June 2020 to January 2021
A note from our founders:
To our Maisonette family,
We live together in one world, where it is vital for us to support everyone in our communities, to demand racial and social justice, and to stand up for equity in all forms.
In honor of Black History Month, we take this moment to stand again with those openly, vocally, and fearlessly fighting racism across this country. Systems of white privilege and injustice have enabled centuries of human rights crises among our POC communities -- violence so abhorrently illustrated by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other innocent members of the Black community. We believe Black lives matter. And we understand that it is simply not enough to not be a racist. We must be actively anti-racist, and we must teach our children by example.
The same is true for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is multi-faceted, spanning race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, abilities, socioeconomic status, and religion, among many other identities. We believe our employees and community have to create a culture of equity and opportunities of empowerment for all people; we've outlined our initial steps in our first-ever Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report, below.
It is our most fervent hope that through our collective action, we can make the world a better place for our families today, and generations to come.
-- Sylvana + Luisana, Co-founders, Maisonette
This first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Report begins what will be a regular, biannual report on Maisonette’s progress to deliver measurable results on our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this inaugural report, we include all progress since June 1, 2020. Our work has just begun, and we are committed to transparency on our journey. We will be publishing these reports to our website, where our community can continue to hold us accountable and provide feedback. Our commitment to DEI is the right thing to do, and it is good business.
A New Company Value
We added a specific and distinct DEI value to our company values:
We value the beauty and power of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are individually and collectively committed to identifying and dismantling harmful biases. We are empowered to hold ourselves and others accountable as we build and enact systems in pursuit of anti-racist, anti-discriminatory practices and culture.
We were purposeful in our word choice:
- Beauty: deeper than mere acceptance; we welcome and celebrate any and all forms of identity;
- Power: we can dramatically impact the success of our business and uplift our greater community;
- Harmful biases: biases that hurt someone, disrespect someone's humanity, and/or reinforce systems of oppression;
- Accountable: we expand our comfort zones as active allies; we are not complicit bystanders;
- Systems: substantive, measurable, foundational—systems are the policies, processes, norms, and culture we use to effect an impact;
- Pursuit: our cause is a journey, not a destination;
- Anti-racist and anti-discriminatory: simultaneously explicit and all-encompassing norms.
We believe in the power of families. Take care of yourself and the people you love.
Be transformational, not just transactional. Bring joy and surprise-and-delight into every day.
Try things and take risks. Learn from wins and loses and don’t be afraid to pivot.
Respect and Conviction
Healthy debate and honest conversations make us stronger. Engage respectfully and commit to a path forward.
Be the Solution
Run towards problems and solve them. Be an owner; raise your hand when nobody else will.
Make a Mark
Think about the imprint we want to leave as a company and let that inform every decision you make. Leave a positive impact on those around you. Embody the change you want to see.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder last June, we rolled out a Black Lives Matter donation match. The program matched employee donations up to $5,000 and community donations up to $5,000 to organizations fighting for racial justice. Our community donated $5,114, our employees donated $5,349, and our company matched $10,463, creating a total donation of $20,926.
The list of organizations that received donations is below:
- Anti-Recidivism Coalition
- Atlanta Solidarity Fund
- Bail Fund for Protestors
- Black Leaders Organizing For Communities Action
- Black Lives Matter Global Network
- Black Mamas Bail Out
- Black Visions Collective
- Black Voters Matter Fund
- Black Women's Blueprint
- Campaign Zero
- Chicago Community Bond Fund
- Coalition of Communities Of Color
- Color of Change Columbus Freedom Fund
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Families Belong Together
- First Friends of NY & NJ
- Innocent Project
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Know Your Rights Camp
- LDF LoveLand Foundation
- MN Healing Justice Network & Spiral Collective
- NAACP CT Chapter
- NAACP Empowerment Programs
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- NAACP NJ National Bail Network
- North Star Fund
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Reclaim The Block
- Split The Bail Fund
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
- The Bail Project
- The Bronx Defenders
- The Conscious Kid
- The Hidden Genius Project
- The Innocence Project
Grassroots and Executive Structure
In June 2020, we created a DEI Committee to harness the grassroots enthusiasm for DEI at Maisonette. The DEI Committee has 20 active members (27% of employees) and meets monthly. There are also three subcommittees that meet weekly and focus on specific areas of our business: Internal Culture & Policy, Creative & Content, and Vendor & Marketplace.
