Good for business: The rise of start-ups with positive purpose

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When Zenify founder Andonis Sakatis arrived in Australia from the UK three years ago, he realised there was gap in the market for a retail business with a greater good.

“We wanted to do something new; to create a profits-for-purpose business. That means we’re not a charity, we are a business with the purpose of making profit that chooses to make an impact with that profit,” he explains.

Zenify founder Adonis Sakatis is bringing his mission to life
Zenify founder Adonis Sakatis is bringing his mission to lifeCredit: Supplied.

The company sells everyday items such as pet products and kitchenware, with a mission statement that is, “to support the causes our customers care about through their everyday purchases.”

But it’s not only the mission statement that determines the company’s purpose. Its business model is structured around three pillars that bring the mission to life: to develop meaningful products, to sell them efficiently and to nurture a community that cares.


When it comes to the first pillar, the focus is on developing products people genuinely want and need.

“We spend a huge amount of time researching trends, speaking to our community and looking into the problems they are trying to solve, before we work with manufacturers to close this gap,” Sakatis says.

The second pillar, selling efficiently, is essential giving a portion of products donated.

“We need to make sure we can sell enough, we’re cash flow positive and we’re making a profit. This means making sure our costs are variable and minimising fixed costs,” adds Sakatis.

Amazon Australia, which is one of the business’s most important sales channels, supports this part of the business model by allowing Zenify to minimise warehousing and distribution costs and at the same time, directly sell to a large customer base through the channel.

Says Sakatis: “The data we get from Amazon allows us to be very targeted with our marketing budget, which helps us sell more, which means we can donate more.”

The third pillar, nurturing the community, involves linking customers, experts and causes in a virtuous circle.

“We have the infrastructure to connect and create conversation between them. It allows us to ask what our causes and community needs, drawing on insights from our experts to support this process. This flywheel effect [helps us] grow and reinvest in our business model.”

Aside from demonstrating responsibility in business, experts say focusing on a purpose is great for business growth.

According to human behaviour specialist Mark Carter, having clarity around a company’s vision and mission statements are essential foundations to being purpose-driven. Moreover, this approach can also help to increase engagement.

“All businesses provide and sell services and products. But the likelihood of improving engagement with your stakeholders increases significantly when that transactional component clearly has an impact that’s greater than simply turning a profit for the business owners,” says Carter.

Zenify Pets is a great example of how this process works in action. “We started asking pet charities what they needed, and we kept hearing that new owners require lots of different things when a pet is adopted,” says Sakatis.

Zenify Pets is coming to the aid of animal charities.
Zenify Pets is coming to the aid of animal charities.Credit: Supplied.

“But charities don’t usually have the means to supply what they need, which is where we can help. We now donate adoption packs to a range of pet charities.”

Zenify also has very active Instagram and Facebook accounts, which help to reinforce its community. “Our Zenify Pets Facebook group has about 1500 members who share pictures of their pets every day and who also give us feedback on our products,” says Sakatis.

Importantly, Carter says businesses that live and breathe their values find engagement and loyalty from customers is more forthcoming.

“We live in an age where corporate social responsibility has elevated importance. So, brands that are perceived as authentic are rewarded or supported,” explains Carter.

That’s certainly been Zenify’s experience, which grew by 200 per cent last financial year and is on track to turn in a similar performance this year. It’s a stellar result and a good argument in favour of a purposeful approach to profit. is putting small Australian businesses front and centre through their ‘Shop Local’ store in the run up to their massive shopping event, Prime Day and beyond. Head to to shop products from hundreds of Australian small businesses.

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