Every now and then you hear a story that really inspires you. This is the remarkable story of David Laity, the creator of Goodwill Wines.
Ten years ago David had nothing to do with wines, except perhaps the occasional glass with dinner. At that time he was a film maker based in rural Victoria, living a peaceful life with his partner and dog in Chum Creek unaware that their world was about to be turned upside down.
2009 was the year that Australia experienced the most devastating bushfires on record - The Black Saturday Bushfires. In one horrifying week, 400 bushfires burned across the state of Victoria, displacing thousands of people from their homes as the number of fatalities rose. Many sustained injuries as they fought to save their homes, their pets, their belongings. David was one of the many affected. He lost everything he had ever owned in the fires but still he felt lucky that he, his partner and dog had survived the ordeal.
It's interesting how tragedy can change the path you are on, make you reassess your priorities and steer you in a completely new direction. Like so many devastated by the fires David had to start all over again from scratch with the aid of donations. But instead of using the $15,000 Red Cross Bushfire Appeal he received to replace material goods, David decided to rebuild in a different way, he started a company to pay it forward.
From the ashes Goodwill Wines was born. A company which focused on helping make a difference in the world and assisting those unable to help themselves through partnership with charities. His concept was to buy end of production wines from some of Australia's most reputable vineyards, rebranding them for sale and passing on 50% of his profits to charity.
''Because I got so much help I just feel obliged to pay that forward, to do something constructive with the money that the Australian public donated,'' he says. ''It feels to me it is more about rewarding supporters of charities.''
When Goodwill Wines started in 2010 it had only one charity on it's books, the Country Fire Authority. Today they support more than 300 charity and non-profit organisations, allowing the customer to choose where the 50% donation is distributed with each purchase of wine from their website.
Humbled by the generosity he was shown by others, David was dedicated to paying the charities from the beginning, even though this ment sacrificing a wage for himself. He once said that his bookkeeper thought he was crazy, usually the mission of a business is to make as much profit as possible, but David was determined to stick to his commitment to pay it forward.
"Running a business that gives away 50% of its profits is extremely challenging."
Before long Goodwill Wines started to build a name for itself, more wineries came on board as did more charities. Word spread spread about this top-quality wine company that had a social conscience.
It is inspiring to hear that the company ethos of care extends beyond just the profits. Goodwill wines uses 100% recycled cartons for all their packaging, they offset their freight, fuel and electricity using Greenfleet and are working towards employing staff who are disadvantaged. Giving them the chance to show what great workers they can be given the opportunity.
"The first employee that we're bringing on is a long-term unemployed person who we are committing to full-time employment here. The next person is someone who has a disability and they're really only capable of working two days a week, but they're a great worker.
"We're just going to gradually build to fill out our workforce with people who really want to work but aren't given the chance to do that."
You can find out more about Goodwill Wines and the charities they support on their website.
Heading to Xerocon Brisbane 2019?
CloudIntegration.Partners is giving you the chance to
WIN 1 of 14 Double packs of Goodwill Wine.
To enter simply visit us at Stand #51.
We look forward to hearing which charity you are passionate about and supporting Goodwill Wines on their mission to help others.