I'd like to take this opportunity to address you all – our community of readers, supporters, and customers – about our efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive small business.
While it's always been been top-of-mind to consider how we can give back to our community, admittedly, the more global conversation around diversity and inclusion as an everyday part of our business practices had evaded me.
Translation: as a founder, I have been blind to the very real areas in which my small company can and should be doing better.
Where we've been.
While it took us some time to get here in terms of having money to put where our mouths are, some of you may recall that we began taking action to give back in November of 2019 with our Giving Tuesday campaign in support of The Loveland Foundation, founded by Rachel Cargle.
With this campaign, we donated $2,500 to The Loveland Foundation.
From The Loveland Foundation website “Loveland Foundation is committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. Our resources and initiatives are collaborative and they prioritize opportunity, access, validation, and healing.”
As a company, it's been central to our mission to create products, offerings, and content that are accessible to those seeking improved health and flavorful food regardless of financial means. But we hadn't put the conversation of diversity, equity, and inclusion also at the center of our work in ways that I now see are not only possible, but necessary.
Where we are now.
As a founder, I've been committed to listening, learning, and unlearning in order to be anti-racist in my life and my work (as well as in the parallel work I do with Beautycounter) for several years now. Where I have recognized my major shortcomings most recently are in the ways that I haven't yet fully applied these views (and action steps) in my own small business with Balanced Bites.
I spent the last several of weeks listening and learning to hear what I needed to in order to make changes in the way that I run my business. I did not rush to make claims about “what I'm doing,” as EbonyJanice Moore taught me that “white urgency is violence.”
This means that if we, as white people, are simply rushing to “fix it” without racial equity work, we're going to burn out and give up too quickly when it isn't “fixed immediately.” This isn't a “thing to be fixed” with a week of social media posting, a month of reading a few books, or even a year attending a some classes.
This is lifelong work.
As a business owner, I am committed to weaving this into the fabric of our everyday business – to consistently have a lens of “does this contribute to racial equity in all ways possible?”
As of now, we work with vendors who share our values, are of diverse backgrounds, and who pay their team members fairly and provide positive working environments. And we'll continue to dig deeper and ask these questions of vendors as we continue to form new business relationships.
Where we're heading – our plans.
From this point forward, a few ways in which I already know I can do better as an owner are:
- in progress – by collaborating with Black women and women of color with our products (we already have these in the works now) in a ratio at least appropriate with the national population (~30%), or higher.
- in progress – by donating $1 from the sale of every jar of our limited edition SUPER blends (which we added inventory to, and will continue to donate at least until the limited runs are gone) to the NAACP. The first payment for this will be made by September 1st.
- in progress – by adding actionable ways our customers can contribute financially to causes that matter. We currently offer a “Round Up” option on our Spices site, and will be adding it to the Meals site once we work out some bugs in the way it's operating. We currently have it set to donate to Equal Justice Initiative, but we will rotate this on quarterly basis among organizations that support feeding those in need as well as racial justice.
- in progress – by sourcing diverse vendors for marketing and promotional materials
- in filling open job positions not solely by sourcing applicants from our existing reader/fan/follower-pool, but actively seeking out talent from diverse communities and groups for hiring
- in promotional brand giveaway collaborations with more diverse brands, specifically Black-owned and owned by women of color (we do these each week on Instagram).
- and so much more, I'm very sure.
Please know that this post isn't intended to be fully complete nor a comprehensive representation of the ways in which we are showing up for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
I don't know that I can ever full verbalize all of the ways that it will permeate our business moving forward.
The truth is, it's not about a checklist or to-dos, this is about seeing the world and the ways in which we do business totally differently.
I'm committed to this as an owner, I know my small-but-mighty team is with me on this, and we'll ask that you hold us to this in what we do.
Please email us if you ever want to connect on this – hello (at) balancedbites (dot) com.
Thank you for reading,