To our dearest customers and community,
We are committed to spending our dollars in line with our values. We understand how important it is that we continue to remain transparent, honest and take ownership of decisions we have made in the past; but, more importantly, how we choose to move forward going into the future.
We've spent the last few weeks evaluating all of our vendor relationships as it relates to our various recent public statements about our company values (which can be found here and here.) As such, we will no longer be working with the company Uline, which has been our shipping supply vendor. We purchase our shipping boxes, tape and warehouse pallet jacks from them. They are a company that produces a wide array of office, warehouse and operational fixtures and supplies for businesses of all types. Due to their sheer size and volume, they have the ability to be incredibly competitive in terms of cost and lead time to receive supplies. MANY businesses, large and small, use them - from businesses like ours, to local restaurants, to multi-million dollar businesses.
This price competitiveness comes at a tradeoff, however. We were recently made aware of the sheer amount of investment (we are talking massive) the owners of Uline (Richard and Liz Uihlein privately own Uline) have made into lobbying for policies that, quite frankly, do not align with our employees or our company values.
In the 2020 election cycle, Uline's owners have already contributed more than $31 million in support of super PACs and political candidates who specifically oppose important social issues that matter to us and our company values, including:
Women's health rights
Black Lives Matter
Gun control and safety
Healthcare for all
Since 2016, however, the total contribution towards these causes listed above is upwards of $100 million. This information is accessible through fec.gov (where you can see political contributions) and their belief system is made known by Liz Uihlein publicly, on a regular basis, on their company newsletters that are printed in their catalogs. (A sincere thank you to @alicemaydu for her labor in pulling together this information, with clear explicit citations from reputable sources for this information.)
Though Liz Uihlein's statements and opinions are made public, we take ownership of not previously doing the diligence on our part to actually read the company catalogs and the website beyond seeking the materials we needed to purchase in the past. In other words, we went to them to purchase shipping supplies when we first started Society Nine because of price accessibility, without ever referencing the company newsletter in which her values are displayed and articulated. That is our fault. However, we are owning this mistake and focused on doing better moving forward.
Moving forward, we will no longer be purchasing from them. In our warehouse, we currently have shipping supplies left over from our last purchase, prior to us being made aware of the depth of their misalignment with our company's values. We will be consuming those supplies since they've already been purchased. Once they are fully consumed, we will no longer be purchasing and utilizing any more products from them.
Through our vendor analysis and research, we realized that this information isn't news to some people, but has only been brought to light more publicly as of late and getting amplified through social media and the press. We apologize we did not do our diligence to identify this sooner. Again, that is our fault and we're committed to doing better in the future in scrutinizing our vendors.
When we stated that we are committed to doing the work to end systemic racism, and not funding or supporting businesses or groups that don't align with our company values in general, we meant it. That also means confronting oversight and mistakes we have made. We're still committed to writing a new future with you and in doing so, making sure on a regular basis we're checking the backgrounds of every vendor we work with.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to listen, learn, receive feedback and support you. Thanks for being a part of our community. 💗