In order to provide clear executive support and accountability, we created a Maisonette DEI Executive Sponsor role that is currently held by Kyle Rush, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). The responsibilities of this new role are:
- Serve as an effective executive advocate of building a best-in-class, diverse, and inclusive company
- Ensure that the company has a transparent DEI plan that includes near-term (quarterly) and long-term (years) roadmaps and an annual budget
- Own audits, gap analysis, and transparent reporting for both internal and external progress on DEI
- Hold the company accountable to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce
- Ensure the company is constantly making progress towards providing a safe and equitable work environment for all employees
- Ensure the company is constantly making progress to create a diverse and inclusive external community
- Serve as a safe space and go-to resource for employees on the subject of DEI
We successfully conducted a search for a DEI consultant to help address our DEI knowledge gaps and provide expert guidance. The consultant will not own DEI at Maisonette, and instead will empower us to own the work. To do this, the consultant will help us design goals, conduct a gap assessment for these goals, and build a long-term roadmap.
We researched and evaluated 26 potential consultants against this criteria. We are thrilled to have hired Kalyn Wilson of Dream Forward Consulting for a 6-month engagement that began in December 2020. In this first phase of the partnership, Kayln has started executive coaching (2 hours of one-on-one coaching) and an Employee DEI Assessment (anonymous survey and follow up focus groups). The results of this Assessment will be shared in our next update.
We have committed to specific racial diversity targets for our employee base. These targets reflect the racial demographics of the United States of America—the country in which we operate. Our goals are based on the latest US Census data:
- 18% Latino
- 13% Black
- 6% Asian
- 3% Middle East and North African
- 1% Native American
- 1% Pacific Islander
In the future we will reevaluate these goals and the data on which they are based. Next steps include establishing the current baseline with an employee survey, committing to a timeframe, and outlining specific actions to achieve these targets.
Even before we rolled out the structured commitment above, we made progress last year increasing diversity among our employee base, with the help of a consultant specializing in diverse hiring practices. Since June 2020, we have hired 28 new employees, of which 36% are POC. Included in those hires is Maisonette’s first Black executive, Victoria Kasumu, our new Chief People Officer.
Other Internal Changes
We made Juneteenth an annual observed company holiday and changed the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day for internal calendars and external communications.
We also started a DEI Mixed Media club to help our employees further their education on the topic. The club reviews racial justice books, films, articles, podcasts, and other media, and meets weekly for discussion.
Creative & Content
One of our most public-facing steps last year was to increase the racial diversity in our imagery. Since June, we’ve shot 44 editorial campaigns, 82% of which featured at least 50% children of color. Across our marketing channels in Q4:
- over 65% of the children we featured in email were POC
- over 75% of the time our homepage featured 50% or greater POC
- over 50% of the children we featured in our social media were POC
- over 50% of the children we featured in paid advertising were POC
We worked with over 15% POC influencers in Q4, and our current influencer gifting list includes 36% POC.
We are working to codify specific goals and evaluate solutions to diversify our imagery, content and perspective beyond race. Our hope is that every child - and every family - can see themselves represented at Maisonette.
Vendors & Marketplace
We are committed to diversity in our marketplace, which means supporting POC-owned businesses, with a specific focus on Black-owned businesses, as well as featuring products that celebrate diversity. This quarter we will launch a survey to gather information on how our vendors self-identify. This will help us understand the diversity of our site today, and enable us to map out a strategy to further diversify the businesses on our site. We are prioritizing the onboarding of brands that feature diversity in their products, and seeking out new vendors that celebrate diversity through dolls, games, and books.
If you are a Black or POC-owned business and are interested in working with Maisonette, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are proud of the progress we made during our first 6 months of this commitment. At the same time, we recognize there are many steps ahead to achieve our goals.
For our next report covering February to July 2021, we expect to share the results of our DEI consultant engagement (assessment results, long-term roadmap), as well as additional progress in our three current focus areas: Internal Culture & Policy, Creative & Content, and Vendor & Marketplace.
We greatly value feedback from the community on our DEI efforts. If you'd like to share feedback with us on this report, or anything else, please contact our Customer Care team. Contact details are in the footer of our site.
Report compiled by Kyle Rush (Chief Technology Officer & DEI Executive Sponsor) in collaboration with our full team.