On Pixel Parlor’s tenth anniversary, we reflect on a decade of using business as a force for good and challenge our peers to join the movement
We will not trade our souls for profit. This was a promise our Partners Jenn Richey Nicholas and Andrew Nicholas made in the early days of the business a decade ago. Since then, we are proof that measuring success on a triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—is not only a possibility but a responsibility.
Yes, it requires boat lands of creativity, a strong stomach, and a willingness to approach barriers in unusual ways, but “business as usual” is killing us and destroying our planet. There has to be another way. People are looking at businesses and wondering who will rethink the role of business and work for the next century. It’s deeper than dollars and cents—it’s downright existential.
This is evident as headlines continue to declare “The Great Resignation” or its alternatives—“The Great Reshuffle,” “The Great Reprioritization,” or “The Great Renegotiation”—which leaves many businesses scrambling to understand the reality behind why 4.5 million workers quit their jobs and what this says about a decades-late cultural pushback against burnout, “boreout,” unrealistic demands, dwindling wages, or all of the above. (Apple even made a short film about it that also asks a great question: what’s with all the double paper bags at stores?)
The reasons and motivations beyond this labor phenomenon are numerous, complicated, and not crystal clear, and it’s not surprising that some people regret leaving their jobs in search of greener grass, but still…
This moment is an unignorable challenge and opportunity for business leaders to consider how workplaces can attract and retain a workforce demanding greater work-life balance, better wages and benefits, and meaningful work opportunities.
A 2021 YouGov poll of more than 9,000 working Americans revealed that 1 in 5 workers do not think they are making a meaningful contribution to the world. And apparently, the pervasive optimistic messaging, disingenuous “we are family” About Us pages, and questionable bonhomie on most corporate websites and job ads are not convincing a new generation of workers that it’s easy to find a job that pays their bills and offers a sense of purpose.
Businesses have to regain the trust of workers. This is why B Corp Certification is the gold standard for businesses who want to set themselves apart from “business as usual” to become leaders in a global movement to use business as a force for good in the world.
In 2013, our Partners (and wife and husband team) Jenn Richey Nicholas and Andrew Nicholas heard about B Corp Certification. They wondered if their vision to use their graphic design studio as an expression of their values of care for their community and the environment translated into existing practices that would meet the rigorous standard of B Corp Certification.
They did. That year they became a Certified B Corp.
They finally had a measurable way to demonstrate the ethical and sustainable ways they were running their business from the start.
Using the standards as a guide they continued to improve their impact, winning a Best for the World: Changemaker award from B Lab, the nonprofit organization that administers the certification, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, even as the requirements became more stringent each year.
Since 2012, we have grown from a start-up in their spare bedroom to a thriving woman-owned business in Fishtown. We continue to bet that being highly selective about the kind of organizations and businesses we work with creates a more meaningful environment for our team of employees who use their creative gifts to serve mission-focused clients.
“Pixel Parlor believes that providing a positive, ethical work environment, and positive ethical design products are fundamental to creating a successful business and enduring client relationships. By collaborating with clients who seek a better world, and better solutions, we are able to push the boundaries of what our team can accomplish. We seek impactful, strategic solutions that make our world a better place”
– Jenn Richey Nicholas, CEO & Partner
We are celebrating our tenth anniversary by releasing an interactive timeline on our website that tells the story of how we not only survived growth and a global pandemic but how we thrived without sacrificing our values in service of a conventional bottom line.
At this milestone, we challenge our industry peers to not only make commitments to improve their social, economic, and environmental impact but to truly walk the talk and seek B Corp Certification. For those that think it’s too rigorous, we believe that’s…exactly…the…point.
“As we rebuild, not only from a global pandemic but from years of practices and policies that prioritize profit over people, business owners can recognize their power to do well and good and support each other in a global movement that could one day claim Philadelphia as its exciting epicenter, ” says Richey Nicholas.
As businesses continue to crack the code of motivating the next generation of talent, it’s not enough to say the right thing. It’s time to do the right thing.
We’re trying our best and learning how to improve every day. This work is best shared. Get in touch.