Check out our interview below with Janji co-founder, Dave Spandorfer:
Q: Charities in all forms exist and more than ever before. All generations but especially millennials are more demanding of knowing exactly where that donation is spent and its visible effects. Can we see the outcome of our investment?
A: Millennials absolutely want to know more about how they help, where they help, and who they help. And that’s an incredible thing. As a member of the Sriracha loving, third-wave coffee drinking generation, I want to make Janji as transparent as possible. That’s why 10% of the sale of every donation isn’t going to some fund, but specifically toward clean water organization in the country where the clothes represent. And these aren’t any organization: they’re the best organizations serving clean water needs in that country.
Q: Dave, as we read on your website, the purchase of 1 garment provides water to a family for a certain amount of time. Can you elaborate on the breakdown of say 1 long sleeve purchase to 1 family as far as resources/water?
A: So what Janji does is give 10% of the sale of each piece toward a clean water organization. And with that amount of money, we give about one year of clean water to one person in that country. Isn’t that crazy? It’s incredible with what just a little bit of money can do, and the impact that it can make for clean water.
Q: How have some of the local governments been supportive or responsive to your company’s efforts?
A: We try and choose countries and communities where the local government is very supportive of Janji’s clean water efforts and Janji’s partner’s efforts. That’s critical. If you don’t have local buy-in or governmental support, the community projects can quickly fall apart and not deliver its long-term promise.
Q: Did either of you have any exposure to the run industry prior to the start-up of your business? Say a run shop or something similar?
A: We came up with the idea in college, so we didn’t have too much time in the industry! But I did work part time in a running store, and working in that store (shout out Big River Running!) allowed us to learn how people shop, what they want in running gear, and what needs were still being met by the big players. That learning experience was absolutely critical to starting Janji.
Q: Give us some of your influences: peers, parents, people you’ve met?
A: I was a history major in college, so I didn’t know a whole lot about running. But one thing that’s great about runners is that they’re sharing. We’re based in Boston, and I get the luxury of running with folks who work at New Balance, Saucony, Reebok, Craft, Karhu, and so many other brands based here. I was also fortunate to meet many mentors while starting Janji, many of whom were involved in apparel and in the specialty running business.
Q: What does the future look like for your company. Give us some Elon Musk!!
A: Well if Elon Musk’s goal is to create a colony on Mars, I think the least Janji can do is solve the global water crisis that afflicts over 700 million people. Long term, what we want to do with Janji is to create the most meaningful global running community ever built. We want to create a community in which people use running as a way to bridge differences; use running as a way to discover themselves and the world around them; and use running as a way to impact the world for generations to come. The idea is there, the passion is there, and the early support is there. Now it’s time to put the running shoes on and get to work!