We have been a little quiet behind the scenes here at The Tartan Blanket Co. As we mentioned some weeks ago, we have been focussed on listening, learning and unlearning a lot of what has been underlying societal issues that have more recently been brought to the surface. We still have a very long way to go in our understanding and re-education by unpacking a lot of our thinking and beliefs, which have not been questioned and challenged the way they long have needed to be and are part of the societal “norm.” Although the road is a long one, we want to reassure you we are committed to change. We’re here to share with you some of the ways we are taking action and to open up the discussion for anything further you believe might help us on this journey.
Firstly, we as a team are listening, reading, sharing and discussing a variety of information and viewpoints on topics such as Black Lives Matter, racism, sexism and any other forms of inequality that are often so ingrained into society that they are not always clearly apparent. As a team, we have started a monthly book club focussed around understanding the extent of these inequalities. In June, we read Reni-Eddo Lodge's “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race,” and shared many sources of information related to what she was writing. It has led to several interesting discussions, realisations and experience sharing.
This leads me to the next topic, which is the inclusivity of our company and our brand. Although we did not see ourselves as being discriminatory in our practices, we realise now that we were guilty of letting our brand and team naturally grow in a way which was not as inclusive as it should be. We chose not to hire models for our imagery and instead, have always involved members of our team, family, friends and customers. We wanted to represent ‘real’ people instead of any unattainable aesthetic. However, we failed to realise that this ideology only represents a small selection of ‘real’ people and not very inclusive at all. For that, we were shortsighted and are sorry.
We have since realised that it is our responsibility to represent a more inclusive range of people through our use of imagery if we want our customer base to also be more inclusive, which is something we have always strived for and value immensely. One of our mantras has always been to be ‘inclusive’ not ‘exclusive,’ it is a reason you’ll find the word ‘community’ written so many times across our website. We recognise now that we still have a lot of work to achieve this, but we are more driven than ever to do so. Moving forward, we are going to focus on working and making connections with people who aren’t in our immediate circle, and investing the time and resources to do this. It is our responsibility to make these changes if we want the future of the business to look and be more inclusive.
Our team has also grown organically with a focus on hiring the right person for the job, without bias. However, we now understand that bias is sometimes important. If we want an inclusive team bringing a variety of knowledge, opinions and skills, then we need to hire with intent to achieve this, instead of someone who more naturally fits the mould we may have unintentionally created. We believe one of the greatest things to have come from this pandemic is the ability to be more global and inclusive, both in how we operate as a business and who we can connect with. The internet breaks down so many physical barriers, and we want to ensure that we don’t build the barriers back up when things start to return to how things were.
Another way in which we will be looking at how we can be more inclusive is by broadening our brand partnerships for the add on items in our gift boxes. We are constantly looking for new products to make our gifting experience more thoughtful and unique, and we’ve previously put our main focus on finding fellow local small businesses and suppliers. Now, thanks to all the amazing knowledge sharing that has been happening on social media recommending lots of local BIPOC owned businesses, we can focus not only on a local representation of goods, but a diverse and inclusive representation of goods as well. We are excited to use TBCo.'s platform to introduce our community to an amazing array of brands out there that will also enhance our offering to our customers.
We are also working on honing our intentions and turning them into impactful action in regard to our supply chain. At the beginning of the year, we pledged to donate 1% of revenue to support people in need and 1% to support the planet, in order to help us have a consistent and long term positive impact on the world. As proud as we are, this is not quite enough to achieve our mission of being a truly positive impact company. We believe that we still have a lot more to do in understanding and supporting those involved in every area of our supply chain and customer base. We have focussed a great deal on understanding where our materials are sourced, ensuring they are sustainable and natural, and supporting positive manufacturing industries.
We have cut our range and suppliers to focus on natural farming methods and using recycled materials where possible. However, this journey with our manufacturing partners is just beginning to take shape the way we’ve always dreamed of. In developing the relationship with our partners, we have learned, for example, that in India they employ a predominantly female workforce to hand-finish the fringing on our blankets instead of machinery in order to maintain high levels of employment. Learning this not only excited us, but we have actually changed our requirements and expectations for the development of our blanket fringing to best support this vital part of the community. There is so much more for us to learn so that we can best support our partners, and this will continue to be a huge focus for us going forward. We take our commitment to being a positive impact company incredibly seriously and want it to be to be reflected in each blanket purchased.
Something we believe will help hold us accountable for our actions and also help ensure that we have the correct tools and resources to fully achieve our mission is to become a B-Corporation. Being a B-Corp means that as a business you balance purpose and profit, and use your business as a force for good. It is a long and challenging process (as it should be) and not something that can be achieved overnight, but we believe anything truly worthwhile is not about being easy. Our journey to becoming a B-Corp has begun and we can't wait to deliver updates to you about our progress.
We want to be open, transparent and inclusive in what we are doing, how we run our business, what our mission is and how we are turning intentions into actions. As we grow, I know we will continue to make mistakes, but I want to do so with humility, openness and willingness to recognise and adapt our thinking. We also want our TBCo. community to hold us accountable and to call us out on changes we need to make. We truly believe in the power of community and that many heads are better than one!
We intend to continuously re-address and evolve our thinking and our practices, and most importantly, take steps towards long-term and far-reaching positive impacts. We made it our mission to be a positive impact company because we strongly believe the importance of leaving a positive handprint on this planet and a little bit more love in our wake. We believe love always is and always should be the ultimate goal.
1% for People + 1% for the Planet
Charities We Have Partnered With This Year