This month's BBB workshop was hosted at The Hive Philly (an awesome women-centric coworking space in Old City) and featured OG B Corp veteran Angie Vendetti of Mugshots Coffeehouse. Not only did Angie grace our ears with the beautiful wisdom of ten years experience as a B Corp, but she brought along some delicious snacks from her renowned Fairmount Cafe (we're still dreaming of that Lancaster goat cheese).
Hosted in conjunction with SBN, the BBB Workshop allows business owners to connect and collaborate on how to best measure what matters. Owners, CEOs and employees learn how to build the best business possible - better for workers, better for our communities, better for the environment, and better for the bottom line. This months workshop was incredibly fun with businesses participating from a range of industries including event planning and wholesale food products. Here’s our top three takeaways from Angie Vendetti of Mugshots.
“It doesn’t have to cost more to make a change.”
Against popular opinion, becoming a mission-driven business doesn’t have to be more expensive. Rubicon Bakery, a B Corp located in Richmond, California, was struggling to keep its head above water in 2009. With no profit, they couldn’t find a buyer, especially with the condition that the new owner must keep the company’s mission to hire formerly homeless, incarcerated and drug-addicted employees. Andrew Stoloff took the dive and bought the business in late 2009. By 2010, he had increased the revenue by 400 percent and incidentally hired over 100 new employees. What changed? Rubicon Bakery became B Corp Certified.
As journalist Michelle Goodmand puts it: “Ultimately the bakery became a Certified B Corporation, a for-profit business dedicated to social and environmental issues. "That way, there was no arguing about what you can do or what you can't do," Stoloff says. With this third-party certification as a guide, Stoloff was free to rebuild the business as he saw fit, and Rubicon Programs didn't sweat the integrity of its long-standing pledge to its employees and community.”
While certification may seem daunting, Angie states, “if its only 29 extra dollars [to buy renewable energy], how can you not?” And as Andrew Stoloff and Rubicon Bakery proves, B Corp improves your profitability while ensuring your business maintains its mission. Mark Fisher, CEO of B Corp Inspire Commerce says, "Being a B Corp is not a marketing ploy," Fischer says. "It really is a different way of being in the world.
“Fair Food was there to help us with local growers.”
Make friends. Angie remembers how when she first started her B Corp process, she didn’t know how to source at least 15% of her resources locally. That’s where Fair Food came in. Fair Food is dedicated to bringing locally grown food to the marketplace and to promoting a humane, sustainable agriculture system for the Greater Philadelphia region. In addition to their farmstand at Reading Terminal Market, Fair Food also helps connect local businesses and retailers to area farms. With their help, Angie was able source almost 100% of her product locally, without the headache of finding each seller on her own.
“Prove to your consumers you’re making a difference.”
Good.Must.Grow, a marketing company (and B Corp) from Nashville, TN notes that 77% of consumers believe it's important for companies to be socially responsible. The rate at which consumers buy goods or services from a socially responsible company is on the rise and more shoppers are noting the importance of buying from these kinds of businesses.
But it's not just about garnering a spotless reputation and reputable customers, its about cultivating an environment of transparency and trust. It feels good. “It’s something we cared about and wanted from the very beginning,” says Angie. Business doesn’t have to be dog-eat-dog. You started this because it's your passion and you don’t have to let go of that in order to improve your bottom line. Leading an authentic business is possible.
(Source: Good Must Grow)
There's something to learn for every type, size, and stage of business who wants to do more to be better for their workers, their community, and their environment without harming their bottom line. Stay tuned for Fall dates for our next workshops! We hope to see you there!