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Pride 2021 - Learning from our mistakes

June marks the month of Pride in the UK and last week a couple of people within our team, understandably, asked what we are planning to do to show our support of the LGBTQ community. 

For a brand that celebrates inclusivity we can see that staying quiet on our website and social media in a time where many are outwardly showing solidarity and support with the LGBTQ community may seem like we are going against what we stand for; however this decision is not one we have taken lightly but is one we have taken consciously. 

Two years ago we attended Pride in London. As is often the case for small brands a lot can change in a week, let alone two years, and looking back the company was in a very different place at the time we attended. We were a team of four and individually we would have attended Pride so rather than going on our own we decided to attend as the brand.

As the month approached we picked up on the very obvious connection between some of our products and the LGBT Pride flag. We had people approach us saying that they were planning to wear our garments to Pride and before we knew it we were a small brand that had become swept up in something which was - truthfully - benefitting the awareness and visibility of our business.

By the time it came to attending Pride, we had decided to create handwritten notes accompanying sweets to hand to everyone and anyone we saw at Pride. As much as what we wrote was meaningful, shamefully those cards definitely had our branding on them and in hindsight what we were doing was rainbow washing. Although externally no one has said anything to us, in an age where brands are called out for their mistakes, the very least we can do is call ourselves out and hold our hands up to our own mistakes; in this case we crossed a line and it is something we have learnt from.

In terms of where we are now in 2021, it would be easy for us to change our logo to include a rainbow to show support, however we are incredibly conscious of blurring those lines again. There are charities and communities doing such important work in raising awareness and support for the LGBTQ community, that we do not want to stand in the way and draw even the smallest amount of attention away from the bigger cause. For this reason we won’t be sharing the blog on our social channels. 

Despite not sharing, it was important to us to hold ourselves accountable in a public space. One of our company values is to be honest and transparent and so when we make mistakes, it is important that we don’t keep these conversations behind closed doors. In July, we will be sharing the blog with our newsletter subscribers; it is important that we continue to do the work throughout the year and this starts with acknowledging our mistakes to our customers. 

Individually both Heidi and I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community and so we are going to start our work internally. In 2019 three of us attended Pride... we are now a team of seven. Given the question from two of our team regarding Pride, we recognise the need for us to be more transparent and to ensure conversations that were previously just between Heidi and I, are now had with our team. We have started with a chat around Pride, an explanation of the mistake we made in 2019 and what this means in 2021. Looking further ahead, we hope our team will continue to grow. We are starting these conversations now with our team so that we can be sure we are creating a workplace which is diverse and inclusive, one where you feel welcome whether you are an internal member of our team or an external visitor of the brand. 

No part of this is us patting ourselves on the back; these are things we can and should be doing. We understand the need to be more consciously critical and self aware throughout the year, rather than waiting for triggers (such as Pride month) to start conversations. Having our team raise the question of what we will be doing for Pride really has demonstrated the power of raising awareness during a particular month, however we know that it is just as important that we continue to do the work every month throughout the year. 

Thank you for reading,
Joss