DEI Pledge Update, July 2022
To our Catbird community,
In the third year of our Diversity & Equity pledge, we’re eager to share some of our proudest moments, as well as long-term goals. Our mission remains building a culture where diverse voices are found, and where every individual within our community knows they are heard and seen – and that they belong within the world of Catbird. For our employees and designers, this is advancement and opportunity and for our wider community this is a true celebration of self.
Thank you endlessly and please know each of your efforts help make the collective difference.
OFFERINGS:We will use our purchasing power to support economic equality, allocating more of Catbird’s shelf space and collections to brands, makers, and muses that bring diverse identities together.
- In the past two years we have added 22 designers and makers to our assortment, and 67% of our new jewelers have been BIPOC. Over our total current assortment, 22% of jewelry brands are BIPOC owned. Our goal is to continue to grow shelf representation through new brand discovery and current brand sales.
- We have continued to invest in size inclusivity. Since 2019, we have extended sizing on 121 styles (8% bracelets and 92% rings). This does not take into account new releases which we now generally launch in a wide size range.
- In July 2021, we launched a collaboration with Mozambican painter, Cassi Namoda, with rich references to identity, history, culture, and to her country’s relationship with jewelry and found objects.
- In April 2022 we collaborated with 92 year old antique collector Vito Giallo on a limited edition fine jewelry collection using long lost gemstones from his archives. Through our work with Vito we not only pushed our design boundaries, we also held a conversation around visibility – what it means to be seen for a generation often overlooked in fashion, and their unique LGBTQ history.
- We see both the Cassi and Vito collaborations as vehicles for inclusive storytelling. Our team is always scouting new brands and design projects and we welcome direct submissions from you!
GIVING: The Catbird Giving Fund (where at least 1% of all sales, year round, are donated to nonprofits aligned with our core beliefs of equality and helping others) will continue to support nonprofits working in racial justice and equity and wider social equality, with a focus on engaging with Black, AAPI, and LGBTQIA led organizations.
- We Wield the Hammer’s mission is to provide training, mentorship, and equitable job opportunities to Black women interested in pursuing a career with the jewelry arts. Catbird provided an infusion of capital to expand the program to Durham, North Carolina. In Year 1, we supported WWTH's mission through funding both the annual studio rent and utilities. Our goal is to continue the funding in further years with further support into equipment and studio assistant and teacher compensation. Our goal is to help diversify our industry from the ground up.
- In celebration of Catbird x Cassi Namoda, we made a contribution to both Kurandza and Save the Children, with a focus on children’s health and education programs within Mozambique.
- In celebration of Catbird x Vito Giallo we made a contribution to Sage, a local organization looking out for LGBTQ+ elders.
- The Catbird Scholarship for Diversity in Jewelry Arts enters into its second year with Pratt Institute. Our annual $25k commitment will provide scholarships to full-time undergraduate students in the Jewelry program with a demonstrated need, and from an underrepresented population. Again, our goal is to help diversify our industry from the ground up.
- To celebrate our month-long pop up in Los Angeles, Catbird partnered with Hike Clerb, a 501c3 non profit and intersectional hike club whose mission is to promote inclusive, outdoor spaces centered on Black, Indeginous, and womxn of color. In addition to our $5k donation, we hosted a golden hour sunset hike in Los Angeles with over 50 members.
- We launched a Catbird Employee Matching Program. We match the donation you make to an eligible nonprofit of your choosing, doubling your contribution.
- As part of our Holiday 2021 Giving Fund – driven largely by employee votes – we donated $10k to Sad Girl’s Club, a 501c3 nonprofit committed to destigmatizing mental wellness for millennial and Gen Z womxn, girls, and femmes of color
- For the past 3 years we have proudly partnered with AHRC NYC to employ several neurodiverse members of the Catbird team. This summer, we further our friendship by dedicating our Little Butterfly charm to our colleagues, and committing $10 from every sale to AHRC’s individualized services aimed at promoting the fullest life possible for its members.
CREATIVE: We’re privileged to see Catbird through the lens of so many talented creators. It expands our creative capacity to see our jewelry interpreted with so much thought and individuality. We will continue to feature Black and BIPOC creators and voices in our branded content, campaigns, and gifting – and invest in their work through our paid contracts.
