The notion of generational permanence was one that shaped the early days of Plyroom. Like many of us, I grew up with grandparents who looked after pieces of furniture, mended clothes and grew their own food. These childhood learnings, as well as experience living in Italy and meeting the early collaborators of Plyroom cemented my desire to create a business that not only made good but did good, continuing this notion that items don’t need to be replaced, rather cared for, repurposed, designed for life’s changes.
For years I cut my teeth and burnt the candle at both ends in big businesses, where profit and growth surmounted all else. No matter how substantial the bottom-line figure, it was never enough.
From the earliest days of Plyroom I renounced the pressure for year-on-year exponential growth and instead made a commitment to remain deliberately small. Sure, we still work towards KPI’s, but first and foremost we prioritise metrics like wellbeing, work-life balance, doing good, being kind and making people happy. Big business may baulk at this sentiment but adhering to these values makes for a more productive, safe and supportive environment for our staff and - by effect – our customers
In a famous stump speech at the University of Kansas in March 1968, a few months before he was shot, then-presidential candidate Robert Kennedy laid bare the dangers of using Gross Domestic Product to measure success.
GDP, he said, “measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
Fifty years on and much of society is still obsessed with this metric as the key indicator of economic success. Big business fosters a ‘bigger is better’ culture where higher growth and productivity trumps the wellbeing of their staff, customers and environment at large.
As a small business, we are bestowed with the freedom to forge our own path and change the narrative in our own way. We embrace the triple bottom line, with our impact on people and the environment considered as integral as the profits we make. We do this through intentional design, the use of sustainable materials and waste minimisation strategies. We prioritise local suppliers and small-scale, likeminded craftspeople in our supply chain.
We recently learnt that only 3% of total philanthropy goes to the environment. Looking for an opportunity to grow sustainability efforts further, we’ve chosen to participate in the creation of a healthier economy and planet for all by becoming a member of 1% for the Planet.
1% for the Planet aims to drive true on-the-ground change within their six core issue areas: climate, food, land, pollution, water and wildlife. Through our membership of 1% for the planet, we will donate 1% of our gross revenue (not just profit) directly to highly vetted environmental non-profit organisations to ensure our donations make the most impact possible.
In a world full of greenwashing, we felt it was important for to formalise our commitment to the environment in this way to demonstrate our integrity and resolve. We look forward to introducing you to our non-profit organisations soon.
You can read more about our Sustainability journey here.