Recently I was asked to discuss ethics at Monave. It took some time for me to really codify what that looks like. Here’s what I came up with:
I see business ethics as three-fold:
- How we treat our employees
- How we treat the planet
- How we treat our customers
How we treat our employees is reflected in the products themselves. I believe that the energy put into our products is transferred to the person receiving them, and also affects the quality of the product in subtle ways. I do not wish an unhappy or unfair work environment on anyone that works at Monave. When people are crafting natural products, they are handling ingredients that have passed through a long chain of hands, and which originated from the Earth itself. They are crafting products whose purpose it is to nourish and beautify, so having a comfortable, positive work environment, and mental approach is very important to the energetic quality of the finished product.
I offer very liberal leave policies for employees that are in school, or have children. I am so proud when staffers further their educations to improve their future lives for their families. Children are sacred at Monave. If a child is sick, a parent needs to be with them, so we offer ample opportunities for employees to catch up on missed work time, and take paid personal days when needed. Everyone is cross-trained at work so that one person’s absence won’t severely impact orders being processed.
I also make it very clear to our customers that we will absolutely accommodate rush shipments on occasion, but that we prefer customers order without the Amazon model in mind. Many of our products are made to order for freshness, and since we place a high value on the health of our employees and their families, we appreciate the forethought and patience that our loyal customers exhibit.
I personally refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, or purchase Apple products, because of the history of abuse these companies have toward those who make their products.
How we treat the planet comes down to choices: The choice to not use dyes, typically processed from coal production, which is incredibly detrimental to our environment. The choice to use whole, organic plant ingredients. The choice to test all ingredients for lead, instead of trusting suppliers half way across the globe. The choice to eschew the inclusion of animal ingredients as they are linked to the horrible abuses and terror farm animals face in the U.S. The choice to recycle our materials at work, and to use paper products and gift-wrapping made in the U.S. that contains the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content available, and to use glass packaging, as well as source plastics without pthalates.
I love the name of the brand, ” Seventh Generation “. We were put on this beautiful planet as guardians, not destroyers, and if each one of us begins a conscious journey to amend our lifestyles to lower the impact of rampant consumerism, our children’s children’s children one day might have a better world to live in.
How we treat our customers determines whether we’ll stay in business, and how well we will do, from many perspectives. Customers are the backbone of any business. When a woman calls our store, angry, because she feels she has waited too long for her products, or for a phone call back, the first thing I remind myself of, and teach my employees, is that she is angry because she loves Monave products, and can’t find a suitable replacement anywhere. That is very telling.
To avoid these types of frustrations whenever possible, we have full disclosure about our process, our wait times, and our limitations. When someone doesn’t understand how our process works, we take the time to explain it to them. There are times when we simply have to disappoint someone, but we try very hard to make sure that those occasions are few and far between.
We respect the challenges that our mature customers face. Some many not be comfortable ordering off of the internet, so we accommodate them by taking orders over the phone. Some may not know how to apply mineral makeup well, so we have lots of tutorials that are easy to access from a computer. We listen when someone tells us that something about the way that we do business makes it difficult for them.
We have customers with extreme sensitivities. For some of them, their sensitivities are fatal, such as with celiacs. I’m a celiac, and I watched my mother go from a healthy, happy, thriving woman, to a skeleton over the space of a year. The helplessness we felt watching this happen, and the deep mistrust of the medical establishment, that refused to acknowledge her disease, stays with me. I understand what it means to have to develop trust. All of us at Monave are willing, and take the time to answer all kinds of questions. Sometimes I spend an hour to two talking about ingredients, health, research and whatever my customer needs until she begins to trust. I don’t expect trust, I know that I have to earn it, and that even then, it is tenuous.
When something goes awry, I insist that whoever is responsible apologizes. There is no hiding behind a corporate chain, each one of us at Monave is fallible, and one of the standards I have set is to be responsible for our own mistakes. To be willing to openly admit a mistake, make whatever amends can diminish the impact on the customer, and move on, lesson learned, is a standard at Monave. I am the first one to say, ” I forgot “, or ” I screwed up “, or ” I’m sorry “. When we don’t apologize is when we are within the bounds of how our company operates. Then our message to our customers is, ” We are sorry that this situation is uncomfortable for you, let’s talk it over, and work to improve things for you “.
In general, the ethics at Monave are to be very conscious of the choices and the claims that we are making, and to abide by our mission to provide healthy, high-performance products in an environment of eduction and transparency. I hate to say that we are fighting Goliath, but in essence, each woman that comes through our doors may be losing her life, little by little, to dangerous products, so we hope that our contribution can save lives, as well as improve the quality of women’s lives, the world over.