We’ve spent the past few weeks reflecting, learning, and listening to our employees, our customers, and our community, so that we could take actionable steps before we spoke up again. Being a brand that’s all about inclusivity means that we have a responsibility to live up to our mission and show up for you in a real way. That’s exactly what we’ve been working on - taking concrete steps to change.
Universal Standard is very serious about examining every aspect of our business - from our approach to content creation and brand alignments, to our company culture and hiring practices. We’re putting in the work to create the diverse and equitable company we can be proud of, and that you can trust.
We want to reiterate that we unequivocally believe that Black Lives Matter. Black women and Black people of all gender identities have been, and continue to be, a critical part of our community. We will make sure that authentic representation happens both inside our organization, and across our brand.
This important conversation has led us to reflect on how we operate as a company, and is part of our growth and evolution as a brand. We hope you’ll continue to hold us accountable and support us in our mission. You’ll be hearing bi-annual updates on our progress, but we’re thinking about this more like an on-going discussion. We’re here for your feedback and input.
Here’s where we’re at right now.
Our team is making changes from the inside out.
We’re revisiting how we work across all levels of the company, so that our brand values are better reflected in our culture. Engaging in anti-racism work, addressing unconscious bias, creating safe spaces for every single employee, and allyship coaching is a top priority for us.
- We’ve enlisted a consultant to facilitate a series of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) discussions for the team, which are already underway. This is the first step in creating a framework for aligning our brand values with how we work day-to-day, and fostering a transparent and inclusive working environment so that all of our employees' voices are acknowledged.
- We have committed to ongoing DEI training, feedback training, and employee coaching on race and allyship that leads to a more open, positive, and inclusive company culture now, and always. This will continue to be a part of our culture.
- We commit to changing our recruitment and hiring process. When we’re able to hire again, we will actively recruit from communities, organizations, and schools where BIPOC people are a focus. We will fill 25% or more of all future open positions with Black employees across all levels of our organization.
We’ve donated $35,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
- $10,000 from our original donation
- $25,000 from profits on June 3rd and 4th
Thank you for your support in helping us make this contribution. We want to give more and have identified additional opportunities to donate to causes we want to embrace this year.
- We will identify two more organizations to donate profits to this year - celebrating our anniversary in September and giving Tuesday in December. We hope to double this commitment moving forward, so that a significant donation is made each quarter to organizations that support BIPOC.
- We’ll continue to work with Dress for Success and First Step (organizations that empower women to achieve economic independence) through our donations, including our Fit Liberty program.
- We’re also matching all employee donations to the Black organizations and social justice causes of their choice.
We will amplify Black voices in our community.
Not only will we continue to share relevant resources across email, site, and social channels so that education and donation stays top of mind, we’ll also use our platforms to spotlight Black voices that are at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter conversation.
- Every email we send out will include a link to an anti-racism resource page on the site where we’ve listed links to sign petitions, reach out to elected officials, donate, support Black-owned businesses, and register to vote. We’ve also included books, articles, movies, and podcasts that further speak to the anti-racism work we believe is fundamental to moving forward.
- We will seek out Black-owned businesses to spotlight on an ongoing basis. In addition to hosting a curated page of rotating Black-owned businesses on our site, we will also find opportunities to include these businesses in email and on social. Our goal is to have this page up and running by August 1st.
- We would love for this to be a community effort and leverage our platform during this historic moment of social and political transformation. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions.
We’re investing in Black creators & creatives.
Black creators and creatives have been instrumental in making this brand what it is today. We can say definitively that Universal Standard would not be where it is today without the incredible work of the Black creatives we have employed and collaborated with.
- Moving forward, we commit to spending at least 25% of our production and content budget with Black professionals. This includes photographers, models, stylists, hair and makeup, and all other professionals needed to facilitate our content creation.
- Additionally, we commit to ensuring that 25%, or more, of paid influencer partnerships are with Black influencers and creators. We want our paid partnerships to be as transparent as possible. To that end, we are publishing a rate card on our website that details the rates for all paid influencer partnerships go-forward. You should expect to see this by July 15th.
- We also want to raise the profile of the amazing Black artists and content creators we work with, so we commit to ensuring that 25%, or more, of all content on our owned channels features those creators and creatives.
We’ve often talked about creating the change we want to see in the world, and those words carry a new level of meaning now. In order to truly realize our vision of revolutionary inclusivity and create access for all, we have to show up and do better for the Black members of our community and stand with all that fight against social injustice.
The more we listen and learn, the better we will be at making sustained, lasting change. We won’t stop working toward an inclusive and equitable future, so that we can live up to our name and set a Universal Standard.