Giving Back7 Min.
The 2017 Boston Design Market was exceptional. More interesting speakers, fun events and thoughtful discussions than ever before, and we are thrilled to have been part of it. In case you weren’t able to attend the keynote panel discussion Giving Back, where our panel talked about how ensuring the growth of our business also means the growth of our footprint on others and how we can make that impact a positive one. Each panellist gave a short introduction where they categorized the way they give back into three distinct areas, environment, community and artisanship. Below is Olivia’s introduction and the JF story of Giving Back.
As a small and highly custom business, we see each manufacturing and business decision as an opportunity to create a positive impact on the people and spaces around us. Rather than asking the question – what can we do to help the environment – we look at our practices and ask – Who does this impact? How can we make this better?
We work with wood – so we make sure all our materials are sustainably sourced, reclaimed wherever possible and maintain the highest possible environmental standards.
We paint and finish all our work – so we use only water-based finishes, so there’s no off-gassing for our finish team or in our client’s homes.
In our shop we create a lot of sawdust (a LOT) – so we donate this to a local farm for animal bedding.
It’s the practicalities of our business that inform our sustainability choices.
I think it’s really important to engage in the community in a way that is authentic and meaningful – Matt, Mike and I are avid cyclists and we bring that passion to our community in the Jewett Farms sponsored youth cycling teams. JF provides coaching, jerseys and race entries for our growing team of 12-18yr old mountain bikers. We sponsor the junior field in a 45 mile Vermont spring classic gravel race and started a junior development gravel grinder team. This kind of support is beyond brand recognition – it’s putting our time and our money into something we truly believe is important and will positively impact other people.
Our community is our support system and the people who helped us grow so it’s important to us to return that support. Another way in which we do this is through our Offcuts Initiative where we take materials that are left over and would be wasted and create new products with them – hardwood cutting boards, soapstone whisky stones. We sell these products and return the profits to a local charity that raises money for Cystic fibrosis, Team Trevor.
I feel as though most of the ways that we “give back” are tied to one another, our Offcuts Initiative, while being something that impacts our community and our environment, is also tied to artisanship in our shop. Our craftsmen are given the opportunity to take these materials and get creative – we have some beautiful, one of a kind, hand shaped serving boards in our showroom right now that were made through this outlet.
But it’s actually our overarching building process that gives back the most to artisanship. We choose to build our cabinets in a way that fully utilizes human skill. We don’t have assembly lines or guys whose job it is to do one thing and one thing only – we are not a factory. We believe that building great cabinetry is based in craftsmanship. Our cabinetmakers tend to stay with us for a very long time because their skills are valued and utilized. Artisanship is the basis of what we do and who we are.