To our DÔEN community,
This past year has been like no other, and requires reflection, reckoning, and perhaps, a newfound understanding of the multitude of intertwining, inextricably linked threads that bind us all together. As an organization, we have been embarking on deepening our knowledge and understanding of institutional and systemic racism, and its historical and continued impact on environmental, social, and economic justice.
After the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, we created a cross-functional leadership team to track and measure our goals in a variety of areas, from internal training and revised hiring practices to ongoing partnerships and representation. This team continues to meet bi-weekly, and drives our anti-racism initiatives continually forward. In addition, our employee-led resource groups are forums for our team to meet, hold open discussions, and advance our collective knowledge and internal efforts; our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging ERG is planning its first speaker for this summer, and has hosted conversations about performative activism, implicit bias, and the Derek Chauvin trial and conviction, amongst other topics.
With the publication of our 2021 Resolutions Report, we are also moving forward with combining our reports into a singular, holistic publication. As we further explore the interconnectedness of all that we do, we will be providing updates on our anti-racism initiatives within our upcoming bi-annual Impact Reports. We are committed to sharing details of our efforts with our community and industry, and strongly believe that open communication will help us all reach a more equitable and just workplace and culture.
Our original statement, published June 11, 2020, is available here. Our 6-month update, published in January 2021, is available here.
I. Our Partnerships
In late 2020, we announced our addition of a third partner: Kindred Space LA and its non-profit branch Birthing People Foundation. To learn more about this incredible organization, please read about our partners here. Their amazing work in South Los Angeles furthers our mission of supporting women throughout our community, and we are thrilled that we have been able to donate through sales events and the ongoing proceeds of select face coverings so far this year.
In June of 2020, we newly implemented company-wide observance of Juneteenth. This year, our offices will be closed on Friday, June 18th, and we will be donating 5% of sales on Saturday, June 19th to our partner Kindred Space LA/Birthing People Foundation in recognition of this holiday, honoring the emancipation of enslaved Black people in this country in 1865.
In 2020, we pledged that at least 15% of all partnerships annually would be with Black-owned businesses; last year, Black-owned businesses or artists accounted for 23.5% of our partnerships. Halfway through 2021, we are tracking at 21.43%. Exciting partnerships in 2021 so far have included a Reparations Club pop-up and a stunning assortment from Estelle Colored Glass offered at our Brentwood Country Mart store — with more in the works!
As stated in our January update, we have researched our financial relationships and chosen to open a new account with the Black-owned credit union, Broadway Federal Bank. As of April 1, 2021, this bank has merged with City First Bank in Washington, D.C., creating the largest Black-led Minority Depository Institution. We will use this banking relationship for our sales tax dollars, as we strongly believe in keeping these finances local and available to marginalized communities.
II. Content and Creative
We are committed to inclusive representation, and consider diversity a critical component of our mission of supporting women-identifying individuals throughout all stages of their lives.
In 2020, we worked with an average of 60% self-identified BIPOC content creators; this year so far, we are maintaining an average of 50%. We are also creating benchmarks around our ongoing inclusivity efforts, with representation guidelines for trans, gender non-conforming/non-binary, and differently abled content creators, amongst other identifications.
As stated in our 2021 Resolutions Report, we are implementing accessibility captions on our social channels in order to accurately represent the self-identification of our community, including user generated content and our campaign models.
We are also committed to creating yearly benchmarks for representation in campaign photography, including our advertising imagery, by 2022. Our recent 2021 Resolutions Report includes a breakdown of our Spring and Summer 2021 campaigns in terms of model self-identification within our Community Representation chapter.
III. Inclusive Hiring and Talent Retention
We are committed to addressing systemic inequities, implicit biases, and racial disparities within our own company culture, and to the ongoing work of creating an equitable, welcoming, and just work environment for all team members.
Based on guidance from BIPOC-identifying industry leaders to improve our recruitment, we have created guidelines for job postings to always be posted on specific job boards; we currently utilize our regularly used job boards for internship openings as well. The complete list of our job boards includes: Our website’s own Career page, Indeed, LA Trade Tech, FIDM, Handshake, Ziprecruiter/LinkedIn, Fashionista, Black in Fashion Council, Dr. Akilah Cadet’s platforms, and 15% Pledge. We will also be implementing the use of the LGBTQ+ Center of Los Angeles’s job board.
This summer, we are excited to launch a career mentoring program in partnership with The Rightway Foundation. The Rightway Foundation provides transitional aged foster youth (18-24) with job readiness, financial training, and mental health services to help them gain financial independence and make a safe, comfortable transition into self sufficiency when they exit the foster care system. Through this program, interested foster youth will be partnered with mentors from our leadership team for a period of approximately 3 months. The mentee will choose one department as their main focus, but will also have the opportunity to interact with and learn about the many different jobs available at a company like DÔEN. We are so excited to work with this organization and assist in providing young people with the support they need to begin building their professional networks and the skills they will need to succeed in their chosen career path.
We are also thrilled to have reviewed and revised our paid internship program. Our goal is to onboard four interns per semester, or for a duration of 3-4 months. For Spring, we had interns join the following departments: Design, Communications, E-Commerce, Production, and Content. A key component of these internships is the opportunity to grow with the company, eventually joining in a full time role as an open position becomes available. We host a meet and greet (virtual during our current remote work circumstances) with all interns at the beginning of each semester.
