Update - 10/20/2020
I wanted to post an update highlighting some of the educational resources we've been learning from over the past few months, as well as a couple new steps we've taken internally to work towards equity.
Completed an Anti-Racism Course
A group of our teammates completed the Whiteness at Work webinar series with The Adaway Group, a black woman-owned firm that "provides consulting and training services on race equity, inclusion, social justice, strategic planning, and organizational change." We found the class to be an extremely helpful resource, and we'd recommend their courses to any individuals or organizations working to gain a better understanding of anti-racism work.
In addition to some great supplemental articles The Adaway Group provided, I finished reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. It brings up many interesting points about why and how white people need to be actively anti-racist, but I think it's also important to take the advice with a grain of salt/lived experience, as John McWhorter suggested in an essay in the Atlantic.
Revised Our Handbook
We felt it was important to revise our handbook, as we wanted to make sure the language was aligned with anti-racism work. We made some changes that will hopefully help clarify our commitment to diversity, including the idea of a "culture add" vs. a "culture fit."
Fashion is a notoriously problematic industry, and Black women are often underrepresented in this field. With this fact in mind, we are currently setting up a scholarship for Black students in fashion design through one of our favorite local Philadelphia organizations. Details are still very much in the works, but we'll be sharing an update soon so stay tuned!
As the founder of a small, family-owned business, I’ve been thinking hard about our role in the fight for racial justice. I’m proud that we are community-minded and active in making sure all are welcome and valued in the places where we live and work. But I know there is more work to do, and we want to answer the call-to-action this moment demands. I know that our friends, neighbors and colleagues in the Black community are looking for allyship that extends beyond Instagram posts, expressions of outrage or even one-time donations. Though I cannot truly put myself in the shoes of those who have dealt with inequity of this magnitude, police brutality and discrimination because of the color of their skin, I am committed to doing what I can to combat it. This is our problem to fix, not just to empathize with.
Like many, I have been aware that the fashion industry lags behind other industries in terms of inclusion; from advertising, to photography, to production, and especially, in leadership. As a small brand, we have the chance to do things differently and partner with a diverse group of people - whether it be our models, factories, consultants or suppliers. I know that we can and will do more to focus on inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our company, now and in the future. There are two specific areas we are focusing on first. I know that our customers, partners and employees want to see how we’re reflecting and implementing change, so I am sharing them with you:
Anti-racism training is one tool our organization will use to uncover and address biases we may be holding without fully knowing. This will help us see what additional changes we need to make in the way we operate our business. As a team, we are researching which resources and courses will be best for our business, and will ensure that all of our current and future employees complete anti-racism training. Once we identify the courses, we will share so that other organizations can utilize them as well.
Casting Black, Indigenous and People of Color
Our brand imagery will reflect a more inclusive array of people. Our customers are incredibly diverse, and our advertising and partnerships should reflect the same. We commit to more diverse casting as a regular practice, and to collaborate with an inclusive group of bloggers, influencers, business owners, and creators in our blog post profiles.
Every person and every business has a unique role to play in combating systemic racism and we are fully committed to learning, listening, collaborating, and being active using the platforms and skillset we have. In the next few days, we will start posting to Instagram and continue with our scheduled blog features. We know that the conversations and actions needed do not stop here, and that our work is just beginning.
Amy + the Printfresh team