Though we were under no illusions that simply clicking over into a new year would dramatically change much, we’re not so jaded that the dangerous and shameful events at the capital in the first week of the year didn’t take us by surprise. We mercifully retain our ability after these last four years to be appalled by villainy, hate, and breathtaking double standards.
This is normally the time of year where we take a day for a planning meeting, a brainstorming session about what’s to come that ends up acting as a sort of reaffirmation of who Kindred Black is and where we’d like it to be headed. As a business grows it can be helpful to check in with yourself – asking, are the values, goals, and integrity that we started this company with still a part of what we do every day. Things of course morph and change, that’s part of getting older, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes, and gaining experience. But are those core people who, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, set out to create something that contributes to the goodness of the world still behind the everyday decisions that Kindred Black makes? Did we change when presented with cheaper ways to do things? Have we operated differently, ordered from different sources, changed packaging, or stretched the limits of what’s acceptable to suit our own pocketbooks?
This year, being honest about who and what we are feels more pressing than ever – as a company and as individuals. Tweets, posts and re-posts, lawn signs, it’s all a nice place to start but can end up being relatively hollow if there’s no meat on those bones. As we check ourselves, we want to also take the time to reaffirm our commitments with you because without you, there is no Kindred Black. Our pledge is that those two people that we were almost six years ago are not only still kickin’, they’re fueled by the sadness, anger, and frustration that we feel this week, to do more, contribute more, change more, and even to try and love and understand more.
The ways in which we haven’t changed? Our packaging and apothecary lines remain plastic-free and made by artisans in the USA and Mexico earning a fair wage, we still source the very best quality ingredients and make sure that those herbs, oils, and botanicals are not from questionable or abusive sources, we’re doggedly pursuing a refill program for our Slow Beauty Collection (so many of you have reached out, know that we’re trying so hard to get this done in 2021!), and working with a family-run factory in the USA on an upcoming line of basics made from deadstock and eco-friendly fabrics. Last year through various initiatives we donated to The Environmental Defense Fund, WIRES (New South Wales Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.), Wildlife Victoria, The Ocean Conservatory, the ACLU, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, Color of Change, FIERCE, The Bail Project, RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison), Every Last Vote, Planned Parenthood, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Fair Fight, CEDO (The Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans), and The World Wildlife Fund. This year we have projects planned to benefit these same organizations as well as other worthy institutions working tirelessly for the dignity and equality of all people and a healed and healthy planet.
The ways in which we have changed are always more complicated. An honest assessment is that we haven’t acted enough, given enough of our real time and honest sweat to our avowed ideals, entered fully into cooperation with other people to get the jobs we want done, done. Part of our meeting this year must include how can we help? What can we physically do? And a fresh list of goals in hand so that we enter into 2021 with real purpose to move us forward.
Despite the uncertainty this year brings, we feel refreshed, hopeful, and excited for its start. Living up to your ideals is a journey and we thank you for being a part of that with us and feel truly grateful to head into another year with all of you.
–– Alice and Jenn, Co-Founders