As detailed in our 2021 Resolutions Report, we have implemented a hiring panel stage of our interview process. The panel is designed to reduce unconscious bias by incorporating diversity of experience and thought in the hiring process, and to therefore mitigate the potential impact of primary effect bias, unconscious bias, and affinity bias.
In January, we committed to reporting the voluntary self-identification breakdown of our full-time team for all layers of the organization. Our team self-identification breakdown is as follows, with approximately 95.6% of the team voluntarily reporting:
IV. Internal Trainings and Guidance
Our goal for all managers to receive both non-discrimination and unconscious bias training in 2021 has been achieved: This year, our management level team and higher received DEI training from Dr. Akilah Cadet, and our entire team participated in implicit bias training. Our plan is to continue training yearly with Dr. Cadet, as well as provide non-discrimination training to all new hires upon their start with the company. We also held an all-team training with the LGBTQ+ Center of Los Angeles on June 10th, which was recorded for new hires to receive upon joining the company.
Our employee-led resource groups have been able to secure activities and speaking engagements for their respective topics, and we are thrilled about the external expertise we are able to bring in to speak to us. This summer, we are looking forward to hosting environmental impact and circularity specialist, Nellie Cohen of Baleen, for our Corporate Sustainability group; Ashley Mink, LMFT, to discuss mindfulness, self-care, and mind-body integration with our Wellness & Safety group; and representatives from the Garment Worker Center for a cross-disciplinary discussion between our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging and Corporate Sustainability groups. We’re also happy to have scheduled a volunteer day at the LA Food Bank this Fall for our Los Angeles-based team, organized by our Anti-Racism Accountability leadership group, as well as a visit from Refillery LA, a mobile station offering bulk and eco-friendly detergents, soaps, and other care products, organized by our Corporate Sustainability group.
We know how important it is to support our internal team, and we are committed to providing resources, spaces for discussion, and more. Our DEIB group has been a critical space for conversation for our team throughout this year, and was available as an internal forum for all teams after the Derek Chauvin trial verdict. We continue to share lists of anti-racism resources with our team, with specific additions for mental health, non-profit organizations for donations, and local Black- and AAPI-owned businesses to support. Additionally, we reimbursed all team members who chose to attend a 2-hour webinar, entitled ‘American Reckoning: George Floyd One Year Later,’ on the one-year mark of Floyd’s murder. For a look at some of our resource lists, visit this page on our website.
We have also implemented a quarterly review process to give employees additional opportunities throughout the year to give feedback and receive guidance from their manager. The information shared and discussed in these reviews will also help us in continual improvement of company culture and our efforts towards inclusion.
We have implemented quarterly calls with Dr. Akilah Cadet and Black in Fashion Council for additional guidance for our leadership team, and we are in the process of re-publishing our employee handbook to include more inclusive, updated policies. This includes a core value specific to anti-racism and allyship, a new policy regarding hair discrimination, and company-wide observance of Juneteenth; we also plan to add a transition confidentiality statement. We are an equal opportunity employer, and state these core values and our mission, as well as our relationships with our three long-term partners, in all job descriptions and in all interviews.
V. Our Supply Chain
Our mission is to create lasting, beautiful collections while supporting women-identifying individuals in all aspects of our organization, supply chain, and community. Over the past year, our understanding of the interconnectedness of our industry has expanded considerably, and our commitment to the critical work of anti-racism has deepened.
We became industry endorsers of the Garment Worker Protection Act (Senate Bill 62) here in California, which aims to expand protections for the nearly 40,000 garment workers — predominantly immigrant women — who are at risk of exploitation, wage theft, and other unethical practices under the current legal loopholes here in Los Angeles.
However, this approach applies not only to our manufacturing partners within the United States, but to all of the global regions where we have an impact. This Spring has been particularly devastating for one of our primary vendors: Located in India, the second wave of COVID-19 has had an immense impact on the country. Throughout these challenges, we have been in constant communication, always maintaining fair practices and timely payments while navigating closures and transport shutdowns with their input and needs as priority. In early May, we organized a sales donation for Give India’s COVID relief efforts as well as our long-term non-profit partner Room to Read, which works closely with local governments on educational aid and assistance for young girls in India. These students have been incredibly impacted by COVID over the past year, and are at risk of never returning to school. Room to Read is continuing to help support their education with remote programs and library development, and we felt it critical to expand our support for their programming at this time and continue to fight for gender equality. We are proud to have raised funds for this cause in addition to our annual fundraising for our long-term partners.
We are also committed to sharing information on our traceability efforts, factory certifications and audits, and worker benefits for not only our internal team but our global supply chain as well; for information on these topics and more, our 2021 Resolutions Report is available on our site. As detailed in this report, we are embarking on several initiatives to help comprehend, measure, track, and benchmark our environmental impact and manufacturing practices, as well as encourage the longevity and multiple lifecycles of our styles. We are continually learning and evolving, and are excited to keep sharing our progress, challenges, and future goals with you. As always, we urge feedback from our community; any questions or ideas can be sent to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to continuing to share our updates with you!