- To tell the full story of Cassi Namoda x Catbird, we shot a video in her East Hampton studio to share with our audience the cultural, racial, and intimate themes in her work and how they informed our collection.
- The Vito Giallo x Catbird collection debut showcased Vito with a customer meet-and-greet and content that highlights his life’s work, and his contribution to the arts. We commissioned Vito to share his guide to New York City, infusing his memories of the past and his voice into New York institutions.
- In taking accountability for the lack of diversity in influencer and content marketing, our mission is to have every individual see themselves in our brand and for our talent to be equitably compensated for the value they add to our community. In the past 12 months, 35% of our contracted creators identified as Black and our commitment is to continue to prioritize subject matter and talent who are underrepresented within brand content and media.
- Our Valentine’s Day 2022 campaign includes a print media campaign and digital takeover. We commissioned Imdad Barbhuyan, a New Delhi based, nonbinary visual artist, to photograph themselves in Catbird and reflect on what adornment means to them through the lens of their culture and perceptions.
- In celebration of the 10th anniversary of our signature Threadbare Ring, we shot a campaign that focused on our long standing employees, neighbors, and customers (in lieu of model casting) to showcase our community which is made up of many voices.
- We invite you to read further into some of the stories we amplified this year. This is a snapshot of the wider work done this year, with an eye towards the diverse opportunities ahead. A spotlight on Giving Fund partner Kurandza, a personal style story with Lauren Dozier, a creative spotlight on our longstanding designer Jennie Kwon and pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz, a photo journal with Lina Sun Park, a spotlight on Sad Girls Club founder Elyse Fox.
LISTENING AND LEARNING: We could not do this work without experts in the field of DE&I who have guided us.
- Our DE&I Council meets monthly with senior leadership to provide feedback, recommendations, and new ideas for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion inside and outside of Catbird. The group has helped establish new protocols to support inclusive hiring, comprehensive DE&I training, and employee wellbeing among other initiatives spanning retail, marketing, and the Catbird Giving Fund. The work is ongoing - a marathon, not a sprint.
- We continue to work with our DE&I consultant, Muna Ikedionwu, and measure our progress against the Black In Fashion Council’s (BIFC) Diversity Index. We've implemented new policies in 2021 and 2022 to meet the Innovative criteria in all categories with the exception of Corporate Social Responsibility where Catbird’s size and operations do not qualify for consideration.
*Catbird's Diversity index score from BIFC. All protocols needed have been implemented to meet “innovative” status in all categories except CSR which is based on company size.
HIRING: We will maintain employment representation that, at a minimum, meets population parity as reported by U.S. Census Data. To compile this data, employees self-identified through the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) survey’s race and ethnicity categories. We recognize these categories to be standardized for the purpose of demographic breakdown, but that identity goes beyond these categories.
From 2019 to 2022 year-to-date, our company has increased BIPOC and Black representation through intentional hiring.
In our continued effort to diversify our industry from the ground up, we started a NY State accredited jewelry apprenticeship program (the first one since 1980!) and in January our first apprentice joined our team. An apprenticeship allows an interested individual to learn how to be a bench jeweler without any previous experience. We provide paid, on-the-job training plus paid off site education with full Catbird benefits. This is something we started from the ground up.
Our DE&I Council continually provides feedback on how we can increase diversity and inclusion in our hiring process from an employee-first perspective. Their input has influenced our peer interviewing process and the scale and scope of the antidiscrimination and unconscious bias trainings we offer.
We’ve implemented mandatory training modules and engagement surveys in order to take the pulse of our workplace and always be on a path towards active improvement.
U.S. Census Bureau projects that, in 2025, 13.6% of the population will identify as Black and 44.7% will identify as BIPOC. We will maintain employment representation that, at a minimum, meets this. Our percentages do not include seasonal employees or interns.
We have always grown thoughtfully and methodically - building from the ground up, not focusing on quick fixes, and our DE&I Pledge is no exception. Thank you for being a part of this active and vibrant community and for allowing us to learn from each other and grow together.