2022 Impact Report

A Letter from Ryan & Nadira

One of the greatest milestones in our business was earning our B Corp certification in 2017. B Corps are certified for meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance. Today there are more than 3,000 B Corps in the US and over 40 in the Triangle. Fantastique! We are so proud to be a part of this growing movement of businesses making a triple bottom line world a reality.

As a B Corp we report to our stakeholders—that’s you!  We’re obligated, and excited, to share our 2021 impact report with you as part of our B Corp certification. Thanks to our Operations Director, Megan, V&V was re-certified as a B Corp last year, after an extensive process.  We are so grateful to Megan, for her tireless work on this. She started our recertification in early 2020, but had to pause it due to COVID. Merci infiniment Megan for seeing it through!

Care is at the heart of Vert & Vogue. It’s our #1 value. To be a B Corp means caring for our team, community, and the planet. Please read on to see where this commitment to care took us in 2021—the challenges we faced, what we learned, and where we are headed.

Our Mission

To inspire personal expression in our customers, create a positive impact in our community and support the transition to a sustainable fashion industry. We achieve this by applying the highest level of intentionality and care to all that we do.

Our Collection

B Corp Standard

2021 Actuals

50

of the entire collection made in North America + Europe

54.95%

of the entire collection made in North America + Europe

50

of apparel collection made of 100% natural fiber textiles (materials that break down at the end of their life).

39.44%

of apparel collection made of 100% natural fiber textiles (materials that break down at the end of their life).

Growth Goal

2021 Actuals

1%

of apparel collection made of certified organic fiber textiles.

4.47%

of apparel collection made of certified organic fiber textiles.

New Goal

2021 Actuals

50%

of apparel collection made up of Woman-Owned Brands

45.49%

of apparel collection made up of Woman-Owned Brands

 

Successes

We’re thrilled to report that over 4% of our collection was made of certified organic fiber textiles in 2021. Why is 4% worth celebrating? Jumping from a meager 1% previously in this category to 4% last year means the amount of certified organic textiles available in the market has grown significantly. It shows our small scale designers have more organics to choose from and the industry is finally investing in organics. Alléluia! Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically intensive crops, requiring 60+ million pounds of pesticides each year. Now organic textiles are poised to take off, just like organic produce, solar and wind energy after their start up phases.

Despite closures and setbacks for many indy fashion brands last year, our partners endured. Even better, they were able to produce over 54% of our goods in North America and Europe, eclipsing our goal in this category by +4%! Why does this matter? The US, Canada and the EU have environmental regulations and oversight, and producing in these locales creates a much smaller carbon footprint than doing so in Asia. 

Challenges

We’re committed to have 50% of our apparel collection made of 100% natural fiber textiles. Why? Blended apparel, made of natural and synthetic fibers, doesn’t degrade and it can’t be recycled. It’s a monstrous hybrid! We want your clothes to break down at the end of their lifecycle, not off-gas in a landfill. But it’s incredibly hard to find apparel that isn’t made up of 1% or more synthetics. And we don’t count textiles billed as ‘green’ or ‘natural’ like tencel which require intensive chemical processes to produce. So after hitting our goal in this category consecutively the past several years, we fell short in 2021. But we’ve got a plan to get back to our 50% standard in ‘22!


On the Horizon

Did you know that at New York Fashion Week in 2021, only 32% of the women’s clothing brands had women at the helm? This number should be much higher, oui? It’s all about awareness—that’s why we’re setting a new goal to have a minimum of 50% of our collection made up of Woman-Owned Brands. In 2021, 45.49% of the brands in our collection were Woman-Owned. We are ready to meet and beat that goal in the coming years. 

The spring collection showcases some of our most beloved Woman-Owned Brands like Apiece Apart, No. 6, and Tibi. I'm especially excited for our selection from Apiece Apart which features a majority of organic cotton styles.

Katie, Associate Buyer

Our Community & Team

B Corp Standard

2021 Actuals

Meet or beat our annual donations YOY to our community partners

2530

to UMD

Offer health insurance to all full-time employees

We’re rewriting the retail working experience. Read on for more of the benefits we are able to offer our team thanks to your support

Growth Goal

2021 Actuals

Rotate our team volunteer each month, totaling 50 hours or more of on-the-clock volunteering throughout the year.

Volunteering was put on pause due to the pandemic. 

