What does it mean to Pura Utz to make a formalised contract for our team?
Last year we embarked on a major adventure (not the fun kind, haha), but a journey towards becoming a B Corp certified business. Since Bernabela and I co-founded Pura Utz in her house in 2019, we have gone through lots of changes and development - from the physical form of building two floors and establishing a formal workshop on the top of her house and to carrying out large productions for new amazing retailers such as Selfridges, Samaritaine and Luisaviaroma. This is the visible part! The non-visible is everything we do every day to succeed with our goal of providing a dignified salary and safe work space for the women (and now two guys) in our team so they can prosper both financially and self-confidently. How do you measure this?
Internally we have to make sure that in order to succeed with our clients on the promise of quality, materials and delivery times, our operations has to work tip top when it comes to production lead times, inventory, material sourcing (biggest headache), shipping, customs and equity. This really crashes with the emotional part of what we are doing!
Operations does not rime with connection and emotional value, but it is an inseparable and essential part of succeeding with our promise of fulltime income and dignified salaries for our team. So putting ourselves through the meat chopping machine of formalising our work in Codes of Conduct, Codes of Ethics, work contracts and so forth seems to be "the real" way to show our surroundings that we are doing what we say we are doing. In the process I have found myself pondering many times about how these operational tools sometimes seems to be developed for companies to suspend responsibility with their production sites (I have now written what I want, you sign it and it's not my responsibility anymore-kind of thing). It seemed silly sometimes, to be completely honest, to write out formalised sentences, when everything in Pura Utz is right next to you. It’s just us, the people in our team and the everyday work we carry out - the manual labour of producing handmade pieces, but also the emotions and spirit we want to aspire in our team by being together, working so closely and offering transparency all the way through.
But nonetheless we did all the formalisation! And we did this in close collaboration with Tanja Gotthardsen who is a warm and super ambitious woman that sets the industry standards mega high and accepts no industry bs. We are so proud and happy to have invited her into our little Familia :) with our hearts and information open to her.
We chopped Bernabelas wage setting method through an industry approved tool for Time Motion Studies and showed that her unique knowledge about her country and wages were correct and well above - pretty cool! This, combined with a more qualitative interview with our team has been turned into our very first Impact Report. We made two Codes of Conduct, a Code of Ethics and also work contracts for the entire team that were developed by a local lawyer from a Human Rights organisation. And when the time came to sign the first one with Julía, it was all smiles and laughs because it can feel strange to sign something that has been like this always - but now, for the sake of formalisation, we have it on paper. But I will say, the most important thing is that we actually carry it out right? And treat each other well and with dignity.
We have submitted our formal application - hopefully we can update you by the end of the year that we made it through the loop of B Corp ☘️
Thank you for reading this far ;)
By co-founder, Anna Andrés