Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of Manhattan-based KIND Healthy Snacks, founded his company in 2003 based on a simple value proposition: “Be KIND to your body, your taste buds and the world.” Lubetzky’s commitment to this philosophy is evident not only in the company’s products, but also in its social impact. KIND’s straightforward approach to nourishing both the body and the soul has resulted in continued success and growth in a challenging economic environment, and has earned Lubetzky the honor of being selected as one of four finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year in the “established” category. This annual award recognizes entrepreneurs who “have demonstrated true dedication, passion and creative thinking when it comes to the growth of their businesses and the positive impact made on their communities,” according to Amy Cosper, VP/editor in chief at Entrepreneur.
With so many snack options on the market, one might wonder how KIND avoided becoming just another bar on the shelf and instead went on to earn recognition from national business publications such as Entrepreneur and become the fastest-growing healthy snack in the nutrition bar category. The answer is clear. Clear, literally, in that KIND snack bars are packaged in transparent plastic that allows the bars’ ingredients to shine through in all their wholesome glory. Clear also in that all those ingredients are real, natural foods (such as fruits, nuts and honey) that you can identify and pronounce. And best of all, KIND snack bars prove that healthy can also be tasty.
Life can be overwhelmingly complicated these days, so it’s no surprise that people would gravitate toward the simple. By filling the need in the market for something uncomplicated, healthy, tasty and portable, Lubetzky gives people a way to be KIND to their bodies and their taste buds. But what about being KIND to the world? Unsurprisingly, Lubetzky has a simple and effective approach to that too.
Lubetzky and his team are what you might call ambassadors of kindness. Through the KIND Movement, they integrate kindness into every interaction, whether it be with customers, vendors, or total strangers. The movement involves performing “not-so-random” acts of kindness without any ulterior motive or hidden agenda – kind acts with a clear package, if you will. The hope is that one good turn, which could be anything from sharing an umbrella to buying someone a coffee, will inspire another and another and so on. According to KIND team member Kristin Lane, it starts from within the walls of the office. “Our CTO at KIND has been spending sleepless nights working to get our revamped website up and running. Amazingly enough, he has kept a warm smile on his face the entire time. I don’t think I have ever heard a negative word come out of this man’s mouth – he is truly an inspiring example of someone who lives his life with kindness. To thank him, I asked him his favorite dessert, found the recipe and am surprising him with it tomorrow in the office,” Lane shared.
In 2008, KIND launched an interactive online platform called The KIND Movement that “maps, tracks, and inspires” acts of kindness. The idea is that people perform KIND acts (referred to as KINDINGS) and pass a uniquely coded card on to the recipient of the act. Each act would be logged on the site under that code, enabling one to see how far their chain reaction of kindness extends. People are also encouraged to share their KINDINGS (with our without a code) on the site as well as on KIND’s Facebook page. Facebook fan Stefanie recently shared a kind act she performed; “This morning when I went for a bagel, the person in front of me was short on change. I just told the cashier to put it on my charge and it made the stranger’s day. They said they appreciated the KINDness and I felt good helping out someone I didn’t even know.”
And if you think these small acts of kindness can’t have a big impact on the world, think again. Through a program called Do the KIND Thing, the company recently awarded a total of $40,000 to Operation Gratitude, Good Girls Give and Suffolk Y JCC, three organizations which inspired the most KINDINGS to be performed and shared on the site. KIND also gives back 5% of profits to various charitable organizations.
It’s brilliant marketing – with the passing on of the coded cards, the KIND brand is literally placed in the consumer’s hand and heart at the exact moment someone has done something good to them – but it is also sincere. It wouldn’t work if it were not. It is a testament to Lubetzky’s genuine passion to make the world a better place that he has managed to implement something like the KIND Movement without it feeling forced or artificial. Of course, there is nothing artificial about KIND Healthy Snacks. This is something consumers appreciate and something the business community respects. It is why Daniel Lubetzky is a finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s distinguished recognition.
For Lubetzky, being selected as a finalist by Entrepreneur serves as “powerful recognition of the entire KIND community and its efforts to build a movement that gives new purpose to snacking.” And winning? “Winning would be an inspiring confirmation that KIND is playing a vital role in promoting kindness to our bodies, taste buds and the world,” says Lubetzky.
If you are inspired to vote for Daniel Lubetzky and KIND Healthy Snacks, please visit Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 site and cast your ballot through September 10th.
If you are inspired to purchase KIND snack bars, check out the KIND website to order or find a store.
And if you are inspired to perform a not-so-random act of kindness, go right ahead! Then visit KINDmovement.com or KIND’s Facebook page to share it with the world and inspire others.