'I launched the site to make a positive difference to people and the environment'
Updated: Sep 4, 2021
Christine Langdon joined Purposely Podcast to share her founder story with The Good Registry,
Christine is a social entrepreneur and communicator with a passion for having a positive impact for people and the planet. Co-founder and Chief of Good at The Good Registry, a community and website that is helping to make giving more simple, sustainable and kind.
Christine has also taught yoga in prison and was once seconded to the New York Post to work as a journalist for an eventful time which included covering riots and celebrity gossip. Today she combines work on the registry with purpose led consultancy.
What's the vision and mission of The Good Registry?
‘The Good Registry, based in New Zealand, is a gift platform where people give charity donation gifts. In the past it's always been stuff we buy from shops and it hasn't always been stuff that people necessarily want, need or ever use. The Good Registry is about recognising people without having to buy them stuff. Instead the money is helping good causes, stopping waste and saving the environment.’
Was it your idea? How did it come about?
‘It was my inspiration and four years ago (2017) I left my role as Community Manager at Z Energy and while I did not have an exact plan I knew that I wanted to create something that would have a positive social impact. The idea for The Good Registry came super quick and it was partly because I was doing a bit of decluttering in my house and come across things stashed in a drawer and under the stairs and I was thinking that I couldn't throw these things away because they were gifts. I then had another birthday and received a few more things that I didn't want or need and at the same time I had been looking for ways that I could give to good causes. So the idea was conceived’
Great ideas don't always become a reality, what gave you the impetus to launch?
‘A walk with one friend, Sue McCabe and lunch with another, Tracey Bridges presented me with my two co-founders as well as the momentum to get the site off the ground. They both loved the idea and were willing to get behind it. We also received a lot of encouragement and support from others and we just kept driving it forward. It was funny because I bumped into someone recently who had the same idea 14 years ago but they didn’t do anything to make it happen. I think we all have great ideas and it just takes someone to do something with the idea. We were also inspired to launch in time for Christmas and we managed to get the whole thing set up and going by November 2017’
It's been a real success, however, have there been any pain points along the way?
‘I don’t regret a day I have given to The Good Registry and it has turned out really well, however, the 70 hour weeks I worked to get it launched were tough at the beginning. We didn't quite nail it with the first version as we might have if we'd had time to do more research and maybe some more money to get it perfect. That said... it may have stopped us getting it off the ground - and just going for it is a good way to approach life.'
You are good at marketing the site via social media?
‘It wasn’t a strength at the beginning and when we launched, we weren't giving people reasons why they should use the service and we weren't showing them the joy that we were creating and how other people were using the registry and how their values motivated them to do that. We've become much better at telling stories that engage people rather than just saying… Hi there…here we're… please come and use us.’
You started your career as a journalist?
‘I came to Wellington as a 17 year old to do journalism training and then worked in provincial papers around New Zealand as well as some media work overseas. I then transitioned to communications work that had a social impact. I found myself more driven to deliver positive social impact as time went on.’
Didn’t you do a short stint as journalist in New York?
‘Yes, I was at the Dominion Post at the time and had a secondment agreement which saw me living in Manhattan and working at the New York Post for a few months. It was an experience of a lifetime and incredible to be in such a vibrant city and to see it through the eyes of a journalist. I was involved in breaking news stories and on one occasion a limousine transported me right into the heart of a riot because a taxi wouldn't take me in or another occasion when I was pushed down some stairs by a high profile star's mother, really memorable experiences that I survived.’
Were you fearful that the pandemic may have a negative impact of the site?
'I didn't know what to expect initially, however, it is all done online and the gift card is electronic gift card and it's emailed to someone to redeem on the website. So one of the things that we saw during COVID was some of the businesses that might normally give their staff a morning tea to celebrate a milestone or a physical gift started using our gift cards. They could because they could send them to people electronically during lockdown. The other side of the good registry is for ‘in person’ special events which didn’t do so well during lockdown’
The Good Registry provides a service that is good for the environment?
‘There's so much overconsumption in our society, that we can all take a role in being responsible for our own consumption and consuming less. We have all seen reports coming out about climate change and we can take some actions to be part of shifting society in the direction that it needs to go to be sustainable and to repair the environment. The Good Registry has a really important part to play in that because we can help people to celebrate each other but do it mindfully and sustainably.’
What motivates you to do what you do?
‘I'm not paid for it, but I don't need to be paid for it… the reward is seeing people and businesses giving. Businesses that are becoming much more conscious about the gifting they do… for example gifts for conferences, employees and clients can be done differently through us and they can support charities instead of giving physical often unwanted things that will eventually just go to landfill.’
Congratulations on the site and thank you for joining me at Purposely…‘It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.