12 Feb Diversity & Inclusion at Stitchcraft Marketing
As some of you are aware, there is an ongoing discussion in the crafting community surrounding racism and a lack of inclusion of Black and Indigenous People/Persons of Color (BIPOC). This past week, Stitchcraft Marketing, through one of our clients, was involved in a difficult and complex discussion about this on social media. We wanted our readers to know about how we handled this incident.
Specifically, last week we posted a giveaway on social media for a client. A follower commented on that post bringing the issues of racism and lack of inclusion to the conversation. We then made the decision to end the conversation by blocking the person who commented, which removed her comment from the discussion. We were concerned that an unmoderated discussion on such a heated topic could escalate and reflect negatively on our client. Additionally, the 12 hour time delay with this client meant that if we allowed their account to be used as a platform for a political discussion and the discourse degraded, we’d be flying solo without client input.
We realize now that blocking the comment was a social media management error. In fact, it seemed to prove the point the BIPOC crafter was trying to make, that comments from crafters of color were not welcome. Our action was knee-jerk out of concern for our client and did not reflect our core values or the values of the client and we regret the act was perceived as racially motivated. We apologize to everyone in the community and have separately apologized to the individual we blocked.
Stitchcraft Marketing and our employees value all crafters in the community. We are committed to creating a safe space for all individuals regardless of age, ability, gender identity, national origin, race/color, religion, sexual orientation or size. We embrace diversity and inclusion because we know they lead to a more vibrant, dynamic industry of creative professionals and makers. We will continually strive to represent these values in the work we do for our clients because we know that only by working together we can all succeed.
In light of the recent situation, we have been working internally and redoubling our efforts to ensure that all members of the crafting community are included and valued in the work we do. We are examining the following areas of our agency:
Stitchcraft Marketing maintains a robust network of social media influencers and reviewers for our clients to work with in promoting their products. We are committed to expanding this network to include more diverse voices in the community. If you or someone you know is interested in working with us in this capacity, please contact us. We also will be reaching out personally to makers of color to offer them these opportunities.
Stitchcraft Marketing works with a variety of dyers and publications to produce pattern collections. We have developed an extensive network of designers to whom we distribute requests for proposals on behalf of these clients. While our designer network already includes BIPOC designers, we are committed to adding more makers of color to this community. If you or someone you know is interested in working with us in this capacity, please contact us. We also will be reaching out personally to makers of color to offer them these opportunities.
Business of Craft Podcast
Stitchcraft Marketing produces a podcast, Business of Craft on the 1st and 15th of every month. Prior to the recent events, we had already scheduled an interview with Sara Taylor of deepSEE Consulting to discuss how crafty business can be more effective and inclusive. This interview is scheduled to take place mid-March, and will air shortly thereafter.
If you’d like to hear more BIPOC voices in the craft community, we’d direct you to these episodes:
Episode 52: Rohit Bhargava on marketing on a small budget (scheduled for March 1, 2019).
Currently, we are working to make our clients aware of the ongoing discussion in the crafting community surrounding diversity and inclusion. We hope that, as a result of our actions this week, we can provide them with advice on how to approach (and how not to approach) the ongoing discourse.
There is a vast library of information on what is commonly referred to as ‘crisis communications’ and how to manage complex discussions on social media. We recommend Jay Baer’s work on the subject.
Diversity Training & Education
Since last week, our team has been in near-constant discussion of how we can improve our social media management work as an agency to better serve our clients and the entire crafting community. To that end we are listening and learning, as well as reviewing our own best practices on how to better navigate controversial discourse on social media. Lastly, we have consulted other experts in these areas and putting their advice into practice to better serve our clientele. We regret that our action last week was inappropriate and insensitive to both our client and the entire crafting community, and are committed to never repeating it again.
If you are a company in the crafting space and would like to discuss your role in the current landscape or you are seeking contacts/ coaches/ consultants with regard to this topic please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.
With Humility, Leanne Pressly
CEO, Stitchcraft Marketing