Letter From the Owner:
Welcome to our first Social Impact Report.
Publishing a Social Impact Report allows us to self-reflect. It enables us to seek advice to get past hurdles. And it helps us stay accountable. We know we’re not big and we’re not blessed with an abundance of resources, but we still want to make as much of an impact within our business, in our community, and in our world as we possibly can.
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
We’re going to tell you a little bit about us, what we strive to do, and we’re going to welcome your input. This report is a collective effort by the Woonwinkel team. Thank you for being interested in what’s important to us. First, a little background:
Woonwinkel is a Portland, Oregon-based home and gift shop where everyday goods shine bright. You may have noticed we’re a bit color-obsessed. We hope our passion for color makes a visit more than just a shopping trip--we want it to uplift and inspire.
Color is symbolic to us, too. It’s a colorful world and we like it that way. We believe diversity within our team and our community makes us stronger and richer. We prioritize building an environment in which different perspectives are valued. We act on that through who and how we hire, how we pledge to communicate within our team, and what voices we amplify not only through our social channels, but through our products as well. We’re going to tell you more about our values as you read on.
We strive to inspire our customer through joyful aesthetics. We believe that comfort, color, and levity make a home feel just right. Over twenty years in the color design industry have taught me that color is powerful. When our eye takes in color, it sends a message to our brain to decipher it. As it’s doing so, the brain releases a hormone which affects moods, focus, appetite, energy levels and more. Every color benefits us in some way, and at its best it ignites a powerful emotional reaction. But it’s not enough for us to simply source “colorful stuff”.
We look for objects that SHINE BRIGHT. They’re…
- Singular, unique or small run (because big-box sameness is boring)
- Alive in color (because color can alter your mood, improve your performance, and do good)
- A beacon, an example (that makes our world a better place in some way) << more on this in a minute!
- Happy-making (we love to pull people together, we love the cheerful, the silly, the fun)
While the search for those objects is fun, our vision goes beyond what we can put in someone’s shopping bag. We also strive to metaphorically "see in color". And, we ask our customers to do the same. When we source products and publications by people who belong to groups who have historically been underrepresented on store shelves, we ask our community to see in full color. When we set ground rules within our team for how we’ll communicate with each other, we’re also ensuring that each individual perspective carries weight so we can see in full color.
Now we're going to share details about goals we've met, where we’ve fallen short, and what we want to accomplish in the future. There are so many more ways we need to embed our values into our business and we have a lot of room for improvement. I’m hoping you’re going to have some ideas to share with us.
Now I’m going to hand it over to some of my team members.
-Kristin Van Buskirk, Owner (she/her)
Who We Are: ______________________________________
Overview and Analysis of our 2021 Goals
Values Statement: We’re a little biz who works with other little businesses and we intend to stay small. We seek out independent designers and small companies and enjoy getting to know the people behind the brands. We believe that small brands are often more transparent about their social and environmental responsibility, and it's easier to get straight answers to hard questions from them.
We believe that good design and quality can be attained at a moderate price, and that saving for something well made is worth the wait. We believe that everyday goods can shine bright and bring joy when a little more care is put into their design and manufacture. We believe in owning fewer, better things and have a strong preference for items that are long lasting or recycleable to reduce our environmental impact.
We believe diversity makes us stronger and richer. We act on that through our product purchasing as well, and we expanded that effort this year.
2021 Product/Vendor Goals:
- We took the 15% pledge, to ensure at least 15% of our vendors are Black-owned.
- We committed to keeping our See In Color collection rotating and vibrant. (Through our See In Color Collection we not only invite customers to see the world through multiple perspectives, we also donate 10% of those purchases to She the People, an organization that elevates the voices of women of color in politics.)
- We planned to add well-made furniture that lasts, and is designed with sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.
How We Did - Product/Vendor Goals:
- We surpassed our 15% goal for Black-owned brands, and launched them as a collection the week of Juneteenth, with IG Live chats that showcased their products and business stories. We hosted one of the brands, Noetic Plants owned by Mikayla Nelson, for an in-store pop-up shop on Juneteenth. A special thank you to our Retail Manager, Lori Caldwell, and Christine Miller who contributed greatly to this project.
- This year our See In Color collection had a strong focus on children’s books. We focused on titles for kids that celebrate being yourself and being with others, as kids headed back to in-person learning after over a year of isolation.
