White Fashion Business Owners, Here’s Your Next Call to Action
This is not another templated blog post telling you that Black Lives Matter.
This is a call to action.
Over the past week or so, I have absorbed more education about one subject than I have about anything else in my life.
From articles to books to conversations to webinars, I have been processing what it truly means to be a white ally to BIPOC, what it means to do anti-racist work — and more importantly, acknowledging my unearned privilege in a system that was rigged to my benefit.
Brands across all industries are being called out for their implicit (and yes, explicit) biases, and we’re realizing that we can all do better.
Most of us have heard the expression, “We are not born with ‘isms.’ Racism is taught.”
And just as people aren’t born racist, most businesses aren’t born racist either.
The vast majority of entrepreneurs don’t start companies to deliberately suppress people of color.
But here’s the thing:
Most of us don’t go into business with plans to amplify and support people of color either.
Our passive decision making is directly harming anti-racist work. By not putting diversity and equity at the forefront of our core business values, we are not only contributing to the problem…
We are the problem.
We simply cannot continue business as normal, without addressing the fundamental flaws of the sustainable and ethical fashion industry and it’s white-washed behavior.
As a leader in this space, someone who encourages people to start sustainable fashion brands for the good of planet and people, it is my responsibility to ensure that we’re starting brands that are good for all people.
I also recognize that there are professionals in diversity and inclusion training that will do a far better job teaching anti-racist business principles than I can.
So today, I want to introduce you to one of those people.
Erica Courdae is the CEO of a hair and makeup business that disrupted industry standards to consider the beauty of those not regularly featured.
After decades of experience in creating a space for dialogue around diversity, equity and inclusion, she is now a consultant and coach for businesses that are committed to being imperfect allies of BIPOC.
On Thursday, June 18th, sponsored by The Garment, Erica is teaching a webinar exclusively for fashion brands about how we can be better allies.
“Step into a reality that isn’t the one you inhabit every single day. This is where the growth happens.” — Erica Courdae
Erica is being compensated for her time, knowledge and skills, but the webinar is free for you to attend. You can register here.
I will be there with an open mind, listening, learning and challenging myself to dig deeper in how I can commit to doing the long-term work.
Because believe me, there isn’t an overnight solution in showing up.
The point is to continue showing up — within yourself, within your family and within your business.
If we truly want to live in an equal and just world, then there’s no other option.
See you next Thursday here,
Want to take action right now? Rachel Rodgers is hosting a Town Hall for small businesses TONIGHT at 6pm ET / 3pm PT. You can register here.
I know we’ve all been inundated with resources, but here are two links that have particularly stood out to me.
*Note: If you’re sensitive to explicit language, then you may want to skip.
White Apathy & The Bullshit Argument that “They Could Help Themselves If They Really Wanted To” by Ash Ambirge
Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (If you can’t commit to 30 minutes, then just watch the last two minutes.)