Oolie’s 2022 Benefit ReportMarch 2023
What is a benefit company?
Oolie Inc is registered with the state of Oregon as a benefit company. That means we structure our business activities to create positive social and environmental changes for all. Benefit companies must benefit the public at large, not just the business itself.
What is a benefit report?
As a benefit company, we are required to publish an annual report, documenting our business activities and impacts from the prior year. In this year’s report — our second! — we reflect on what we accomplished in 2022.
Oolie’s 2022 Benefit Report
Oolie Inc was established in 2021, so 2022 was our first full calendar year of life. 😊
B Corp Update
It’s appropriate that we’re sharing our annual benefit report this month, because March is B Corp Month!
In last year’s benefit report, we talked about how we adopted the B Corporation third-party certification standard. (We are big on third-party certifications, if you haven’t noticed!) As of today, Oolie still has pending B Corp status.
To become a certified B Corp, you must successfully complete a B Impact Assessment, a rigorous process of auditing company impact across five areas:
Throughout 2022, we were in the “evaluation stage” of the assessment process, so we were busy documenting our business activities’ impact.
Last month, we progressed to the “verification stage,” which means we’ve successfully demonstrated that we satisfied the criteria for B Corp status. (Hooray!) We will complete the verification stage by demonstrating that these claims are all true. (They are; we promise.)
We look forward to completing the verification stage and joining the ranks of fully certified B Corps very soon!
Oolie’s mission is:
To improve quality of life for families through comfortable, functional, and beautiful bedding solutions that are socially and ecologically responsible by design.
In 2022, we adopted a new Code of Ethics in support of our mission:
- Concern for Self: We cultivate awareness of our unique work style, areas of expertise and areas of growth. We advocate for our best interests in order to work and perform optimally.
- Concern for Colleagues: We show respect, curiosity, and engagement with colleagues. This includes supporting the unique workplace and work style needs of colleagues, as well as demonstrating cultural humility in our workplace. Collaboration is prized over competition.
- Concern for Consumers: We consider the end user experience of our products, taking into account aesthetics, usability, safety, utility, and comfort.
- Concern for Stakeholders: We consider our supply chain and support the rights and humane treatment of all who are involved in bringing our product to market. We make decisions about sourcing accordingly.
- Concern for Planet: We consider the impact of our corporate actions and decisions on the planet.
- Concern for Growth: We engage in ongoing assessment and reflection to improve and strengthen our actions in accordance to numbers 1-5.
To this last point, we believe in applying a growth mindset to our business.
As part of our remote-first hiring policy, we increased our base hourly rates for contractors in response to increases in cost of living. We have committed to base rates that exceed the living wage, as indexed in the Living Wage Calculator by Amy K. Glasmeier and published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
When evaluating and interviewing potential independent contractors, we strongly encourage applicants who are also raising children, and we accommodate caregivers’ unique needs in our working arrangements.
We continue to cultivate relationships with Fair Trade-certified manufacturers and suppliers. The Fair Trade certification ensures we can trust that our partners’ employees are:
- paid a living wage
- working in safe conditions
- treated with respect and dignity
In essence, Fair Trade means that the vendor’s employees are not being exploited and, thus, Oolie is neither benefiting from nor tacitly endorsing any such exploitation.
In 2022, we declined to pursue relationships with multiple potential vendors who made sustainability claims but could not provide third-party certifications or other documentation of Fair Trade and organic practices.
Oolie continues to be 100% woman-founded and woman-owned. (And we still plan on applying for WBENC Certification at some point.)
We love to collaborate with local, woman-owned businesses — especially Portland Garment Factory. We wrote about our collaboration with PGF to develop our first product, the Shoosh door silencer and safety bumper.
When evaluating new potential vendors, we prioritize companies located nearby, especially in our same bioregion. For example, we are currently evaluating two different potential partnerships with other GOTS-certified operations, both also based in the Pacific Northwest. Only if local partnerships are not feasible will we consider vendors from further afield.
Long-term, our intent is to have as much of Oolie’s raw materials sourced as locally as possible, as well as to move any manufacturing operations closer to home, here in the Pacific Northwest.
We hope to make a substantial investment in reinvigoration of the bast fiber industry. In 2022, we started reaching out to Fibershed, a fantastic nonprofit developing regional fiber systems, as well as individual farmers here in the Willamette Valley. We (and they) don’t yet have the infrastructure in place to produce our fibers locally, but it’s important for us to start cultivating those relationships now, so we can be ready to collaborate — five or ten years from now.
Sustainability — both ecological and relational — requires long-term thinking, and we are building this business for the long term.
On November 7, 2022, we received our first third-party organic certification, for our cotton products! We wrote about our process of earning GOTS certification and how the Global Organic Textile Standard is the most stringent certification for organic textile products.
We encourage you to verify our GOTS certification on global-standard.org, where you can find our Scope Certificate, the official documentation of our certification process.
Recent inflation — especially in the price of organic cotton and shipping costs — has challenged our commitments to many of the practices we value, such as living wages and the use of organic materials (and third-party organic certification).
However, even in the face of rising costs, our values don’t change. This is a journey we are choosing to pursue because we believe in its importance and benefit to the world. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to our mission and benefit company structure — even in the face of an uncertain path ahead.
Thank you for reviewing our second annual benefit report. We hope you’ll sign up for our newsletter below and join us on this journey!
- 2022: Oolie’s First Year
- Oolie’s 2021 Benefit Report
- Oolie’s Collaboration with Portland Garment Factory (with a discussion of growth mindset for business)
Illustration by Nora Murray