- We added MUUTO, a furniture and accessories brand with a deep commitment to sustainability.
- We continued to add sustainable products.
- We added a Shop-Your-Values dropdown menu which includes round-ups of products that are Black-owned, POC-owned, eco-friendly, Made in the USA, handmade, women-owned, and locally made.
- We added "See in Color" stickers to products in our See In Color collection, and "15% Pledge" stickers to products in our Black-owned collection, to bring customer attention to those initiatives.
Product/Vendor Goals for Next Year:
- We’ll continue to amplify underrepresented voices in our See In Color collection. We’ll expand the representation of queer and disabled voices, as well as the voices of people with bigger-sized bodies.
- We’ll put the spotlight on small vendors, especially locals, twice every quarter through pop up shops, IG Lives, and IG Takeovers.
Values Statement: We’re committed to selling and using products that are eco-friendly, recognizing that adverse environmental impact is often felt most directly by less powerful people.
2021 Sustainability Goals:
- We committed to switching to sustainable packing tape and mailers.
In addition to this main goal, we continue to adhere to the following principles:
- We reuse nearly all the packing materials we receive. We only purchase virgin material when reusable materials aren’t available.
- We work with local suppliers whenever possible, to reduce our carbon footprint and strengthen the local economy.
- We make our own non-toxic cleaning solutions.
- We use refillable containers and re-usable supplies like cloth towels instead of paper towels whenever possible.
- We reach out to product vendors to see if they can adjust their packaging when we feel it uses unnecessary plastic or other non-recyclable materials.
How We Did - Sustainability Goals:
- We did make the switch to sustainable packing tape, mailers, and decorative stickers.
- We added more sustainable products.
- We added MUUTO, a furniture and accessories brand with a deep commitment to sustainability.
- We added a local delivery service in addition to our in-store pickup service. Local delivery cuts down on our use of packing materials and the carbon-cost of transportation that's associated with large shipping companies.
Sustainability Goals for Next Year:
- We continue to evaluate the products we carry and our vendors' commitment to sustainable practices. We are always seeking ways in which we can improve the sustainability of our day-to-day operations as well. We welcome all feedback and suggestions on how we can increase sustainability. Readers, do you have any ideas for us?
Values Statement: Hi, this is Blue, the Community Outreach Coordinator. We created my position to bring greater focus in the ways we celebrate the voices of marginalized communities (so we can "see in color"), and reform the ways we financially contribute to our community.
2021 Community Goals
- We pledged to develop a structured monthly donation for local organizations we support that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and provide immediate action with community aid.
- We committed to donating 10% from the See in Color collection to She the People quarterly.
- We aimed to celebrate the voices of marginalized communities by using our platform, privileges, and resources to amplify them
How We Did - Community Goals:
- We amplified underrepresented voices and messages we stood behind in our Instagram Story Highlight: See in Color, and re-shared community events organized by activists we support and admire.
- We hosted and funded an art installation by Julia Bond, a Black female artist on the topic of racial ideologies, for Portland Textile Month. Special thanks to our Pittock Building manager who let us take over an empty retail space for four months.
- We donated 19% of our Juneteenth day profits to The Black Resilience Fund, a local organization dedicated to fostering healing and resilience in our community by providing immediate resources to Black Portlanders.
- We joined with Secret Room PDX to print and handout Juneteenth posters that were originally designed as collaborative community effort between our retail manager, Lori Caldwell and Secret Room Press in June 2020.
- We donated bi-lingual coloring books by Natalia Padilla to a local elementary school.
- We posted the artwork of Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya in solidarity with Asian Americans who experienced a dramatic uptick in hate crimes in 2020/21.
- We added a Community Outreach Coordinator Role (hey, that's me!) to oversee our Monthly Donation Program, starting in April. Each month we donated to one group, including the following organizations:
- MARCH - NARA The mission of NARA NW is to provide education, physical and mental health services and substance abuse treatment that is culturally appropriate to American Indians, Alaska Natives and anyone in need.
- APRIL - EQUITABLE GIVING CIRCLE. Equitable Giving Circle’s aim is to empower BIPOC communities in Portland by leveraging economic deposits from communities of privilege to uplift BIPOC communities and begin to move towards economic equity. In April we donated a variety of goods to EGC that were to be included in AAPI Elder Care packages in the midst of an influx in Anti Asian Violence and Rhetoric.
