Monday, May 05, 2008

Failure Nau

The social business Nau is closing down. Why? It could not raise the capital it needed to keep growing. As the founders write in their going away letter:

"Just as we could not have predicted the sudden groundswell of environmental consciousness that blossomed at the time we launched our business, we did not foresee the current crisis in the capital markets."

Nau is an example of a new breed of business. Its business charter incorporated social and public responsibility, it produced green clothing which it sold in webfronts, donated more than $200,000 in its first year of business and used its "collective" to capture and share stories of others trying similar things. It worried about and took action about its carbon load, sustainable fabrics, global sourcing, and LEED certification.

Now is a chance to learn what can work in this new space where business meets good. It is a chance to think about parallels and bumps in capital markets on the social side and in the commercial sector. And it is a chance to consider the dimensions of success and of failure as business and social good try to come together. It is also a chance to buy really cool clothes at 50% off.

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