To our Friends, Family and Loyal Customers,
Most of you likely come to this platform to shop, but we hope that, while we have you here, we can use this opportunity to speak with you about a few things first. We must speak up against a society that has far too long denied and dishonored Black people, and we must enact change that lasts. True solidarity requires action from all of us, so we hope you'll join us.
Shortly after I started this company, we identified and established our core values, one of which is called "Continuous Improvement." This highlights the idea that we can become better versions of ourselves every day and that there is always room for improvement in all we do. I believed this then and still do. I have very much been thinking about this section of our beliefs during this time and taking stock of how we can do better as a company.
Our team is deeply committed to the idea that love, togetherness, and community are truly the most fashionable things. We believe firmly that all forms of racism, inequality, hatred, discrimination, and violence are abhorrent. Over the last few weeks, we have met extensively to discuss how we can be a concrete, tangible, and continuous part of change going forward, in ways that keep us in check and highly engaged. There is no world or scenario in which we cannot all be better, more educated, more accountable, or more action-oriented.
In addition to our fashion endeavors over the years, we have also spoken most openly about the importance of education. While change may not be single-handedly brought about by education, it amplifies with efforts at the individual and institutional levels. Subsidizing school programming for underfunded schools and creating scholarships for underrepresented students have constituted the focus of our previous efforts. Proliferating educational opportunities for those societally underserved through our platforms is key, and we have made a commitment to ourselves and, most importantly, to our community to take those ideas further as we grow. If you plant seeds, trees will grow. Where trees grow, ecosystems develop.
Today we are establishing a one-year fashion design residency program in our atelier for Black aspiring fashion designers. Additionally, our design, sales, production, publicity, and marketing teams will serve as mentors to the resident designer during the one-year residency program, providing business advice and guidance, and leveraging their networks to support the resident designer's nascent business. We will be spending the upcoming months and subsequent years exploring how we can expand this yearly program. See below to read more about the residency program.
Additionally, we are establishing two recurring yearly scholarships for BIPOC fashion students who have demonstrable financial need through two organizations we have established relationships with: the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) and the Texas Cultural Trust (TCT). We are committing 10% of net proceeds on our website indefinitely to fund our FSF scholarship. We will continue working adamantly with our brand partners to donate to the respective not-for-profit organizations. See below to read more about the scholarships.
Internally, we are dedicated to increasing representation across all departments, from leadership to internships. Our interns play an important role in our small business and are the first individuals we have prioritized for almost all of our recent hires. As a result, 20% of the current Brandon Maxwell team were hired through the educational program. Through many conversations, we believe that this is a crucial area where we can be extremely proactive. We will be connecting with career service centers at universities with more varied demographics to broaden our pool of applicants and our team. We will also be working closely with the Fashion Scholarship Fund to raise awareness of the program. If you would like to submit your resume, please apply at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe small brands like us must take not only a full inventory of our inadequacies and stock in our actions but also implement plans to make the future of this industry the place we know it can and should be. The time for this particular change is long overdue and must be addressed now. I urge you to get uncomfortable, to look within, and to be the change within your community.