- MAY- MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (MMIP) initiative through the UNITED STATES DISTRICT OF ATTOURNEYS OFFICE OF OREGON (USAO) For National Indigenous Heritage Month, in May, We made a financial contribution to the USAO MMIP program that provides assistance and aid to MMIP cases connected to Oregon. MMIP works to bring justice to the disproportionate number of unsolved Missing and Murder cases of Indigenous communities through formal consultation with Oregon tribes, data gathering, and the development of MMIP tribal community response plans.
- JUNE- OREGON AETC In June, we donated products from our shop to Oregon AETC for their HIV Continuum of Care Conference to celebrate Pride Month. The HIV Continuum of Cafe Conference provided a free event for people across the state who provide HIV services in a variety of capacities. This conference was the first time this community of service providers were able to gather after a particularly difficult year, and provided educational classes, member panels, and opportunities to reconnect.
- JULY- MUDBONE PDX We made a financial contribution to Mudbone PDX in July, an organization dedicated to “growing food, community health, business, and community culture around delivery of the triple bottom line to historically absent or barriered communities.” Mudbone focuses on regenerative climate resilient growing practices, cultivating nutrient rich food as medicine, and an emphasis on restorative, intergenerational methods and intention throughout their community aid and farming.
- AUGUST- SISTERS OF THE ROAD In August we donated a financial sum to Sisters of the Road, a nonprofit Cafe in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. Sisters of the Road works to create systemic change that will end poverty and homelessness by providing nourishing meals in a safe and dignified space through “build(ing) community one relationship at a time, with nonviolence, gentle personalism, and Sisters’ barter work program where folks can work to pay $1.50 for a meal and drink (same price since 1979!)
- SEPTEMBER- BLANCHET HOUSE We donated a combination of goods from our shop to Blanchet House, a local nonprofit social services organization, in September. Blanchet House provides community aid through food, clothing, supportive housing programs, and serve all members of the community that come to their doors with respect and without judgment because of their philosophy that believe everyone deserves dignity, hope, and community.
- NOVEMBER- REFUGEE CARE COLLECTIVE In November we donated to Refugee Care Collective, who help diverse populations of refugees being resettled in the Portland Metro area. Through restart kits, community programs, and partnership with resettlement agencies, Refugee Care Collective works to empower refugees to rebuild their lives and step more fully into self-sustainability.
- DECEMBER- BREAST CANCER EARLY DETECTION FUND/ OHSU In the name of one of our team members, we donated to OHSU’s Early Detection Fund of the Knight Cancer Institute in December. Their mission is to end cancer as we know it, through individually-tailored, compassionate care for every patient, discovering new ways to prevent cancer, and develop new personalized therapies for diagnosed patients.
Community Goals for Next Year:In 2022, we’d like to expand and grow the ways in which we uplift organizations chosen for the Monthly Donation Program.
- One of my goals for the Monthly Donation Program this year was to ensure that all members of our management team were informed of the chosen recipient organization for each month, including information about why we supported each of the groups, and the efforts they contributed to their respective social causes and communities. While planning to share a short presentation or write-up with management team members in monthly meetings including this information, I did not succeed in bringing information about ALL of the organizations on a month to month basis.
- To improve upon this shortcoming, I plan to instead release a monthly company e-newsletter to all staff members, not just management, where employees can read about the chosen recipient, their story, and the work they do for their communities.
- I’ll also be creating a “highlight” section on our instagram, and potentially including graphics on email lists to include the organizations chosen monthly, creating a space in our online platform to express our support of these organizations, a little about them, and where folks can learn more information as well as support these groups themselves.
- We’re hoping to work with local businesses outside of our vendors this year, in efforts to uplift more small and new business owners. We hope that by sharing our own platform with other makers and artists who may not have had the same structural privileges aiding their experiences, we can work toward creating some of the missing equity within the social structure of small and new businesses.
- We’ll continue amplifying underrepresented voices, community events, resources, and messages of values we’re passionate about in our See in Color Instagram Story Highlight. We’ll also find opportunities to share them further, potentially including relevant email lists, company newsletters, and more permanent re-shared “grid” or “feed” social media posts.
