June 10, 2020
To say the least, we are in the midst of a tumultuous time in history. From the pandemic that shook our world, to the most recent spotlight on police brutality, inequality, and injustice in our country - current events have forced us all to pause and look inward. Natalie and I felt it was obvious that we should put H&T on mute last week so that we could listen and learn from the black community, which has been suffering and fighting unimaginable injustice for too long.
As we look forward, the only thing that felt right to talk about this week was how we can be better allies, and be the change we want to see in the world.
We believe in kindness and compassion, and that love can and will win over hate. We believe in equality and individuality. Every single person must have the equal right to life, liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. Black lives matter. So what can we do - concretely - to translate these beliefs into action?
We feel this is an opportunity to reexamine, deepen, and recommit to our mission:
Harper & Tucker strives to be a haven for style-lovers, curated with goods that will bring you joy, made thoughtfully by labels who are kind to our planet and its people.
We mean we want to be a haven for ALL style lovers, and minority women are awfully underrepresented in the fashion industry. We can do better. We will do better. We must actively seek out diversity in our staff, our models, our business associates, and our makers. We must also insist that the brands we partner with commit to these standards. As of this publishing date, Show Me Your Mumu, Spell, Whimsy + Row, Joah Brown, and Rewined have already announced like-minded pledges and calls to action in the fight for equality. We must vow to hold each other accountable in this commitment. It is our greatest hope that we can all help create change, and drive the fashion industry to work diligently toward representing women of all races, sizes, and orientations.
We hope to promote kindness to all people and all living things in every aspect of our goods' journey - from sourcing makers committed to ethical practices, to partnering with women and minority owned businesses, to avoiding harmful materials in our packaging and clothing, to finding you the right pieces that will make you feel confident and happy. We believe that our commitments to environmental sustainability and civil rights are connected by the universal belief in empathy, kindness, and compassion. To stand up for both these causes means standing against exploitation, violence, and suffering. It means creating a place where everyone is safe.
We started this business with dreams of pretty things, of bringing lightness and fun and joy through style and fashion. At first, we built a website that embodied a boutique experience, then we opened the brick and mortar store that brought it to life. Whether you are visiting harperandtucker.com, or our little sunny shop on Bellevue Avenue, we want to be that oasis and safe haven - where you can come for a chat, or a golden retriever cuddle, or your favorite new dress. We are committed to making H&T a place of welcome and happiness for all.
We know that we all have so much to learn, such a long way to go, and so much work to do - in our communities, in our businesses, in our homes, and in our souls. Talking about anti-racism, educating ourselves, and making commitments to change are just the first steps. But we still believe there is light ahead. The more of us that speak up for a better future for all, and demand and promote change in ways big and small, the closer we are. This pivotal moment of education, civic participation, and unity means nothing if we don't wake up tomorrow (and the next day, and the next) and do it all over again.
As we start to think about clothes again, we don't want to lose the momentum of this drive for change - instead, we want to weave these lessons into our every day routines. We want our mission to echo in everything that we do. We would love to share some small bright spots happening at the shop right now - they will seem tiny compared to the magnitude of what is going on in the world, but we must believe that progress can happen even in small, cumulative actions that pull us in the right direction.
Behind the scenes, we have been taking a hard look at our packaging. When we took on our commitment to sustainability this year, this was a natural step in reducing our footprint. Our goal is to reduce our waste as much as possible, eliminate plastics, and to use only materials that are recycled and recyclable or biodegradable and compostable. We also learned that adhesive and dyes must be plant based and non-toxic. In order to accomplish this, we completely overhauled all of our packing and shipping materials to adhere to new standards. As of last week, we have officially transitioned all of our tissue paper and mailers. We hope within the next month the rest of our transition will be 100% complete; we are just waiting to receive our new stickers and note cards!
We mentioned earlier that we are going to be actively seeking out diversity in our makers. We have only just begun this process, but we did want to share with you the first gem we have discovered. Devi Arts Collective makes by hand the loveliest dainty jewelry pieces with ethically sourced materials.
In 2014, designer and goldsmith, Bayoush Mengesha started Devi Arts Collective to take inspiration from the beautiful and extraordinary world around her. Every design starts from Bayoush’s imagination while she immerses herself in the beautiful world that surrounds her. Every texture, every ridge she creates in her pieces mimics images of nature. Bayoush’s Ethiopian heritage has taught her about the beauty which can come from that delicate dance between the simple and the complex.
We promise you that we will keep working hard every day toward the mission we have outlined here today, and that we will keep the fire for justice and change burning inside us. Please contact us if you have thoughts about how we can be better allies, or suggestions for minority-led fashion brands you love and think we should partner with! Our eyes and ears are open, and we want this to be a discussion that continues on.
We will be returning to H&T Happy Hour @harperandtucker Instagram Live this Friday at 5:30 PM EST - we have missed you, and we hope to see you there! Bring a cocktail, questions, and ideas and we will talk more about sparking necessary change in the fashion industry, and bright spots we can move toward to make our store, our community, and our industry a better place.