Company values or culture are usually topics touted by larger corporations, but even in a micro-business like Phoenix Handcraft, we share certain values that create a company culture.
Our number one value, priority, and mission is to create work that is environmentally sustainable.
- We use inherently durable materials. Steel, glass, ceramic, and even wood are long-lasting materials that degrade slowly if at all. When they do break down, the by-products are not toxic to the environment. In addition, did you know steel is the world's most recycled material?
- We design and create work that is made to last for generations, not end up in a landfill after a few months or years of use.
- We source our materials from local Richmond and American small, independent companies wherever possible.
- We strive to minimize material waste in the production of our work.
- We use non-toxic, low VOC finishes and adhesives in all our work. We dispose of any chemicals used responsibly.
- We use recycled/ reclaimed and biodegradable materials in our retail packaging and shipping.
- We're enrolled with Dominion Green Power, which offsets our energy use through renewable energy certificates.
Creating connection and community is another important part of the work we do as a small business.
- We work with local groups such as RVA Makers and Richmond Craft Mafia to support their missions in a variety of ways.
- Collaborations with local artist and maker friends like Join or Die Knives and Christina Boy Design are a fun way to get out of our comfort zone and create something brand new.
- We create one-of-a-kind custom fixtures that enhance the public spaces of local businesses such as Shagbark Restaurant and Vasen Brewing Company to .
- We create events that showcase independent handmade businesses for the public by collaborating with local businesses like La Diff and Crossroads Art Center.
- We bring our work out into the public and talk with people face to face at local art shows such as the 43rd Street Festival of the Arts and the Carytown Artisan Market.
- We host events in our studio so we can invite people into our space to see how we work.
- We spotlight the companies we work with and events we attend on our blog using the Local Love category and the community tag.
We started our business not long before the Occupy Wall Street movement began. Around the same time, friends & family began requesting items that would fit a leaner budget. We realized that though we tend to make high-end work, we don't want to serve only the wealthiest 1 or 2% of American citizens. With that in mind, we developed smaller, more personal items that we can sell at a manageable price.
For us, being authentic means we are reliable, responsive, and accountable. We do what we say we're going to do. We keep the lines of communication open. If we mess up, we admit it and make amends. It also means we speak our truth about who we are outside of the business. The lines become very blurry between "family" and "business" when you own a small family business!
It might go without saying coming from a business built around art, but we are passionate about what we do! We love the act of creating our work, we love owning a small business, and we love being part of the local artist and maker community in Richmond. Most of all, we are absolutely passionate about creating a well-made, beautiful item that fits our customer's needs exquisitely.
These five values account for our greatest priorities in our lives and work over the last seven years. But there's more, of course. Other companies' core values inspire us and resonate with who we are and how we operate. These include "Do more with less" (Zappos), "courage and love" (Whole Foods) and "You can make money without doing evil" (Google).
And there are other values we aspire to incorporate more fully into our work such as equality, diversity, and lifting up those who've been denied opportunity. Just as a person continues to grow and evolve throughout their life, so does a business. And we have many years ahead of us to grow our list of core values!
Special thanks to our friend Erin McRoberts of Awl Snap for inspiring this post with her own blog post about responsibility practices in her business.