To our Catbird community,
We wanted to update you on the work we have been doing to make sure that diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to be built into every layer of our operation. At the heart of this is our mission to make the Catbird culture one where diverse perspectives are actively shared, where each of us feels they belong and can fully participate, where advancement and opportunity is for everyone.
Here is where our work has turned to action this past year, and where we are headed next. Thank you endlessly for your support and for doing this work alongside us.
OFFERINGS: We will use our purchasing power to support economic equality, allocating more of Catbird’s shelf space and promotions to Black owned brands and makers.
- Since June 2020, we have brought seven Black owned brands into our offerings, making up 4.8% of our total third-party brand assortment across fine jewelry, beauty, home & gift. This is progress but not completion - our goal is to continue to grow representation through new brand discovery and also current brand sales through marketing and planning support.
- We invite you to discover a few of these talented makers through our editorial highlights: designer interview with Khadijah Fulton of White/Space, designer interview with Ashley Thorne of A.M. Thorne, a beauty spotlight with John-Charles Baucom of The Best Kind, an Instagram cocktail segment with Ashley Rouse of Trade St. Jam Co.
- Our team is always scouting new brands, with a focus on expanding our Black owned brands, and we welcome direct submissions from you!
HIRING: From 2019 to 2021 year-to-date, our company has increased BIPOC and Black representation through intentional hiring. We will maintain employment representation that at a minimum meets population parity as reported by U.S. Census Data. Currently we exceed these numbers across both self identifying BIPOC and Black employees. While our employees' racial and ethnic identities do not only fit into these limited categories, we used the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) survey to compile the following numbers.
*Stores remain partially open at the date of publication June 2021, impacting our total employee numbers. These percentages do not include seasonal employees or interns.
- We practice fair hiring practices through a ‘Ban the Box’ policy, blind resume reviews, peer reviews, and standardized interview templates for bias mitigation.
- We’ve expanded our hiring outreach through Elivade, 15 Percent Pledge, Black In Fashion Council, and Creative Collective. We will continue to utilize them as an outreach source for future openings.
- Working closely with the New York State Department of Labor, we are creating the framework for Catbird’s accredited apprenticeship program, designed to provide hands-on experience and training in the jewelry arts. There is intentional outreach through education and employment hubs that focus on economic equality. We are planning on our first apprentice in January 2022.
- Cadence for an annual equitable pay audit has been set to take place every June, with our first audit in June 2020.
GIVING: The Catbird Giving Fund’s platform and resources will continue to support nonprofits working in racial justice and equity, with a focus on engaging with Black led organizations.
- In partnership with Pratt, we are awarding the first annual Catbird Scholarship for Diversity in Jewelry Arts to a Fall 2021 incoming undergraduate in the Fine Arts BFA program. Our $25K scholarship will be granted to a BIPOC student with a demonstrated need, and from an underrepresented population, so that they may access the immersive, exceptional learning environment at Pratt.
- Our Mother’s Day 2021 campaign honors National Birth Equity Collaborative with a $10K donation to support their work in Black maternal and infant health. We are meeting with their team to learn how we can amplify their work further.
- For our Holiday 2020 giving fund - an annual tradition - we selected Color of Change as one of two dedicated recipients, receiving $10K in funding for their civil rights advocacy work. Additionally, through two Catbird pendants indefinitely earmarked to raise funds for Women’s Prison Association and The Lower Eastside Girls Club, we raised $16,820 and $15,500 respectively for their programming over the last 12 months.
- During our 2020 employee holiday giving vote, our team also voted to distribute funds to Black Women’s Blueprint, Sister Song, Advancement Project, and Women’s Prison Association alongside a short list of additional organizations working in racial, transgender, and economic equality. This employee vote traditionally takes place at the end of each holiday season, and at the start of this year we chose to expand this to a year round employee match up to $200 for every employee’s individual giving or equivalent volunteer hours.
- Last year we announced our 2030 project with The Adventure Project, a 10 year commitment to train local women in the Kéran district of Togo to become licensed community health workers - an entrepreneurial solution to accessible healthcare that we are dedicated to seeing expand district wide.
CREATIVE: We had the privilege of seeing Catbird through the lens of so many talented Black creators this year. It has expanded our creative capacity and humbled us to see our jewelry interpreted with so much care and individuality. We will continue to thoughtfully feature Black creators and voices in our branded content, campaigns, and gifting.
- A few of the features we were so proud to produce over the last 12 months include a day spent with Pratt fashion student Sabrina Brokenborough, a holiday gift guide with writer LaTonya Yvette, 3 Looks with our friend Janine Tondu, a floral tutorial with Karla Smith-Brown of Olivee Floral.
- While we have always shot our jewelry on the very real people behind the scenes at Catbird - our own team! - we now have an official framework in place for standardized compensation and equitable means of participation across departments.
- Our Mother’s Day 2021 campaign was done in partnership with HANNAH Magazine and founder Qimmah Saafir. Qimmah worked closely with our team to bring to life her vision of birthing in its many forms - a portrait of strength of softness featuring Qimmah, daughter Leahn, and midwife Memaniye. We invite you to read the story on HANNAH’s digital platform and to support them through the purchase of a print issue.
RESPECT & INCLUSION: Our spaces, from our stores to our studio & HQ to our community events, will be a place where everyone is seen and celebrated as their authentic selves.
- We have established our first DE&I Council, made up of Catbird employees from across departments and guided by our DE&I consultant. The council’s primary function will be to serve as an official point of feedback and accountability, ensuring Catbird drives real organizational change and that employees have a voice in this process.
- As our stores fully reopen and our teams return to on-site work this fall, we will have new training offered. While training programs are still being vetted for a September rollout, our primary criteria has been established:
- New anti-discrimination and harassment training will include gender and race
- Added anti-discrimination protocol to all new hire onboarding
- Internal DEI and anti-racism workshops, seminars, and community conversations
LISTENING AND LEARNING: We could not do this work without experts in the field of DE&I who have guided us.
- We are working with the Black In Fashion Council on a minimum 3 year commitment to index how we score on company culture, creative campaigns, employee representation, and hiring practices. In partnership with the Human Right Campaign we will be participating in a public report in Year 2 and Year 3. Our primary objective in this extensive reporting is to ensure long-term change and trackable accountability as a brand and connected industry.
- Our DE&I consultant Muna Ikedionwu has continued to provide us with the tools, training, and programs to educate ourselves, foster an inclusive environment, and achieve measurable results. She will continue her work with our internal DE&I Council this year - and is a constant sounding board for Catbird leadership, Black and BIPOC employees, and allies.