massachusetts.
With any consumer search, if a more sustainable or ethically made option is available, the extension will automatically recommend it.
“Our overarching goal is always to make this as easy as possible, and to not require people to spend any more time or any additional effort to discover these amazing companies,” says DoneGood CEO Cullen Schwarz.
Schwarz and cofounder Scott Jacobson, who met while working in politics and at nonprofits in D.C., had both struggled to find companies that they wanted to support–and that didn’t have business practices that contradicted what they were trying to do in their day jobs.
As they started to envision a tool that could help, they met with social enterprises that explained the challenge of reaching new customers. “The companies we talked to said that our number one problem is getting people to find us in the first place,” says Schwarz. “These are generally small to midsize companies and they don’t have the huge marketing budgets of the global corporate brands and the big-box stores. And on Google and Amazon searches, big companies tend to come up first.”
The new extension tries to solve that problem while also making the process simple for customers. Since people tend to shop on Google, Amazon, and large brand sites, that’s where the extension offers its suggestions.
DoneGood uses independent certifications, from B Corps to Rainforest Alliance, to screen companies, along with independent research. “There are all of these certifications, but they’re all disparate and looking at different kinds of issues and different kinds of businesses,” he says. “So we start by looking at all of those certifications and bringing them together.”
The companies are also selected because they make higher-quality products. “A lot of big companies have gotten really good at cranking out a ton of cheap, low-quality stuff that breaks down quickly,” says Schwarz. “DoneGood companies are making unique, high-quality products that are built to last.”
The company also makes an app that lets customers search for companies more directly, by choosing a product and selecting values–like “women-owned” or “green.” DoneGood piloted an early version of the app in Boston while the startup was incubated at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Both the extension and app were released nationally on November 28.