· By Tarleton Walmsley
Edit: As of 1/15/21, Buncombe County now states the minimum living wage as $17.30 an hour. We'll keep working toward becoming Living Wage Certified. You can read more here.
Back in June of this past year, we shared with you across our platforms the initiatives that Danielle Adams of Hemp Equity NC had compiled and shared for us to use as a way to practice accountability in how we operate as white business owners in the hemp industry. For us, this list has become part of our standard operating procedure for maintaining a business that operates with equity as one of its pillars of values. As a result, Garden Party is committed to the following:
-Hiring individuals regardless of criminal record.
-Actively and continually sharing a portion of our profits to communities negatively affected by the war on drugs.
-Offer livable wages to our employees as we grow.
-Strive to work with vendors that abide by fair labor practices.
-At least 15% of the goods we sell will be procured from businesses owned by people of color.
For the sake of transparency, I wanted to provide an update of where we’re at in adhering to these goals.
Right now we still only have a staff of 3 which includes myself and Seth. Full disclosure: Seth and I do not currently pay ourselves a livable wage. However, we have been dedicated to offering this as much as we possibly can for our part-time managerial position. According to Just Econimcs, a living wage in Buncombe County is currently $15.50 an hour. We have been working to increase entry level wages and raised all starting hourly wages to $15 per hour. We don't yet qualify as Living Wage Certified but we are just shy of it and we're working toward certification in the future.
We’ve specifically worked to diversify our line of offerings and as of this writing, 18% of the lines we carry are owned by people of color. I’d love to keep working toward that percentage increasing in 2021 to at least 25%, if not more.
In addition to that, for the entire year of 2020, we have donated a total of $3,012 of our revenue to approximately 18 different individuals and non-profits. This number may not feel like a lot--but it ends up being approximately 2.25% of our revenue. We will continue to share a portion of our profits to communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs, as well as contribute to other mutual aid opportunities, and we are hoping to more than double that percentage to 5% in 2021. Another way we intend to keep ourselves accountable on this front is to continue our membership of the Floret Coalition, for which we donate $100 per month.
The Floret Coalition is an anti-racist collective of small businesses in the cannabis and cannabis-adjacent space supporting and funding equity-oriented actions via monthly donations and social campaigns. Together, we will raise funds and awareness for organizations prioritizing the needs of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Right now, members of the coalition are actively raising $10, 200 monthly.
In 2021 we’ll continue to double down on our efforts and try to reach new goals. What does that mean for you? Keep Garden Partying with us. Your support of this small business means so much to us, in all of the ways, but especially so as we navigate operating our business as equitably as possible. We’re incredibly grateful for your support, and look forward to what 2021 has in store.
Images by Ian Shiver for Garden Party.
Hiram Mason on