The Parlor

Our Impact Report 2021-2022

Tracking Our Good Business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Be a great design team for the greater good.

Our mission statement guides everything we do. It’s not a feel-good consideration or marketing tactic. It’s not a “bonus” when we have a surplus—it’s the driving force of our work to create positive change in Philadelphia and beyond…even when times get tough.

We’re a proudly independent, woman-owned business and Certified B Corp and we are honored to have worked with so many inspiring purpose-driven clients. We’ve shaped brands, launched websites, crafted designs, and brought to life experiential design concepts for legacy art organizations, global nonprofits, film companies, local businesses, and more. For all of our clients, we harness the power of design thinking to unleash creativity to solve problems and build a deeper resonance between changemakers and their audiences. As artists, we uncover new ways to approach challenges. We bring this mindset not only to our work with clients but to our studio, our city, and our responsibilities as civic participators on this wonderful planet we call home.

We are humbled when we look back at the last two years…

…global pandemic, economic instability, social unrest, existential climate threats, huge shifts in work culture, and general concern about human well-being. But at the same time, these challenges have sharpened us and underscored our commitment to being part of a movement to use business as a force for good in the world.

It’s exactly times like these that galvanize our work to rethink business as usual, to actively be part of a global experiment to demonstrate the role business plays in addressing the world’s most pressing issues.

We’ve reached a lot of our goals

And to be totally transparent, we’ve missed some, too. But that’s the point of being part of a movement. It’s a process. We are learning and have no qualms about being candid regarding where we need to improve.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was more open about their growth opportunities?

Some days, the process is thrilling like riding a swell and some days, it requires courage to face the churning waves head-on. During this season, we are living in the tension of facing struggles AND creating new ways to rise above.

As this movement builds momentum, we are excited there are big companies waving the flag, but for small, independent businesses, we know firsthand it’s not for the faint of heart. But that’s also exactly why we keep hopping back on the surfboard. And there is still so much to celebrate.

In this post, we will share some of our impact highlights and key performance indicators and compare our progress from the last four years.

This year we are proud that we…

  1. Worked with sustainability consultant Vicki Beecher to help us implement sustainable practices at home and at work
  2. Brought Bennett Compost to our building to help divert food waste from landfills
  3. Engaged with Rabbit Recycling in our studio to help offset the awful state of recycling in Philadelphia
  4. Worked with Bridges 2030 to help us improve our impact using our B Corp recertification as our guide
  5. Were awarded the TTF Watershed Corporate Stewards Award

The data in the graphs below represent some of what we provided for our B Corp recertification process but that process is a deep, detailed, and difficult-by-design look into every nook and cranny of our business and represents more than what we track here. Besides, we’d be here all day if we did.

Here are some notes about definitions and how and why we track these key performance indicators:

Why do we track diversity and inclusion?

We track the diversity of our vendors, clients, and our team members with the intention of fostering a workplace of diverse thought, mutual respect, and innovation. Design is human work built on cooperation with real-world impact on culture. We are building a community of trusted friends and colleagues that work together and play together while encouraging communication and empathy and broadening our perspective and skill base. Diverse collaborative teams bring a variety of perspectives to the table, pushing individuals to think beyond their biases and participate in multi-dimensional problem-solving resulting in informed solutions and innovation.

A synergistic work environment becomes the norm when employees work in teams of varied work styles, and abilities, and who represent different cultures or generations. Although an ideal atmosphere may be difficult (or impossible) to achieve and maintain, employees nevertheless recognize the many strengths and talents that diversity brings to the workplace and gain respect for their colleagues’ performance.

We would like to mention that the design industry has an enormous diversity issue. It’s unfortunate but entirely true. The diversity issues within our industry have racist roots, as well as a perception that design is an impractical luxury rather than an essential industry rooted in communication and expression.

Lots of folks don’t think that design is even a viable career path giving our industry a bad reputation and scaring off folks of varying cultural backgrounds from even considering a job path in the industry. The diversity issues of our industry play out in the tiny microcosm of our studio. If you check in on our team roster from time to time you will see a spectrum of color, religion, and background come and go, change and evolve. It’s never the same for long, but we do want folks to know that even when we look like a mostly homogeneously presenting studio, our diversity runs beyond perceived skin tone. For job seekers, even if there is a time that you don’t see someone in our studio that looks like you, know that you are welcome and encouraged to join us on our journey.

What is our definition of diversity?

Any identity trait that isn’t cis-gendered, straight, white male. (Don’t worry guys, we really do love you.) We also include folks who identify with religions that have experienced historic discrimination within a domestic or global context.

Because the cis-gendered, white male archetype is the benchmark upon which our country and workforce have been designed, we are looking to invite folks into the mix who don’t fit that mold. American businesses tend to be modeled around Christian-based religions and don’t make space for those of other religions in their worship practices, holidays, and perspectives. We don’t always know a collaborator’s religion, but those we do are included in our metrics. We think this is especially important because antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the US in 2021 according to an audit by the Anti-Defamation League

Why local?

We love Philly because it has a vibrant local culture! Supporting local, independent, purpose-driven businesses helps build culture, add to our local economy, and improve our communities.

In 2017 and 2018, we defined local as any business within a 100-mile radius of our home office in Philadelphia. For 2019-2022, we refined this definition to 50 miles.

Why give back?

Donating to and volunteering with local organizations allows our team to reinvest in the initiatives that are close to our hearts and to see the smiles on the faces of our friends and neighbors. When we clean up a local waterway, plant flowers, or serve a meal to a neighbor in need, we are building stronger bonds. It is easier to see the direct impact of our efforts when we keep it local, especially in Philadelphia—still the most impoverished large city in America. Our city and its people need a helping hand, and we are proud to get involved.

In 2022, we announced a Corporate Giving Pledge. It’s an annual giving goal to donate 5% of revenue to support mission-aligned not-for-profits and purpose-driven businesses and amplify their impact.

We do this through charitable donations, volunteering, providing pro-bono services, sponsoring organizations that we align with, and through our Brand Grant program which provides pro-bono design services to organizations and purpose-driven businesses making a positive impact in our community.

What’s next?

We will continue showing up to work to improve our impact. When you work with us as a client or vendor, you are invited into this movement to use business as a force for good. And when you team up with us as a business peer, we support each other and rewrite the rules of business so we can leave the planet better than we found it.

Related Posts

How to Understand Your Audience For a Website Project

Simplify Website Management with the Right CMS For You