I am really impressed with the writing of Marc Choyt of Reflective Images – you may be familiar with Marc as the voice of Fair Trade Jewelry – I recently stumbled across his blog from 2007 where he describes “The Circle Manifesto“.
In the article Choyt draws lessons learned during the rehab of his creekside property in New Mexico into his development of a strong business model.
Some of the important take aways for me:
“A circle-based business is rooted in relationships that are nurtured by fair and equitable exchange. Every person inside and outside of the business is viewed as equal in their humanity.”
“Upward and downward spirals are occurring at the same time. To a large degree, the healthier and more resilient you are, the more choices you have.”
“The greatest indicator of business success is repeat business which comes from customer satisfaction. The greatest indicator of customer satisfaction is how much your employee enjoys his or her job.”
“To survive, we need to have direction and goals for certain, but many of the failures in business are because these goals do not even come close to understanding the dynamics of what takes place, even in a small company.”
“In essence, to find a solution, I need my entire capacity as a human being. The criteria, for a circle-based business, is that the river moves on the basis of fair and equitable exchange. Business that acts outside of fair and equitable exchange with the economy, ecology and community are not circle-based.”
“We have been purchasing recycled gold and silver for our production, using “green” paper and switching to non-toxic chemicals in our work environment. For components that we imported heavily, we work primarily with an international manufacturer that works on a Fair Trade basis. Most recently, we implemented a program with an environmental organization to off-set our carbon use. We just do these things because they are the way we do business, given our values. We did not even consider the marketplace.
Now that we have a firm idea of who we are, we must adjust our marketing to go after the customer who sees value in what we are doing. We must target this community: the same group of people who shop for organics, support environmental sustainability and fuel the growth of yoga studios throughout the land. These are the cultural creatives, whose values are in sync with our business ethics.
A few people in the jewelry industry are standing behind fair trade and socially responsible business practices. Industry leaders have called it a‘huge opportunity’. Though it barely exists to mainstream jewelry, I am willing to step into this wave. It is who we are already and that must be reflected in our marketing approach.
The lesson for me here is that a circle-based business has to have an alignment between resources, production and marketing. Our approach is to put our ethos into the center of our brand image to draw additional support from the community who see the value of what we are doing.”
Have you made the effort to use “greener” chemicals and practices in your workshop?
In the last three years have you seen a change in the outlook of not just jewelry makers but in the retail jewelers?
I am putting together a list of info on this topic and would love to add your input!