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Our Pledge and Practices

2020, Q3 Update & Pledge

September 4th, 2020  
  
The Thistle and Spire team hopes to use this space to update you with our first installation of our all-team DEI meeting and training and all that follow. Back in June, we made you this pledge:
  
Inclusion has always been the keystone of our brand, however, there is so much more we can do to support this goal. We have internally reviewed how we can make racial equality a sustainable priority for our business while keeping in mind our limitations as a current team of five.
  
Here's what we're doing to to put change into action: 
  
* Quarterly, we will organize an all-hands meeting to discuss anti-racist initiatives and educate ourselves more about social, civil, and racial injustices. Based on what we learn, we will make a donation to an organization that represents justice initiatives in these areas and supports Black and Brown communities. Following this, we will share updates here and in an email to our subscribers. 
  
* While we don't consider ourselves fashion business experts, we would like to be a resource to small brands in the apparel and retail space or people who want to establish careers in fashion. Anyone who would like to ask us questions about how we have grown our business or how to break in the fashion industry can reach out to us directly at community@thistleandspire.com for insight into things that we have learned along the way. 
  
* While we have always worked to represent diversity in our feed, we know that there's so much more we can do. We will proactively work to increase the representation of people of color both on our team and in our feed while also ensuring fair and equitable compensation.
  
We know these are small steps forward but we want to share what we are working on to ensure transparency and accountability. We are committed to keeping this movement alive and making ongoing and consistent change to our business.
  
The combination of a pandemic, widespread momentum behind the BLM protests of racial injustices nationwide, and the President's attack on the LGBTQIA+ community and their rights has made it evident for us that we should be constantly aiming to do more for marginalized communities and that we need to make consistent education, initiatives, & conversation a priority for our team. These goals lead us to start a quarterly meeting series in which we can learn and reflect as a team on anti-racism and DEI. This July, we had our first meeting and while it was beneficial to our team, none of us have a background or training in this kind of work, so we believe there's a lot of potential for growth here. We used this meeting as an opportunity to analyze our business and reflect on how we can improve, as well as an opportunity to learn more about the experience and marginalization of sex workers. Their community has been hit especially hard during the pandemic as in-person erotic labor is difficult in times of social distancing and many don't qualify for unemployment. Additionally, many LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC members of this community find themselves further discriminated against and marginalized because of the intersections of their identity. As a sex positive lingerie company, we believe that consensual sex isn't the business of the legal system and that it's way past time for the decriminalization of sex work. Furthermore, the fight for equality is not finished until the most marginalized communities can live, love, and work free from fear of violence because of who they are or what they do for a living. As of now, our plan is for this educational focus to change to different topics each quarter, but we wanted to start with learning about the sex worker community because of our work with the Black Sex Worker Collective and their event Who's Allowed to Make Money: Workers in Solidarity. We hope to expand upon this meeting for October and include a virtual training and presentation with the help of an educator.
  
If you’re interested in BSWC, you can learn more about them and their event in this blog or their website. In sharing this event with you, we wanted to share why sex work needs to be treated as legitimate work and be decriminalized. In addition to sharing this information, we donated $2500 to their event and made a $1500 physical donation of lingerie, bodysuits, and loungewear.
   
Here are some other takeaways from our Q3 meeting:
    
    • Our team added their pronouns to email signatures to make those outside of our team more comfortable bringing up their own.
          
    • On a similar note, we updated different parts of our website to express more inclusive copy. It's in our brand's DNA to celebrate anyone who feels more confident or like their most authentic self in lingerie and we want to make sure our language prioritizes that messaging. If you see anything that could still use an update, just let us know at hello@thistleandspire.com!
        
    • We've recently decided to develop our online wholesale business further and are looking for BIPOC and Queer-owned businesses to partner with and promote to our audience. Products of the following nature will be considered: sex toys, sexual health, body care & wellness, candles, bath items, hosiery, pasties, body jewelry, etc. We are starting very small, but welcome applications for the future at hello@thistleandspire.com. It is our hope to add more accounts and styles every 3-6 months.  
As you may have noticed, speaking on more than just lingerie is very new to us. Just like anyone, we have made mistakes—and will continue to do so here and there—and we (will) learn from them. We make sure we listen. And we heard you loud and clear in response to our post about BSWC and the decriminalization of sex work. We feel incredibly empowered to continue to share with you the initiatives we’re working on and why we believe in them.
  
To give you some other highlights from this year:
  
  • Starting at the end of Q2, we decided to donate 5% of every purchase of the Brooklyn Haze collection to the ACLU to go towards their fight for a more just and equal nation. One of their criminal law reform focuses is marijuana arrests and ending the war on drugs. In Q2, we raised $2,871.24. Our Q3 total is already past that, thanks to you!
  • From April 13th to May 13th, we pledged to donate 10% of sales from our Manhattan Collection to those who needed it the most in New York City. With your help, we raised $1,732 for the NYC Mayor's Fund campaign, COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. We had planned to donate to two of the Mayor’s Fund campaigns but one had closed before we were able to make our donation. 
Thank you for taking this journey with us and if you have any organizations you'd love to see us work with or feedback for us, please email us at hello@thistleandspire.com. Stay tuned as this page gets updated and a bit of a makeover in the coming months.
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