Our Story

Hello, my name is Joelle Adler and thank you for coming to Dept. of GOOD to learn more about who we are and what we stand for. We hope you’ll help us launch the vision for Dept. of GOOD, which we have been working on passionately, collaboratively, and with great love to bring to our communities.

Join us in a NOSTALGIC LEAP into the future.

We began this journey in 2001 when a personal tragedy changed my life forever. The 17-month journey of taking care of and ultimately losing my best friend, partner, and husband enlightened me tremendously and also fueled a fire in me to take a senseless loss and make it mean something. The most critical takeaway from this loss was the focus to create something positive and impactful, and most importantly to promote the power that we possess as individuals to change our communities.

Taking my business experience and my passions to help children around the world, my family along with incredible friends in Toronto founded ONEXONE, an organization dedicated to 5 pillars we felt were rights for all children: access to water, health, education, proper nutrition, and play.

We travelled through Haiti, Africa, the USA, and Canada and helped establish numerous programs for lasting change. In early 2006, we were in Rwanda and I was struck by the importance of helping people with dignity and of being sensitive to the importance of creating opportunity rather than hand-outs. We realized that entrepreneurship was an incredible opportunity to elevate millions out of poverty. Back in 2006, we did not have a name for it, we simply knew that building small businesses and giving back part of the revenue into the surrounding communities was a clear and easy business model to help create value and genuine good.

Today, many of us around the world are seeing the same opportunities - that capitalism with a heart is a wonderful way to build our communities and help empower the next generations to improve the world one person at a time. There are so many businesses moving towards the new economy, and we are grateful and humbled to be a small part of this change for good.

In 2014, I retired from my position as CEO at Diesel Canada and decided that the last 12 years’ experiences since my husband’s passing had given me a vision that I wanted to establish and bring into the world. In 2015, I moved to Venice, California, and finally the Dept. of GOOD was born. Working with an amazing group of millennials and gen Z individuals has taught me a lot and is keeping me young. The startup world is not for the faint of heart, especially in the technology sector; however, when you have the next generations committed with you to your vision, it keeps you going strong and so grateful for all the wonderful humanity in this world.

Our model was based on all my experiences – corporately, personally, and philanthropically. One mind became two sitting in a Venice café on our Macs, as our vision came alive for a model that we passionately believe can help empower communities (physical, virtual, and like-minded).

  • In building multiple brands during our career, I saw independent, small retail as the critical partner in helping develop those brands. In the last decade, we could see the erosion of small retail and, in turn, the deterioration of local communities. I also understood that small business made up over 97% of all business in North America and hired over 70% of the workforce. These businesses which had always been the cornerstone of our communities were being decimated by the major players.

  • My experience the fashion industry was needing a disruption and we felt we could help – fresh merchandise and a supply chain which works for the small retailer and the consumer.

  • I saw the difficulties of new, innovative products making it to the marketplace and was shocked to understand that the small percentage who had the resources were the only ones making it.

  • Pure philanthropy is rarely sustainable – building in a community impact in all our businesses is the answer.

  • More and more artisanal goods are available to the expanding market, and cottage industries are a wonderful way to help community and at the same time create a network of locally-sourced products.

  • The consumer is more sensitive to their purchasing power and how they can leverage that power.

  • Technology is our friend, when used in a healthy and democratic way.

  • Women-run businesses and female empowerment (not at the expense of men) can genuinely help society flourish.

Today, we have brought the Dept. of GOOD to life and we are so proud to share it with you. Click here to see how OUR MODEL works.