Value Statement: We believe diversity within our team and our community makes us stronger and richer. We prioritize building an environment in which different perspectives are valued. We act on that through who and how we hire, and how we pledge to communicate within our team.
2021 Team Goals:
- Ensure our team includes a well-rounded mix of skills and perspectives (across ages, race, identity).
- Increase a sense of individual ownership, belonging and understanding. Ensure transparency and clear communication.
- Establish a procedure for DEI training, and establish a source for mediation when issues arise.
- Ensure our retail floor is ADA accessible.
- Review actions recommended by PortlandMeansProgress.com and evaluate which actions we can commit to.
- Retain valuable employees. Focus on growing current employees into new roles with clear written plans.
- Research small business PTO policy and create a plan for offering PTO.
How We Did - Team Goals:
- We started the year finally able to bring back the last of our pandemic-furloughed employees.
- Hiring and Promotion: We hired a new Retail Manager with a strong background in retail and entrepreneurship. We retained valuable team members through promotions, by developing areas of specialization, and undertaking skill development. We promoted people into a new Operations Manager position and a Lead Associate position with a focus on Community Outreach.
- We entered into a partnership with Worksystems, a non-profit who is using money from a state grant and federal coronavirus relief funding — allocated to the nonprofit by the city — to pay about 30 students from PSU to work temporarily in downtown businesses. The program focuses on students who may have barriers to employment for various reasons.
- We piloted an annual internship with Pacific Northwest College of Art in which MFA students receive one-on-one mentorship on topics like marketing, pricing, sourcing, and operations in exchange for creative work like photography, or sales associate work.
- We added 80 hours of Paid Time Off benefits for each full time team member.
- We increased the diversity of our team. In a survey of identity, this is how respondents identified themselves:
- We took steps to Increase a sense of individual ownership, belonging and understanding, and ensure transparency and clear communication in the following ways:
- We involved team members in setting clear written goals for the year with regular meetings.
- We established a Team Culture Guide which addresses how we’ll communicate with each other. We worked on it as a management team and in early 2022 we’ll roll it out to the whole team.
- We reviewed actions recommended by PortlandMeansProgress.com but their site has evolved quite a bit and now has some GREAT NEW RESOURCES. In 2022 we’re going to start over with this goal and determine which actions we can commit to, and dive deep into their Roadmap.
- We ensured our retail floor was ADA accessible. Right now our staff positions require ladder climbing, lifting, and un-impaired vision so we haven’t yet adapted our back of house to be ADA compliant.
- We didn’t meet our goal of establishing a procedure for DEI training. We learned in our research that DEI consultants are very expensive. So we re-envisioned a program that would enable small retail businesses to pool their resources for DEI training. A huge thank you to Sarah Shaoul, the main organizer of the pandemic-derived Bricks Need Mortar group of small business retailers, for working with us on this. We now have a proposed program in place and we’re in the process of seeking enough small businesses to join us so we can complete DEI training in the early part of 2022. Do you know any small businesses who would like to join us?
Team Goals for Next Year:
- Managers will complete DEI training by the end of Q2.
- Coming out of the managers’ DEI training, we’ll craft a 3-year plan for actions related to DEI. We’ll review the PortlandMeansProgress.com Roadmap as part of this.
- We’ll retool our methods of meeting and communication with employees, with these main goals:
- ensuring transparency
- rallying the team around a common vision
- building a strong team culture according to our Team Culture Guide
- deepening training
- information sharing
- We'll institute options for reducing stress and burnout, like 4-day work weeks and semi-flex schedules for full-time employees.
It’d be hard to overstate how challenging 2020 was for Woonwinkel, financially and otherwise. But thanks to our customers (and plenty of help from the federal government), WE SURVIVED. So in 2021 we were able to re-set our sights on goals that reflect our values of creating financial stability for our employees, with a fair pay structure in which the people who put the most into the business (the full-time managers who work in it daily), earn wages commensurate with the owner.
2021 Financial Goals:
Our 2021 financial goals were created with the intent to :
- Raise everyone to at least $15/hour, above the City of Portland Minimum Wage (by Feb 2022)
- Raise full time employees and the owner to at least the “living wage” in Multnomah County which is $18.86 at the time of writing (by Feb 2022)
In addition to these main goals, we continue to adhere to the following principles to ensure equity in pay:
- The owner won’t draw a salary greater than any employee
- Pay is based on years of service, position, and performance.
