Note: These are our opinions, and while we're very passionate about our views, we're not dogmatic. If something we say doesn't seem to hold water, or if there is more we should know, please start the conversation. We're out to build a company that is always evolving, and at the start there is plenty of clay to mold.
Pt. 2 - Sustainable Corporate Thinking
Hello, and welcome to the final installment in our two part series on what sustainability means to us as a company. We appreciate you taking the time read our thoughts, and hope we're delivering value to you even before we release any products. We've covered our values when choosing materials, and now it gets interesting: sustainable corporate thinking.
Sustainable corporate thinking is a way of defining sustainability as a core value, and not simply a strategic initiative.
Sustainability conversations commonly center around what something is made of and how. There is a more broad definition of sustainability as a measure of a business's health and ability to last - things like social responsibility, corporate citizenship, and profitability. We argue that simply surviving, even thriving, as a business today is not enough to ensure we'll be around tomorrow. If we disappear as a business, wasn't the energy spent to exist ultimately wasted?
Social responsibility & corporate citizenship
Doing good for our community is sustainable by ensuring we'll have the support necessary to be around a long time. We owe our ability to follow our dreams and start this company to the support of our community. We believe that we as an organization have a duty to act responsibly when doing business, and to give back when we can. Daniel Porter, in his TED talk, argues that businesses are uniquely capable of solving social problems. The reason partly lies in a business's capacity for exponential growth.
1% of profits donated can become a very large number when a brand scales.
Is a business obligated to give back? Aren't creating jobs and paying taxes enough? Maybe to some. Good jobs and tax revenues are arguably the most important benefits provided by free enterprise, but we look at it like we look at our personal health: being well rounded is better than excelling in only one area.
There needs to be a synergy between physical, mental, and spiritual health for best results in one's life, and supporting our community and giving back is how we maintain our company's spiritual health. We choose to do more because it's the right thing to do.
No one likes a dirty, rude neighbor just like no one likes a shady, irresponsible company.
So, if a business needs to be a responsible corporate citizen to keep its community support, and it needs its community support to survive, and a failed business is unsustainable, then we are obligated to do good and give back by a simple matter of logic.
Sustainability of operations
By keeping sustainability at the forefront of our minds, we are able to automate decision making that supports our goals. We are interested in building the company on the right bedrock needed for sustainable growth.
Major pillars of our business model were chosen with sustainability in mind. We are partnered with a local third party logistics company for inventory management and fulfillment. Not only does this ensure our customers will receive their order accurately and on time, it allows us to take up a small amount of space in an existing structure - rather than renting/buying a large space that we won't grow into for a long time.
By utilizing an existing space, we remove the need to consume the resources necessary to set it up ourselves.
By using direct-to-consumer sales channels along with traditional wholesale, we are set up for lower impact. By selling directly to you through our website and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, we are able to drastically reduce the amount of resources required to do business. By selling through the best specialty outdoor retailers, we are able to ground our brand in the very places that drive our industry. Nothing can replace good stores with good employees who know their area and the gear in their store. Through this efficient model, we are able to stay lean and nimble, allowing room to provide services like repairs and replacement, while keeping prices fair at the same time.
Profits facilitate social responsibility
There is a negative view of corporate profits in the zeitgeist. How often do you hear someone using a company's large profits as a reason why they're evil? Remember, profits exist as the motivation for the business to exist and also as the fuel necessary to fund good business practices. We believe that responsible corporate citizenship and sustainability lead to a greater return in the long run. We as a business are much more equipped to do good when we are able to take care of ourself. It's when a business is profitable and an irresponsible corporate citizen when the ire of the public is deserved.
We envision a fair repair and replacement program, free returns, constant development and refinement of our products, and giving back to our community.
We want to do as little harm in creating something new as possible. We can do that with foundational intention, good follow through, and your support.
Sometimes doing what is right and doing what is easy don't go hand in hand, but as long as you choose to keep listening and help us in our mission, we'll do our best to get better every day.
Where does it all lead?
To the birth of a brand. Not only a brand, but the realization of the dreams of a few who want to build dynamic, durable, and well thought out clothing. A few who want to own fewer, but better built things. A few who want to keep what matters, and create essentials, not basics.
Our promise is that we'll constantly strive to do a little better than the day before. Over time, this strategy is supremely powerful. It takes foundational intention towards our goals, and this is what you're helping us achieve by reading right now.
Thank you very much,
- Pt. 1 - Materials, life cycles, and design
- Pt. 2 - Sustainable corporate thinking (you're here!)
To those of you who are keeping up with these posts, thank you. Please comment, email, or message us with your thoughts. We're looking to include you in the process.
If you haven't already joined, please sign up for The Pipeline, our email list, by following the link below.
Words: Andrew Gibbs-Dabney, Founder
Photos: Trent Sugg & Ian Caple
Thank you for your time, we realize how valuable it is