At AERA, we made a conscious decision to work solely with Italian materials suppliers and factories. Our decision was based on several factors: using materials sourced from Italy minimizes the transportation distance to the factories, and thus the transportation impacts on the environment. Italy is also a center of excellence in shoe manufacturing, and has been for centuries. Furthermore, we believe in supporting small, family-owned businesses; in a world of fast fashion and low-cost manufacturing, we want to support true artisans that focus on the quality of their products and the livelihood of their employees. We have ensured that the people working for our two factory partners and materials manufacturer not only make living wages, but are treated as family.
We believe that our success relies first and foremost on people. We consciously choose to work only with companies that embody our values, ensuring that everyone in our supply chain earns a living wage and works in a safe, healthy environment.
These principles are embedded in the articles of incorporation of our Public Benefit Corporation, and has earned us a “Pending B-Corporation” certification from B Lab. As a startup, we are not eligible to become a Certified B-Corp until we complete a full year of operations; however, we are actively working to earn full certification over the coming months. A B Corp is “a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good.”—in other words, exactly what we are trying to accomplish with AERA. For more information about B-Corps please see here.
For our employees, we will create a profit-sharing scheme, so that everyone on the team becomes a partner in our company and shares in the success of our venture. As we continue to grow, we are committed to building a team and culture that values people above all else. Ultimately, we are building a company where employees feel valued and good about the work they’re doing, guided by a sense of purpose and clear mission.