In Korea, approximately 10 million animals are abandoned by their owners every year despite the growing interest in owning one. Although 70 percent of sheltered animals are adopted, half of them become ownerless again. Social enterprises which found this problematic have been working to support animal shelters and animals.
MungNyangGongBang (MNGB) is an accessory brand that financially supports an animal shelter called Angel’s Nest in Ilsan by donating 20 percent of the company’s profits. Profits are made by selling hand-made accessories using cleansed animal fur. The accessories include bracelets, broches, earrings, and necklaces which use sheltered dogs or cats’ fur in pendants.
MNGB’s accessories are enclosed with a letter which informs customers of which sheltered animal’s fur it was made of, and stories of how it became sheltered. Through such additional information, the company tries to change the negative perceptions of sheltered animals.
As for buyers who wish to customize accessories using their companion animals, 10 percent of the profit is donated from their purchase.
Shin Gi-yeon, the CEO of the company, plans on supporting more shelters when Angel’s Nest is able to operate independently.
“The uniqueness about our company is that we do not appeal to pity for more donations,” Shin said. “In order for animal shelters to be sustainable, they need to earn legal rights as well as financial stability. We helped Angel’s Nest to become a corporation, which enables the shelter to start a business and make profits independently.”
Shin is working on a fundraiser opened till Nov. 23 for Angel’s Nest which aims to garner 200 million won in total. Each donator will receive handmade badges, bracelets, or a postcard depending on the amount of donation one gives. The money will be used as a foundation for the shelter’s self-sufficiency.
Another fashion brand is Dear My Friends (DMF), a fashion brand that donates 25 percent of its profits to a volunteer club named Youmesa caring for sheltered dogs. Under the motto of “Save Dogs and be Fashionable,” the company created its own dog character to put on T-shirts. The dog character was designed to exhibit a confident attitude to change the perception that sheltered dogs are all dark and abandoned.
The company started when Lim Su-yeon, the CEO, participated in Sangmyung University’s entrepreneurship program. As she majored in business and fashion, she thought of a business model that would aid identically designed t-shirts for dogs and owners.
Lim expected that such clothes would strengthen the bond between dogs and owners, and she hoped for a cycle where her items would help reduce abandoned dogs, as owners feel more responsible and connected to their pets.
Currently, the company is trying to publicize its purpose through a flea market held in Young Forest Jongno. For two or three days every month till October, the company sold items that brings awareness of how important it is to care for one’s dogs.
Lim’s goal is to not only make clothes for humans, but to create a present box for dogs as well. She plans to organize more platforms that will strengthen bonds between dogs and owners.