“Do the Kind Thing” – A Company’s Not for Profit Only Business Model by Nancy Gendimenico
During an April fireside chat with Marcos Salazar from Be Social Change, Daniel Lubeztsky, founder of Kind Healthy Snacks, discussed his journey to becoming a serial entrepreneur and creator of the fastest growing snack food, Kind Fruit and Nut Bars. Mr. Lubetzky’s recently released book, “Do the Kind Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposely and Live Passionately” tells the story of how his Mexican roots and experience growing up as the son of a Holocaust survivor inspired his own success. And contrary to the recent Atlantic Magazine story, “Why It Pays to Be a Jerk,” Daniel Lubetzky took a different tact in building his brand and creating a “Kind” movement.
Earlier in his career, Daniel Lubezkty, who is a lawyer by training, developed a line of all natural sauces and spreads called Peace Works. He went from deli to deli in New York City selling his sauces and wanted a healthy and delicious snack to keep him going while working long hours. In creating Kind Bar, Daniel Lubetzky set out to make a bar with minimal processed food ingredients.
Launched in 2004, Kind Bars are now distributed in over 150,000 retail outlets from grocery and convenience stores to Starbucks, Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Amtrak trains. The company has sold more than a billion KIND bars to date, generating nine figure revenues. Today with over 500 employees in the company, the Kind Bar culture focuses on work ethic, unity, and doing something together. Kind employees are encouraged to think like owners. Mr. Lubetzky believes empathy is an overlooked quality in business and suggests considering the other parties’ perspective during conflict. And he had to do exactly that not too long ago.
The brand was showing significant growth–with Kind market share increasing from a 2.8 share in 2013 to 4.9% in 2014 when it was hit with an FDA labeling issue. Kind bars contain nutritious fats from nuts, but the fat grams exceed the amount allowed under the FDA standard. The Kind team used the crisis to get to new success and development while cooperating with the FDA. The company is now consulting with health experts to improve diet guidelines. As the brand expands into new categories, such as savory snacks, it will continue to focus on whole ingredients (those you can see and pronounce), staying true to the brand’s promise.
With the moniker “it takes strength to be kind” Lubetzky’s brand spawned the Kind Movement and has sparked more than a million good deeds worldwide. These range from leading coat drives to surprising a co-worker with a coffee, with the aim of receivers paying it forward.
Kind Causes supports individuals and organizations working to make the world a little kinder with a monthly donation of $10,000. Causes are selected by the community’s top votes each month. Recent recipients include the Women’s Debate Institute. The Kind Parents/Kind Kids Initiative, in partnership with online retailer Zulily, hosts Kindness safaris at zoos across the country to show kids how easy and fun doing kind acts every day can be.
Mr. Lubetzky is also a founding member of Maiyet, a luxury fashion accessory and apparel brand utilizing the skills of artisans from around the globe.
His entrepreneurial initiatives clearly demonstrate “a not for profit only” business model is the smart and “kind” thing to do.