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The San Francisco startup Betabrand describes itself as a “Crowdfunded Clothing Community.” The unique business model incorporates designs from its customers in addition to in-house employees, and items are produced and sold only after passing through a process involving public online feedback and the gathering of a critical mass of customers to agree to pre-order (or fund) it. This is how garments like “Ready Active Jeans,” which have specially lined pockets that supposedly stop hackers from scanning credit cards and passports, have come to market.
Hand in hand with Betabrand’s innovative model is a unprecedented job benefit that was brought to light recently by MarketWatch. Over the past year or so, the company has been making most of its purchases with a rewards-friendly corporate credit card, and Betabrand has been passing along the rewards compiled on the card to different workers, in the form of totally non-work-related vacations around the world.
So, yeah, Betabrand is handing out free vacations to employees, and neither the company nor the employee is paying a dime.
Betabrand CEO Chris Lindland told MarketWatch the idea came about last fall during a company happy hour, when it came up in conversation that many company workers had never traveled outside the U.S. He decided that enabling them to travel the world with company credit card reward points would simply be “a good team spirit, fun thing to do.”
Employees must apply for a trip and include details about where, why, and when they hope to travel. The company founders periodically choose a winner, who typically receives round-trip airfare, four nights’ hotel, and travel insurance—all covered by credit card rewards. Thus far, Betabrand workers have been rewarded with free trips to France, Japan, Iceland, and Morocco, among other destinations.