A closer look at Baukjen in B Corp month

March is B Corp month, a time for us to speak of what it means to be a certified business for good and how we are collectively changing the world. It’s an extra special time for us to be celebrating the B Corp movement – because it also one year since we received our certification!

B Corp differs from other certifications because it takes a holistic view on business, ensuring that B Corp companies prioritise the welfare of people and the planet. This certification is very rigorous, so that its logo truly stands for business for good.

Don’t just take our word for it – read on to discover what is behind our brand and B Corp certification.

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Behind the B Campaign

It’s become increasingly common for people to distrust businesses. Who knows what’s really going on behind closed doors? Especially in an industry that is opaque and relies heavily on marketing. At House of Baukjen, we think consumers have every right to question whether they can trust fashion brands.

This month, B Lab (the fantastic team behind the B Corp certification) is challenging all certified companies to open up the doors to their business and give you insight into what’s actually going on. Here, at Baukjen we are committed to being responsible and therefore welcome this opportunity. We will place the focus on communications and turn the spotlight to all the areas we might not often talk about.

This initiative is all about transparency and building trust – so send us all your curious. We would love to provide you with a better understanding wherever you may need it.

We’re here, we’re listening, and we’re ready to give you a full tour of House of Baukjen!

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Meet Our Team

Like most companies, we rely on an awesome group of people, who day in and out make everything you see happen. We’re currently 53 people, with 42 women and 11 men in our business.

We run our own warehouse, as opposed to working with a third-party for order fulfillment. This allows us to have better control over what we send you, so that each garment can be checked and beautifully packed, whilst also allowing us to run our own Rental and Pre-Loved schemes! Very few companies take on this work as it is labour intensive, from the sorting of garments to the washing, although we believe it is the best way to ensure a good quality and eco-friendly process. Curious? Read more about our Rental and Pre-Loved schemes.

What's it like to work at a B Corp

Being a B Corp means our promise to be better for people, communities and the planet is locked in, regardless of other changes in the business. But what does that mean in terms of everyday work for our team?

As a certified B Corp, our impact is assessed in the areas of Governance, the Environment, Workers, Community and Customers. Below we write a little bit about our work for each topic, including who is responsible for what in our business. We hope this is interesting insight for our customers and can be of use for fellow businesses who are also looking to become B Corps.

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Governance

The Governance Impact Area evaluates a company's overall mission, engagement around its social and environmental impact, ethics, and transparency. This section also evaluates the ability of a company to protect their mission and formally consider stakeholders in decision making through their corporate structure or corporate governing documents.

Our founders and board of directors are mainly responsible for this area of impact, with a duty to both consider and involve other people from our team and value chain in their decision making. We’re proud to have a standout score in Governance, being in the top 5% of all B Corps in 2021 in this impact area!

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Environment

The Environment Impact Area evaluates a company's overall environmental management practices as well as its impact on the air, climate, water, land, and biodiversity. This includes the direct impact of a company's operations and, when applicable, its’ supply chain and distribution channels. This section also recognizes companies with environmentally innovative production processes and those that sell products or services that have a positive environmental impact.

At House of Baukjen, caring for the environment permeates every aspect of our work, but three teams stand out as being most involved in this area of impact: Sustainability Team, Design Team, and Production Team. Our Sustainability Team calculates and manages our environmental footprint in all areas of business, including the footprint of manufacturing our products; they also help inform decisions that impact the company’s footprint and strategy. Our Design Team plays a key role in lowering the footprint of our garments, as they determine which materials and designs are used in our products. The Production Team are the people working most closely with our suppliers and as such play a key role in engaging our partners to lower the environmental footprint at manufacturing and logistic stages.

As they say, it takes a village! Day in and day out, we balance the various aspects of our job roles with our mission to be as kind to People and Planet as possible. Progress can sometimes be slow but our desire to change the fashion industry brings us together, and each target we achieve gives us further encouragement.

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Workers

The Workers Impact Area evaluates a company's contributions to its employees' financial security, health and safety, wellness, career development, as well as overall engagement and satisfaction. In addition, this section recognizes business models designed to benefit workers, such as companies that are at least 40% owned by non-executive employees and those that have workforce development programs to support individuals with barriers to employment.

Our founders, the Human Resources team and Head of Operations are the main responsible people for workers’ wellbeing at House of Baukjen. We are a Living Wage Employer, though everyone in our business is paid above the Living Wage – including all of our Warehouse Team, which are located in an underserved area of Luton. Additionally, our business has a third-party Employee Assistance program available to all employees which is run in a completely confidential manner so that each person can confidently receive help and advice whenever they need it.

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Community

The Community Impact Area evaluates a company's engagement with and impact on the communities in which it operates, hires, and sources from. Topics include diversity, equity, and inclusion; economic impact; civic engagement; charitable giving; and supply chain management.

As a fashion house, a fair amount of our impact occurs in our supply chain and the wider community that we operate in. Management of Community Impact falls mostly to our CEO and Production Team, whilst research and some admin work related to managing our social impact is done by the Sustainability and Public Relations teams. We evaluate all of our direct suppliers before working with them, including factory visits as often as possible, to ensure quality of the working conditions for workers and the good management of the factories (read more about Our Factories). All of our factories also sign our strict Code of Conduct .

A lot of our employees from different teams are also involved in the philanthropy work that House of Baukjen does each year, every employee is entitled to one paid day of work a year to dedicate to charity.

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Customers

The final Impact Area of the B Corp assessment is Customers, which evaluates a company's stewardship of its customers through the quality of its products and services, ethical marketing, data privacy and security, and feedback channels. In addition, this section recognizes products or services that are designed to address a particular social problem for or through its customers. This involves, health or educational products, arts, and media products, serving underserved customers or clients, and services that improve the social impact of other businesses or organizations.

The care we put into all aspects of our work and to provide a great service and high-quality products to our customers is led by our co-founder Baukjen de Swaan Arons, who often refers to her desire to create clothes that make women feel good as a reason to start the business. Every detail of our customers’ experience has been considered to the greatest possible extent, from the design and quality of garments to the care put into our website and to the design of our plastic-free packaging. The Design, Production, Merchandising, and Art teams all work in synchrony to achieve this. Meanwhile, our Marketing, Public Relations and Sustainability teams are jointly responsible for the accuracy of all our marketing and external communications, ensuring that our claims are ethical and do not misrepresent our impact on People and Planet.

Our customers really are at the centre of the work we do and as such every team member works towards offering you the best product and service – but we think our Customer Service Team deserves a special shout out, as they are the primary point of contact for our customers. They always go above and beyond to not only reply to each query but also provide as much information and help as possible, delighting people in the process!

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how our business operates as a B Corp and we are constantly working to further improve. Throughout the month of March, we’ll be sharing further insights into our business on our social media platforms (find us on Instagram and Facebook) and on our Email Newsletter (subscribe here).

If you have any questions or would like to send us feedback, do reach out as we always love hearing from you!

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