I was recently quoted in an article by Suzanne Bearne for The Guardian about how Activism may be fashionable, but is it good for business?
Suzanne had seen some of the images I'd shared on our company Instagram account of the Postcards Home team at various political marches across the UK.
I should preface this by saying that I've always been an activist, and very proudly so. I attend the Women's Marches, I protested to try and stop Trump coming to the UK, and more recently I dyed my hair blue and joined the anti-Brexit People's March in London. I'm not afraid to shout my political beliefs loudly and proudly, and I believe that my business should do the same.
In the current climate of divisive politics in Europe and the US, it's hard not to want to use whatever power we have to spread our views, but as a company we are also passionate about standing up for the social injustices that we witness in our industry and feel we can have impact to change.
What we are not into is political passivity, and to that end we want to use our voice to open up discussions within our community and beyond, and stir people on all sides into activism.
We Back Causes That Fit With Our Brand
Postcards Home was founded in sunny Kerala where I was living at the time with my partner. When the company began I was part of a female entrepreneur collective in Southern India which was both incredibly inspiring and also completely at odds with my experience of Women's rights and freedom of speech across other rural areas of India. I knew from the outset that I wanted to use the company to give a voice to marginalised communities across the world, and if that came at the cost of isolating or challenging customers who didn't believe in equality, I was perfectly happy with that.
To that end, we have always sought to work with designers and social enterprises that champion the rights of marginalised communities to both employ and empower them. For example, all our toys are made by The Sambhali Trust in Jodhpur, India and every purchase supports the work they do towards the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan and the abolition of child marriage.
This is the very foundation of how we think Postcards Home can have an impact, by products directly related to global politics that are born from a want to change the status quo. We also want to be the link between these communities and our UK customers - both highlighting issues that need to be addressed in a wider global context, and inviting our customers to work with us to actively address them.
We don't just jump on the bandwagon with topical causes, and we're completely against greenwashing. We partner with charities, social enterprises and independent makers to give our activism legitimacy and help us have more impact.
We Want You To Join The Fight
We work with likeminded people who are enthusiastic activists, so we all relish the opportunity to march or protest for what we believe in. Where we think we can make a small difference is inviting those who might share our beliefs but might not have made the leap to actively fight for them to join us. If one of our Instagram posts or company newsletters encourages a member of our community to sign a petition, join a march, or even stand up for equality in a debate down the pub, we're thrilled.
What We're Passionate About
Postcards Home is a company based on the celebration of diversity and different cultures so we have no choice but to stand up against things such as Trump, Brexit and anything else that endangers the free movement and freedom of speech of communities around the world.
We campaign for causes like climate change and sustainable slow fashion which have a loyal following so can actually act as strong pulls to purchase for our customers, but we also bolt on more polarising protests we feel strongly about - and if they lose us business, so be it.
How Do We Spread The Word
We use social media, email marketing and mailers to communicate our political stance to our customers. We think this leads to a greater brand affinity and yes, that drives sales. But the reason our politics are so fundamental to our brand is because without equality, diversity and freedom of speech, the makers we are lucky enough to work with simply wouldn’t be able to do what they do best. Securing a fairer world for the future will mean creativity flourishes and we are a design-led company.
Does it also make good business sense?
Through activism businesses can show that they care about the same things as their customers and this creates a more loyal following.
I think in times of political uncertainty, consumers are seeking a reason to believe in a brand and are far more likely to purchase from a company that upholds their belief system, especially if its a system they feel they are not actively upholding in other ways.
Why It Matters
The reason our politics are so fundamental to our brand is because without equality, diversity and freedom of speech, the makers we are lucky enough to work with simply wouldn’t be able to do what they do best.
Image Sources: Postcards Home
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