We are in the process of investigating the materials we currently rely on. We are looking into the individual minerals that make up each clay body we use in the studio, and each component we purchase to mix glaze to make sure that each is not only non-toxic, but is also not mined in ways that are exploitative to the earth or those that are doing the mining. We understand that this is a long and involved process, because information on each individual material is not readily available, but we are committed to doing the work, being transparent with what we find, and implementing necessary changes towards sustainable materials if need be.
As a studio, we have committed to purchasing our studio supplies and equipment from small, local family-owned businesses whenever possible, and to end previous reliance on Uline, Amazon, and Home Depot, all of which donate billions of dollars to conservative agendas and intentionally out-compete smaller businesses. We have compiled a spreadsheet of alternative ways to source boxes, packing materials, crates, studio equipment and tools. If you are based in NYC and are looking for alternatives, we are happy to share our resources.
We are only interested in collaborating with designers, artists, publications, and platforms who take their voice and their influence seriously and use it not only as a means to speak about their own work, but to uplift the voices and work of those in less privileged positions and to question inequitable and oppressive systems. Before we are a business, we are a collective of individual humans living in relation to each other, the earth, and the systems we have set up or were set up for us. We commit to never putting the exposure of our work before our commitments to equity and sustainability, and to always having conversations that may seem uncomfortable now so that, in time, these conversations and accountability between potential partners and collaborators is normalized and integral to businesses and creative practices of all sizes.
As we re-commit to existing retail partnerships, and begin conversations with new interest, we are having conversations with our stockists about bipoc and non-binary representation and inclusivity across the designers they represent, the employees they support, and if relevant, the models they hire. This feels like an especially important conversation when considering signing on with larger platforms who have larger influence, capital, and ability to provide opportunities. In light of the Movement for Black Lives, we are encouraging our retail partners to commit to the 15% Pledge, and offering specific recommendations of black artists and designers that would compliment and elevate the existing curation and vision of each retailer. Signing on to work with larger retailers was a pivotal moment for us and allowed SBT, when she was working on her own, to commit to creative work full time, move into private studio space, and hire and support a growing team. Our hope that by passing these suggestions along to our retail partners, that we are able to assist in this kind of growth for emerging designers of color in some small way.