Redbubble, at its core, is all about welcoming individuals and their unique and true selves. This is as true for our workplace experience as it is for the art and creativity that fills our marketplace, which provides a perceptive medium to communicate and express innovative thoughts and ideas.
Social good is part of the Group’s DNA. Our artists, fellow Bubblers and third-party fulfillers that participate in the marketplace are crucial to the delivery of our social mission and ultimately our success.
I am lucky enough to have been with Redbubble for nine years, and in my current role as Workplace Programs & Belonging Lead. Working with the Executive and People & Culture teams, it’s part of my job to ensure we are instilling our strategic diversity and inclusion goals into our everyday work life and culture.
Early in Redbubble’s journey into the world of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, it became apparent to us, especially as members of the eCommerce and tech communities, that we had a social responsibility to step up in regards to gender representation across all levels and functions of our business. While we have been successful in achieving strong representation of women within our leadership team, we know that identity extends beyond gender; it is fluid, complex and multifaceted, and there is more work to be done to achieve greater representation in our broader workforce, and among our partners and artists.
Amongst our many commitments to systemic change and action, listening and learning is a good place to start in our everyday working lives. Getting to know those we serve in our immediate sphere, like our talented artists and employees, is essential to building a better understanding of how racial diversity and equality means something different for us all.
This year, we invited an artist and a Bubbler to sit down with me virtually, to have a chat about our passions and family histories. This was a three-part series, one for each of our office locations in Melbourne, San Francisco and Berlin, and shared with our global business over the month of August. Each conversation has a unique perspective and history when it comes to race relations and community that deserves it’s rightful air time. We highlighted our similarities, but more importantly, our different heritages and experiences to understand how they have shaped us.
For our family in the US, it was no surprise to hear about the recent BLM (BlackLivesMatter) movement from artist Tequitia Andrews, and her experiences as a Black woman living in the heart of a country that has a complex past. Her use of art and design to process her reality and need for positive messaging and representation was truly inspiring. Tequitia shared “I found this article on how to reconnect with things (drawing) that you love… really help lift me out of a dark place mental health wise”. We were also lucky to hear from Bubbler and Art Director, Minhee, who relocated from South Korea and we discussed how recently in San Francisco the COVID outbreak had brought out negativity and aggression towards one group of people. It highlighted the sincere efforts Redbubble has made to foster a genuine sense of family within our workforce.
In Melbourne, we had the opportunity to explore the important role of intersectionality when speaking on race and ethnicity. Former founding employee, Troyene Evans (Luckyvegetable), and RB alumni, Ana Kresina, shared insightful stories of what it means to be of mixed race, as women and as a first time parent. We even had time to explore the power of art and its link to the fundamentals of diversity and inclusion.
As Troy so eloquently put it, “Art and creative pursuits…have always been about expansion of consciousness and acceptance, creating more acceptance. Diversity as a concept…should be something that happens automatically…we are celebrating everything that is interesting and different about each other, and not pandering to the fear that says, because you look different to me, because you sound different to me, I need to be afraid and on guard around you….Creative pursuits are often silent and wordless…it’s incredibly powerful in its ability to communicate to deeper levels of who we are…and bypass all that rubbish in our heads that tells us to be afraid…it’s not possible to be in an intensely creative sphere and hold onto those negative things.”
In our final episode, with our team in Berlin, Senior Director – Artist Community, Nat Tyler, Workplace Experience Coordinator, Liza Zucchino, and Esther Samuels-Davis discussed the important role people with privilege have in stopping and listening to those who are underrepresented. ‘Sometimes privileged people just need to hear from others who are just as privileged to identify and accept the truth, only then can we have honest conversations.’ We focused on the difficult conversations and development work needed to be done by those with privilege and power so they can be a contributing part of the conversation of change. This is more than allyship. It is easy to forget that we are all citizens of the world and have come from somewhere. Each person’s lived experiences are valid but until they are equally heard and represented and most importantly included we are not done yet.
In early 2021, we launched a new Group Diversity Policy, to restate, reinforce and raise the bar on our diversity objectives and commitments. We have more work to do and this is only the beginning. Over the next couple years we need to continue to set specific objectives on race and ethnicity whilst maintaining our commitment to broader change. That includes Indigenous and First Nations people from all over the globe and connecting with local organisations who contribute to bettering the communities we serve.
Featured image: Blue and Purple house designed and sold by Arden Taylor