Q&A With PopNod Founder Stephanie David

The app, which launched this month, automatically gives a portion of every purchase to the cause of your choice.

Stephanie David was working as an account executive for Microsoft in Washington, when a trip to Thailand inspired her to take her career in a completely unexpected direction. In 2013, she left her corporate career in favor of fashion for a cause, launching PopNod that November, with a new app version that was released this month.

Through PopNod, members can purchase one of more than 500,000 items from popular retailers, and a portion is automatically donated to one of 55 causes of their choosing.

David, 34, the mind and energy behind PopNod, shares her journey from corporate techie to humanitarian fashionista and her goals for her company.

What was the inspiration for PopNod?

On a chance trip to Thailand in 2009, I met a gracious and kind family who owned an elephant farm. Although the family had very little, they devoted their lives to rescuing, breeding, and raising elephants—a sacred animal in Thai culture. If a single family is able to make a huge impact for an entire country, imagine if everyone felt empowered to help change the world every day. I left my rising career in the corporate world in fall 2013 to launch PopNod, a simple way for people to support the causes they care about while shopping at their favorite stores.

What’s the drive behind the app?

We launched the PopNod app to unite the most fashionable brands with the organizations and people that are changing the world. We wanted to create a beautiful shopping experience enhanced by carefully handpicked stores and curated products, combined with the ease of giving with every purchase. We also strive to create an engaging community for anyone to share their style stories and connect with their favorite brands, impactful organizations, and other mission-driven people.

Why do you think Washington makes a good market to launch this app?

We have met amazing people in the DC community—fashion bloggers, stylists, designers, retailers, nonprofit supporters, and others. And with DC being the epicenter of the nonprofit community and the setting for a growing fashion scene, we are excited to be a part of the fashion and tech community in DC.

How do the donations work?

We automatically donate a portion of your purchase to your cause every time you shop. You pay the same price for the item as you would if you purchased it normally—PopNod matches a portion of your purchase and donates it to your cause. It’s a win-win for you and your cause.

What’s the benefit of this kind of built-in giving?

Our goal is to show people that giving back can be done simply and in small ways. I think that people sometimes feel uncomfortable to give back if they don’t have large amounts to give. Much like small acts of kindness, the little gives can add up to a whole lot more without you even realizing it. For example, as little as $1 will provide a hot, nutritious meal for a child in need. If a single person donated one dollar every week, or a thousand people donated one dollar—imagine the impact.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.