New Goal

Each team member gets 24 hours of “on the clock” volunteer hours with the charity of their choice

 

Successes

The retail industry is notorious for grinding workers with low hourly pay, zero healthcare or retirement benefits, inconsistent and erratic schedules, and no paid time off. We’re challenging that experience. Here’s how:

  • We are Living Wage Certified and our starting hourly wage for part-time employees is 22% higher than the local living wage rate. 
  • 70% of our employees are salaried and work a 4 day work week with one flex day.
  • Salaried employees are offered health insurance with optional vision and dental.
  • Any employee earning at least $5,000/year is eligible to enroll in a fully vested IRA plan with company match.
  • We retained all of our salaried employees and their benefits including health insurance throughout COVID
  • Our part-time employees are provided a consistent and reliable schedule. 
  • Salaried employees receive a minimum of 2 weeks PTO per year that grows the longer they are with V&V, up to 5 weeks per year!
  • Salaried employees are offered 3 months of maternity leave with the first 4 weeks paid.
  • Established employees are offered disability insurance, as well as a no-interest payroll advance for peace of mind if a personal emergency arises.
  • We make mentoring, coaching, and professional development available to all our employees.


When you shop with Vert & Vogue, you make these benefits possible for each of our team members. You are essential in helping us rewrite the retail worker’s experience. Merci!

In spite of our sales being down 44% in 2020 and 20% in 2021, we were proud to be able to donate over $2000 to Urban Ministries of Durham helping provide shelter and a future to our neighbors in need. Our team gathered goods to fill their food pantry for Thanksgiving too. Last year, UMD sheltered over 500 men, women and children, served over 200,000 meals, and ended homelessness for 125 people. This is vital work especially during the pandemic.  

Challenges

Our volunteering efforts were put on pause during the pandemic. 


On the Horizon

In 2022, our team members may volunteer 3 days, or 24 hours, “on the clock” with an organization of their choice. This flexibility gives everyone the opportunity to support a cause close to their hearts at a time that works best for them. The organization must be an accredited “501c3.” Très bien!

I appreciate that Vert & Vogue values my overall health and well-being, at the root of our experience is kindness and consideration. Retail is an easily overwhelming, and underpaying environment and it’s a relief that the culture here doesn’t support overworking yourself, and pays equitably. Our scheduling is accommodating and consistent and the stability that ensures is incredibly helpful.

 

Johanna, SALES ASSOCIATE

Our Planet 

B Corp Standard

2021 Actuals

100

Offset of the power for store and office space via wind power credits from Arcadia Power.

100

Offset of the power for store and office space via wind power credits from Arcadia Power.

Growth Goal

2021 Actuals

40

of shipping materials purchased from companies that produce recycled, made in USA packaging.

78

of our shipping materials were purchased from companies that produce recycled, made in USA packaging

New Goal

Cut our shipping plastics by 50%

 

Successes

78% of shipping materials purchased from companies that produce recycled, made in USA packaging. We exceeded our goal by over 30%. YOUPI!

Durham county is unable to recycle plastic bags and film, so we send it all to a recycling center.  We are very excited to see some of our suppliers switching to compostable or cotton based interior bags when they ship to our store.

100% of our shop and office energy is offset with wind credits from Arcadia. These credits are also known as renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs are the legal instruments used in the energy market to account for renewable electricity. They support the transition to clean energy by increasing its demand in the energy market. They also provide access to clean energy sources in areas that don’t yet produce their own. Learn more about Arcadia here.

Un détail amusant (fun fact): Homeowners and renters can use Arcadia to join the clean energy revolution too! 

Challenges

Despite our best efforts, plastic still creeps in. Interior liners from our suppliers and even the poly bags we use to protect our goods in transit remain a factor. We’re excited to see some of our suppliers switching to compostable or cotton based interior bags.

On the Horizon

We want to reduce our plastic shipping needs by 50% in 2022. In order to do that, we are testing a new curbside recyclable interior bag for our own shipments. 

Consumer education and operational demand can create tangible, positive impact on reducing plastic in the product life cycle. Seeing less single-use plastic packaging as a consumer—and learning why—influences our buying choices. Which in turn reinforces business operational decisions. Many businesses are now demanding sustainable, accessible fulfillment materials.

 

Megan, Operations Director

Call to action

While we are thrilled to gain our recertification status in 2021, there are still many opportunities for growth. In the coming year we are committed more than ever to our mission, our B Corp standards, and hope to make some of our growth goals into new standards.

We believe in and support the transition to a more sustainable fashion industry. There is a desire for “sustainable” and “ethical” fashion, but with a rise in “greenwashing”, it can be hard to cut through the noise and feel confident in your purchases. You, as the consumer, have more power than you know. When you choose a B Corp you play a key role in steering the fashion industry in the right direction. Together we can create lasting, transformative change. One small step at a time adds up!