Months before we flipped the launch switch for our little company, we sat across our dining room table and made some big decisions. Way before sketching logos, picking Pantone swatches or the perfect Twitter handles, we did something that made our life infinitely tougher in some ways but ultimately better for the long run.
We defined our values. Values that we can believe in; values we were willing to fight for and most importantly, values that we wouldn't abandon upon the first sign of struggle. We drew a portrait of the personality we wanted to see and show to the world. The outcome was greatly influenced by how we tried to act as regular people, with the added wrinkle of trying to make a profit at the end of the day. We agreed to the following:
They made sense to us. These 5 themes would be woven into everything we do, and in turn they would help make all our future tough decisions easier to make. Trust us, they have been tested. Having them public made us accountable and responsible. But, there was a fifth Beatle or fourth Fugee if you will. And that sixth one was:
In our personal lives, we have always made it a family priority to donate our time and or money to initiatives near and far, so it would be a natural fit for our business. But, we left it off for a couple of reasons, we were about to embark on the long and expensive road of producing, manufacturing and marketing the Deckster, our first product. We crunched numbers and we weren't sure how to work it into our model. We spoke back and forth about whether it should be "baked" into our process to ensure that it would further help shape the way we do things. We sought advice from peers and other companies that made it work for them. In the end, we decided to leave it off the table, but left it in the kitchen. During our first 2 years as a company, we made small contributions to social campaigns we believed in, here, here and here. We tried our best to include the sixth value.
Through our involvement with various charities, non-profits and even the Canadian Internaional Development Agency, what we took away is that contributions big or small are exponentially more potent when efforts are focused. So, we are very excited to share that today we're launching a product that has "charity" baked right into it.
Meet Inner City Birds, a fun take on the average bird house. These are eye-catching conversation pieces for the neighbourhood animal kingdom, but they also help some people too. We are donating 15% of all sales to the Youth Services Bureau in our hometown. The YSB provides a lot of support to our community, we will be focusing our efforts on housing and shelter that they provide for distressed youths aged 12 - 20 . It's something we feel strongly about and we hope it'll be a big success. Take a peek and maybe pick up a couple of houses for your favourite tree dweller (Read: birds!).