What do you think is the best way businesses can give back? Do you think current policies make it easy or difficult for companies to achieve some kind of social giving or following through on their social responsibility?
I think the best way a business can give back is to find something that is close to their heart and see how they can contribute financially or through volunteering their time/services to the organization. It’s difficult to give at the beginning stage of building a business, especially if you are working from your own capital and potentially working another job on the side. So many of us start out that way.
That’s how I started, but once the business began to turn a profit, it was an easy choice to give back. It’s challenging when you see other businesses saying that they donate a certain portion of proceeds to a charity and you feel unsuccessful for not being able to contribute at the same rate as them. That’s okay, your giving can grow as your business grows. Find out what is comfortable when starting out and continue to reassess quarterly or annually. It can be helpful to do this annually after completing your taxes.
Why would you choose to emphasize the importance of giving back?
I chose to give back because it feels right in my heart. If you think about the human experience, none of us have gotten to where we are without the help of others. Our parents,
teachers, friends, mentors are a few people that have gifted us their resources to grow. It’s a good feeling to be able to bring that full circle. We have a page on our website about giving back, but we don’t make it a part of our marketing or our business language. It comes from the heart and therefore we don’t find the need to talk about it. Our work and our messaging to clients reach the people we want to work with and if they happen to click on the social responsibility page and like what they read, that’s just a bonus. If you are going to do good things as a person or as a business, do them when no one is looking and without seeking affirmation.
As a woman-owned business, are there certain hurdles you feel are still in place for women pursuing a career in business?
This is an incredible time to be an entrepreneur. Between social media, podcasts, online learning, and the resources available (free and paid) there is so much going for women who are looking to build a business. I started before social media and a lot of that was available, and it was nice to not be starting in an over-saturated market. Challenges vary between industries—a big hurdle can be garnering respect from others, especially in male-dominated industries. Thankfully the jewelry industry (long led by men) continues to grow with female designers and owners with a lot of great men lifting women up. There will always be obstacles along the path to a dream career, but that is what builds character. Every woman with an admirable career has never woken up to overnight success.
It takes years of hard work and good luck, and no social media page can accurately portray the true journey. I am thankful for all of the obstacles in my business journey as I am able to look back and see how each one was a crucial step to where I am now and where I seek to go.
What tools and resources did you use to help reflect on yourself as a business owner?
I am astonished at the amount of generous knowledge that Black women are serving the online community. Even though I follow different brands and individuals on Instagram, I didn’t scroll or engage often since I scheduled our posts outside of the platform. Our Instagram feed did not reflect many Black people or People of Color outside of a few and therefore my suggested feed did not display diversity either.
The immense amount of knowledge circulating through Instagram, specifically amongst Black thought leaders has been so powerful. I am ashamed that there are many parts of their history that I did not know about, nor did I choose to learn more about. They are giving so much of their energy and time to educate the rest of us who have been walking through life with our privilege so far extended that even when we thought we were paying attention,
we clearly were not.
I have found the most helpful information from Rachel Cargle’s, The Great UnLearn. It’s a paid class where she releases a syllabus each month that includes reading, listening, and viewing material as well as writing + reflection assignments. She is incredibly thorough and she has a clear, straightforward approach. It is necessary work. There are a few other Black, female educators whose teachings I have been learning from whose words and thoughts
have such deep significance. They speak in such eloquent and thought-provoking in ways I had never even considered. Austin Channing Brown and Erica Courdae are simply incredible.
It is our turn to soul search, to read, listen, and watch reputable information and to then look at how we can implement it in ourselves, our homes, and our businesses in an intentional way. It will be a slow build, but that is what intentional, lasting growth is about.
What ways do you hope to see other businesses change and grow in their diversity, social responsibility, and inclusivity?
I hope that people can continue the momentum of this movement because it is not a moment
nor is it a trend. People’s lives are truly on the line. Racism and white supremacy run so deep in our society and it is simply not acceptable to be a nice bystander. We must be active in our efforts to dismantle racism. It is our duty to accept the work of making diversity and equity something real, not just a perception. I think that in the following months, it will be interesting to see the journey for businesses as we all create true momentum and change within ourselves and our businesses to do the work required for social change and dismantling white supremacy. Everyone should be open to learn and grow about diversity not only in their business, but in themselves. It is important to be aware of how you portray your business to your audience and what you can do to create an inclusive environment.
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