- Pay is compared at least annually to market rates.
How We Did - Financial Goals:
- We met our goals of increasing wages in Feb 2022 to at least $15/hour, and raising management staff above the Multnomah County “living wage”.
- We completed a written base pay + bonus structure for sales associates so we have pay transparency. Our structure is as follows
- All Sales Associates will come in at the same base rate.
- Sales associates will earn more for each year that they have had a positive performance review. Each year adds 2.5-4% onto the base wage.
- Associates will earn 2.5-4% more when they perform a lead or other specialized role.
- Bonuses are not guaranteed but we make every effort to add them to our compensation package. For bonuses to be in effect, we need to be profitable, cash flow positive, our COGS to be around 57% of our net revenue, and our expenses around 40% or less of our net revenue. When we're solidly trending in this direction, monthly bonuses will be in effect.
- 2022 SALES BONUS STRUCTURE:
- Who's Eligible: Everyone
- When: Monthly
- Requirement: Hit our Net Revenue goal for the month
- Payout at Month's End When Sales are 20% Up:
- Sr Managers - 10% of gross pay
- Asst Manager - 7.5% of gross pay
- Sales Associates and Freelancers - 5% of gross pay
- Payout at Month's End When Sales are 15% Up:
- Sr Managers - 7.5% of gross pay
- Asst Manager - 5.625% of gross pay
- Sales Associates and Freelancers - 3.75% of gross pay
- Payout at Month's End When Sales are 10% Up:
- Sr Managers - 2.5% of gross pay
- Asst Manager - 1.875% of gross pay
- Sales Associates and Freelancers - 1.25% of gross pay
Financial Goals for Next Year:
- When our financial targets are met, we’d like to hire our federally-funded Worksystems intern by the end of the year.
In our successes in creating a structured program around donations, creating a role dedicated to community outreach, and prioritizing our focus of our role in our community, I’ve seen a huge change in the way we, as a business, have grown to embrace our values in a whole new way.
I’ve seen a huge shift this year in the way many our staff members communicate about issues within our community, and the frequency in which social and human rights topics are brought in to conversations about how we can do better. Within our shop, there’s also been a call to draw attention to some of our own work culture practices and communication structures that were either inequitable, or just weren’t working. I believe that when a business pledges itself to the holistic betterment of individuals and community, inside and outside the workplace, it means that business must hold a magnifying glass to the business itself first, and shed a light on the bridges between it’s own values and actual workplace practices. It’s an uncomfortable part of taking accountability and striving for better, it’s also a necessary part of actually creating that “better” future.
We still have areas that call for improvement- I believe that we’ll always have more work to do, and I believe that we’ve grown quite a lot in the last year with how we dedicate ourselves to that work. I feel hopeful about all the efforts we’ve made this year for the betterment of ourselves and our community, and motivated by the places we have not yet fully succeeded or grown into the goals we set for ourselves.
Blue pretty much said it. The only thing I'd like to add is a quote from Dr. Thela Thatch. "The more leaders work on themselves, the more we create a culture of vulnerability and transparency", which is part of the foundation for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. I so appreciate the way in which my team supports and challenges each other and me, while I try and sometimes fail to be a better leader. If we ever feel like we've finally fully embedded our values into this business, it will be in large part because of this team's commitment to each other.
A Request for Help:
Our Commitment to Transparency
We’re publishing this report on our blog so anyone can find it anytime. Writing this was a group effort by several of our team members, and we asked for input from our entire team.
Our Call to be held Accountable
We’ll share this report with the public, and also our customers, who we ask to keep us accountable.
Our Request for Feedback
Will you share your thoughts with us? Please connect with us at email@example.com. We’re all ears.
A huge thank you to the Woonwinkel staff who worked hard to meet our goals in 2021, and who put a lot of enthusiastic effort into creating this report for you. I especially appreciate Lori Caldwell, our Retail Manager, who did extensive research on what should be included in an SER Report, created a framework for us, and organized the team to make it happen. I'd also like to thank Blue Granby, our Community Outreach Coordinator who put a lot into this report, just as she puts passionate effort in building community within and outside of Woonwinkel. Lastly, thank you to the whole team who gave input along the way and who were ready and waiting to contribute ideas for future goals. Ya'll are a fine, fine team.
- Kristin Van Buskirk, Owner