Eileen Fisher’s vision is for an industry where human rights and sustainability are not the effect of a particular initiative, but the cause of a business well run. Where social and environmental injustices are not unfortunate outcomes, but reasons to do things differently.
“Changing the world, one garment at a time.”
Business as a movement
Eileen Fisher: “I like the idea that a company can be successful as a business and also as an agent of positive change. That’s “business as a movement.” For me, it’s a daily effort to keep moving in the right direction.
We do make big decisions, and you would think with my name on the door that I’d be the one choosing to focus on the environment, or on women and girls. But actually, it doesn’t always happen like that. It’s usually that people in the company become passionate about something, and it starts to move and to build based on a number of smaller decisions.
Everyone needs to understand that the little choices they make matter. Our salespeople can make a customer feel a little more confident to walk out into the world, because they’ve found her the right garment, or maybe they’ve simply taken the time to connect with her. We have impact in all the ways we touch people. How long will the styles last? Are the fabrics sustainable? Does it cost too much? Will it sell? It’s this constant balance between making things work for the business, the customer and the environment.
It’s about how we work with our suppliers. We have to agree on a price that works for us, but we also need to understand their costs because we want them to be able to pay their people fairly and get them the programs they need. It’s all the little ways we see ourselves as a community, as part of a larger whole, and knowing that our decisions do matter.”