If anything has come out of 2020, it has been a tremendous opportunity to reflect, learn, and act.
I believe in transparency and accountability and have worked to share openly with all of you about my environmental efforts and inclusivity goals. These are goals that will be ever growing, expanding and therefore never fully reached, but in an effort to continue this transparency, I also want to offer the following as a source for accountability for myself and for my business.
As a small and still fairly new business, I am a staff of one, I have not taken a salary or income from this business so far, and after 2 years my business still has not yet turned a profit. I preface with this to be transparent as I am not yet in a position to hire employees. However, I have and will continue to hire BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) for photo shoots and other collaborations as the opportunities arise.
I am not a major retailer, but I do support the 15% pledge created by Aurora James asking major retailers to commit to buying 15% of their products from Black owned businesses to match the 15% population. I have decided to also dedicate 15% of my shelf space to black brands, designers and/or artists, and will work to achieve this goal by the end of the year. Burke is driven by sustainability and modern, contemporary design, and I know there are black artists that are underrepresented in this space, so I will be seeking out those that inspire me in these ideals and that align with the store's vision and values.
If you are unfamiliar with our Burke Residency, it is a program featuring pop up collections from one designer and one artist which rotates every 3 months. Our program is coming up on its one year anniversary in August, and so far 4 of our 7 residencies have featured POC with 2 of them being black female artists. Going forward, I am dedicating at least 5 of the 8 residency slots per year to BIPOC. I will be working to add an application submission form for program participation to the website soon (if any web folks can assist with this please reach out to me!).
I have pledged to sign on with Claude Home's organizing effort for a collective of retailers to continue to support the Black community with a monthly donation of proceeds. You can visit our page here to see some of the other organizations we've donated to since starting the business in 2017.
If you have followed along with me for awhile, I hope you feel that I've tried to do my part to give back and show up, knowing I still have endless work to do. If you don't, I will work to prove that to you through my actions now and in the future. I've focused many of my efforts around the conversation of sustainability in terms of climate change and the environment, and I recognize that equal attention should be paid to ending racism. I will leave you with this article which I encourage you to read, written by Ayana Johnson, explaining how racism itself derails our efforts to save the planet.
As always, my inbox is open for any and all dialogue and feedback.
So much love to all of you, always.