A Note from our Founder
As for many businesses, the growing BLM and Pull Up For Change movements have prompted long internal discussions on who we are, what we are doing, and is it enough? As a brand that believes in honesty and transparency, and is guided by our core values of Authenticity, Kindness, Happiness, and Adventure, we wanted to take time to talk to our community about diversity at Merry People.
At the company level, Merry People has grown to a culturally diverse team of five. I am half-Indian and grew up in regional Victoria as the only colored family in town. My business partner KJ is from Norway. Tim, our Operations Manager is from New Zealand. Emma, our Marketing Manager, is from Scotland. Katey, our Wholesale & Marketing Coordinator is from the US. Elgie, our Customer Service Lead lives in the Philippines. I love that our diverse backgrounds and experiences bring new mindsets and ideas to our office!
When I started Merry People and couldn’t afford to pay models my friends offered to help me (growing up in Country Victoria, most of my friends have white skin). With our busy working lives and some of my friends having kids, our Merry People shoots became a great way for us friends to stay connected. We all looked forward to our Merry getaways and over the years these trips became our normal method of creating marketing content. I love working with my friends because it is fun and feels authentic and now that my business has grown, I enjoy giving back and supporting them financially.
When the BLM movement started, I scrolled through our Instagram and felt a little embarrassed - the average customer looking at our content wouldn’t know that all our models are my friends! While using friends for models feels true to many of our values, as a POC I know it is not reflective of all our values.
Moreover, as a growing business, I realized that I have a role and responsibility in showing diversity in our content and actions. We are limited at the moment by COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, but would like to share some of our efforts:
- Influencer Marketing: This is not normally something we do, however in the US we have been unable to travel there to grow our business, so I wanted to try it as a marketing method in the US to help get our brand known. We started in April 2020 and are consciously looking for a diverse group of partners of all ethnicities, backgrounds, ages, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sizes.
- New Models: We are seeking out new models throughout our friendship groups and community. (Whilst still maintaining our existing models and doing our Merry getaways.) We had planned for some photoshoots with these new models, but those have been delayed with Victoria’s return to Stage 3 and 4 lockdowns. (For our US friends, our home state of Victoria is currently under some of the strictest lockdown rules in the world and we cannot leave home to take photos).
I hope this gives you some background into why our content is the way it is. Like many things in business, this truly is a journey and we look forward to growing our story with our entire Merry community.