Encircled is about embracing diversity, fighting for human rights and protecting the planet. But, we should’ve spoken up sooner. Not sooner, as in Friday. Sooner, as in years ago.
We regret that we’ve not stood up publicly for our Black community in the past. This blog post is to say we will do better. As a certified B Corp, it’s in our corporate DNA that we will use our business as a force for good.
We stand in solidarity with the fight against systemic racism, white supremacy and the historic oppression of the Black community. Black lives matter.
We will update this blog post as we make progress in our Anti-Racist work and Diversity and Inclusion efforts at Encircled.
Updated: March 15, 2021
Kristi Founder/CEO Encircled
WHAT WE'RE DOING
- Hired a Diversity and Inclusion Coach. In November we wrapped up our fourth session with D+I educator Tanya Hayles from Color in White Spaces. Tanya led our team in workshops devoted to helping us improve our inclusivity and diversity education and policies, especially when it comes to supporting the Black community. Since that time, we have been auditing our entire business for opportunities where we can do better to support inclusivity and conducting fully transparent reviews of our content, hiring, influencers, collaborations, suppliers and processes. This is ongoing, as there are always opportunities for us to improve.
- Currently doing a weekly Anti-racist book club at Encircled (and education plan) with our team.This includes a company-funded weekly discussion roundtable with our team on key topics and themes. Our first book was Ibram X. Kendi's "How to be an Anti-Racist”. In April, we’ll be reading “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander.
- Launched the Encircled "Impact" Fund. The goal? Elevate emerging non-binary and women-identifying BIPOC-founded ethical brands in Canada. We partnered with the diverse women-powered Founders Fund in Canada to manage the process. In the first round, a $5000 grant was awarded to Noora Sharrab of Sitti Soap. In addition, Noora has received coaching and mentoring support from Sheena Brady, Vivian Kaye and myself.
- Took the 15% Pledge. We pledge that our gift-guides, giveaways, collaborations and pop-up markets (all virtual for now!) will feature a minimum of 15% Black-owned brands. We have also demanded our pop-up partners hosting markets to do the same.
- Continue to highlight the work of Black activists, artists, brands and content creators on our Instagram Stories and Facebook.
- Supporting. In 2020 we donated to Reclaim the Block, an organization that funds community-led safety initiatives in Black communities. We also contributed in-kind donations to raise money for BLAC Toronto. During our December Boxing Week Sale, we worked with PACT Urban Peace Program to donate one Emergency Fresh Food Box per Encircled order. This initiative provided 310 boxes for our food-insecure community members in the GTA. To recognize International Women’s Day 2021 and the deeply rooted economic inequalities for garment workers in the fashion industry, $10 from every order placed on that day is being donated to Oxfam Canada.
- Content. We're making significant intentional efforts to invest in professional models that represent the diversity of our customer base. This is a work in progress, and you will continue to see more inclusive models and different body shapes on our site as we grow.
Like the fashion industry as a whole, we know we still have lots of work to do. If you notice a particular area of our business that we still have room to grow in and learn from, please let us know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are appreciative of all feedback.
- Donate and advocate. A round-up of organizations to donate to, politicians to text and petitions to sign.
- Elect leaders that will make positive changes. Make sure you're registered to vote!
- Read, learn and educate yourself. Share content made by Black creators. A resource guide of anti-racist resources.
- Support and shop at Black-owned businesses. Check out highlights on Instagram, as we've saved slides on great brands to support there.
- Advocate for police body cameras. Find out whether your local police department wears body cameras. If they don’t, find out who your city representative or police chief is and advocate for it.
- Stop supporting brands that use prison, primarily Black labour in America. Yes, this IS Happening