Some of the Initiatives we’ve instituted:
Student Blanket Competition to Highlight Black Design Talent
- We recently held an open call for Black art and design students to partner on a capsule collection of knitted blankets. We selected three designs by three extraordinarily talented young women which were available through our website and available with select stockists. Each designer received all profits from the sale of their blanket. Read more about the project and the winning designers in Refinery 29 and Vogue.
Koala Knit blankets:
- We’ve been heartbroken by the images and news we’re seeing of not only koalas, but of all lives affected by the bushfires in Australia. In an effort to help in some small way we designed this baby koala in a cast blanket. All profits will be split and donated to WIRES and Zoos Victoria.
- Shop koala knit baby blanket
One of the benefits about running a business as small as ours, especially at the beginning, is that having a low impact on our environment is built-in. But as we grow we embrace that our work is tied to the livelihoods of others and is responsible for the creation of goods whose life cycle and usefulness depends upon their being well made and thoughtfully designed.
Our choices regarding materials, production methods, packaging, quantities, transport, and the partnerships we form affect the world on a global, if modest, scale.
The more solutions we find, the more holes we find, and we readjust again, taking interest and pleasure in it.
A few of the changes we’ve recently implemented:
- Hand Tufted Deadstock: As part of our commitment to reducing waste in manufacturing, we began using leftover yarn for our Deadstock rug collection, which we will add to intermittently as leftover yarn becomes available at our factory. A bit of background: the artisans we work with in India dye all yarn for our rugs - and the rugs of all the other companies they work with - to order. Since it can be difficult to gauge the precise amount to dye, there is often leftover yarn in very specific colors and amounts (sometimes a lot, sometimes as little as a pound). We initiated a program with our factory to reuse this leftover yarn, which would otherwise wait - until a new order called for it, or perhaps forever. Each of these rugs is limited edition, in many cases using colors and/or yarns that we don’t ordinarily incorporate. Pricing is based on the yarn quality, which differs depending on whether it’s Indian wool or New Zealand wool, or bamboo or viscose. Some styles will have 10 pieces, some will only have 1, but in all cases, once a style is sold out, it’s gone forever.
- Hemp: Hemp is an ecologically friendly plant that requires little water and no pesticides to grow. It is also renewable and biodegradable as well as naturally antimicrobial. And very durable. And pretty cute.
- Bathmats: Our bathmats are made from 100% organic pesticide-free cotton, shipped from the factory in biodegradable bags.
We are committed to eliminating plastic where possible in all packaging going forward. This is more straightforward for some categories than others, and once we make a change it may take a while to sell through the current or on-its-way stock.
- Rugs: Once our factory completes production and final inspection of our rugs, they are rolled and secured by plastic wrap, then placed in plastic tubing to await the truck that drives them to port, where they are shipped by boat in large cargo containers, before reaching our warehouse in Richmond, Virginia. While we reuse this tubing where possible, we would rather not use plastic at all. But rugs, especially larger ones, take time and skill and resources to make. They travel long distances and then spend hours or weeks or months in between, and in both the travel and the waiting they are susceptible to dirt, rain, and rough handling. If we do not adequately protect the rugs, we cannot sell them, and that is waste too. But we are on the lookout, always, for alternatives!
- Bathmats: Our manufacturing partners in India package all our bathmats in locally sourced Our bathmat packaging, starting at the factory in India, where our 100% organic cotton bathmats will be packed into locally sourced compostable bags.
- Knit blankets: We are currently in the process of switching the factory supplied plastic bags to compostable packaging for all knit blankets going forward.
- Quilts and Pillows: We currently ship in-stock both these products in factory-supplied plastic bags, but are exploring other local options first to reduce overseas shipping.
Some of the organizations we have been proud to support either through direct donations or through raffles and giveaways:
- Swing Left: Created following the 2016 election, Swing Left was created to flip the Senate, the White House and key state legislatures by empowering volunteers to help win critical elections.
- WIRES NSW WILDLIFE RESCUE: Australia’s largest rescue and wildlife organization, WIRES is a non-profit providing rescue and rehabilitation for all native Australian wildlife, a mission which increased dramatically following the catastrophic fires in 2019-2020.
- Zoos Victoria: An Australian zoo-based conservation organization, dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction. Following the 2019-2020 fires, Zoos launched the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife fund, a fund dedicated to the rescue and recovery of bushfire-affected wildlife and enhancing preparedness for future wildlife responses.
- City Meals on Wheels: Providing food and assistance to New York City’s homebound elderly
- One Fair Wage: Raising money for Covid emergency funds for tipped and other low-wage workers and making temporary cash gifts to workers as funding becomes available.
- Brooklyn Community Foundation: A public foundation dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community, their Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund provides emergency groceries and other assistance to Brooklyn’s most vulnerable populations, including low-wage workers and the homebound.
- Black Visions Collective: an organization that develops Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership
- Black Lives Matter: an international human rights movement that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards Black people
- ACLU: non-profit legal and advocacy group defending civil rights
- Made in Brownsville: a nonprofit that seeks to increase access to creative and innovative fields for at-risk youth in Brownsville, Brooklyn through employment and mentorship around design projects that challenge the local narrative of violence and chronic disease.
- Autistic People of Color Fund: Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment
- HEARD: All volunteer organization that provides advocacy services for deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind inmates across the nation
- Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund: dedicated to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions and creating a more humane reentry system.
- Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation
- Yellowhammer: a 501(c)3 abortion fund and reproductive justice organization serving Alabama and the Deep South
- National Network of Abortion: a national social justice organization that aims to increase access to abortion for low-income people across the U.S
- Black Power Blueprint: A black led self-determination and economic development project in St. Louis, MO
- Ocean Conservancy: promotes healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems and opposes practices that threaten ocean life and human life. Through research, education, and science-based advocacy, Ocean Conservancy informs, inspires, and empowers people to speak and act on behalf of the oceans
- Everytown for Gun Safety: an American nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control and against gun violence
- Direct Relief: dedicated to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies
- Planned Parenthood: a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: a lawsuit and grassroots movement that began in early 2016 in reaction to the approved construction of Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline in the northern United States
- International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC): ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence
- American Red Cross: a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education in the United States
- Bushwick Ayuda Mutua: a grassroots community group that connects neighbors in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to organizations and volunteers in the area that are able to relieve them where the government has not yet been able to
Ballotpedia: non-profit digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections
National Conference of State Legislatures: bipartisan research on public policy issues facing state governments
Black Owned Restaurants in Brooklyn - compiled by Rachel Karten
Black Owned Restaurants in LA - compiled by Kat Hong
Black Owned Bookstores - compiled by Chelsea Kravitz
The End of Policing, by Alex S. Vitale, free ebook
Patia’s Fantasy World Master List of Resources on How to Dismantle Systemic Racism
Anti-racism Packet by Jasmine Mitchell
Advocacy Toolkit for Safe and Effective Policing