A conversation with the CEO of Wolf & Badger George Graham
We sat down with George to discuss sustainability, B Corps, and the ethical clothing conundrum.
We’ve long been fans of Wolf & Badger—the platform for independent, ethical clothing and lifestyle brands. Their commitment to sustainability and ethical business practice is inspiring, and that’s reflected in their B Corp status.
As part of B Corp month, we’ve teamed up with Wolf & Badger to give away the ultimate self-care package, worth over £400, including a vegan friendly yoga rug mat from Holistic Silk
We also spoke to Wolf & Badger CEO and co-founder, George Graham, about their journey to this point, where next for the company, and the origins of that name.
Tell us about Wolf & Badger and how you're tackling the ethical clothing conundrum? What is your mission?
Wolf & Badger provides an effortless way to find sustainably and ethically produced jewellery, fashion, accessories, homeware, and beauty from across the world, without compromising on quality or style.
Our mission is to build a community of ethical brands and conscious consumers who positively impact the world together. We want to ensure that the future of retail is a responsible one, where independent designers are incentivised to manufacture and source sustainably, and where customers can shop without compromise.
Where did the idea to launch Wolf & Badger come from?
We founded Wolf & Badger in 2010 to provide smaller brands the opportunity to compete with more established fashion industry players, and to create a more exciting, interesting and responsible retail experience. What started as a small collective of brands in Notting Hill has evolved over the years to become the global marketplace we are today—connecting brands from all over the world with customers looking for unique items.
How do the brands you stock pass the Wolf & Badger seal of approval?
We have a baseline Code of Ethics that all of our brands formally agree to before being able to join our platform. This includes things like fair wages, being fur-free, and several other principles that we feel are important in making retail fair for all.
But that is just the minimum that we require from brands. Our team is trained to look for designers whose business models and customer proposition align with our own and go beyond the minimum. After the initial criteria, brands undergo a further vetting process which allows them to attain the guarantees you see on our website, helping customers shop by their values.
Tell us about your Guarantee Index.
Our business model was formulated to work harmoniously with the environment and local communities, rather than exploiting them, and we wanted to communicate this clearly to our customers. So we created a set of 15 guarantees to celebrate how our partner brands consider the environment and the people involved in the production process, and also to encourage our brands to incorporate these principles further into their business models.
These have made it easier for our customers to shop by their values and are used on our product pages to signify the good work our brands do individually. They cover various values such as being carbon-neutral or producing using only vegan materials.
This is a pilot initiative and we are continuing to work with our brands, as well as external consultants, advisers, and industry bodies, to ensure that we are at the forefront of ethical retail.
Congratulations on becoming a B Corp! Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming certified—what was the importance of this for you?
Attaining B Corp was a part of our company goal of better articulating our purpose to our community of customers and brands. It’s a genuine commitment not only to better ethics and sustainable business, but also to continuous improvement.
For us, becoming a B Corp has helped us better develop and communicate our values, ensuring we’re at the forefront of good business practice as we aim to become the leading destination for independent brands worldwide. It also provides a framework through which all businesses can improve their impact.
All of this has long been at the core of fundamentally why we are in business, so it was great to be able to formalise this through attaining the B Corp certification. It also gives us more ideas of what to work on next as we seek to keep making a positive difference.
What value do you think it brings to Wolf & Badger?
Most importantly, it has provided a framework for ethical and sustainable business practice against which to hold ourselves accountable. That has helped us drive and continue to drive so many positive changes for the business, and for our team, and for the brands on our platform.
Beyond this, now that we are a B Corp we are part of a fantastic community of companies who share the same purpose driven values as us, with whom we can discuss common issues and work collaboratively.
It also helps our customers to understand that we have made a significant commitment to being a part of a better future, making retail fair for all and fostering a conscious community of brands and consumers.
Were there any hurdles you had to overcome? Can you give us an insight into these?
The challenge was ensuring that key people in the team had time to dedicate to working towards attaining the certification. B Lab asks for evidence for every claim that a business makes, and it took us around a year and a half to work through the application. We had five key members of our team pulling together information, documenting our policies, and creating reports on our processes in order to support our application to become certified. While it was a long process, it was also incredibly useful in helping us improve a number of areas along the way with the support of the team from B Lab UK.
What’s next for Wolf & Badger now you’ve achieved B Corp status?
We are constantly working to continue improving our business impact. B Corp certification was only the first step for us, and we will be looking to achieve a higher score when we go through reassessment. Beyond that, we are incredibly excited to announce that later this spring, we will be opening our third stand-alone store, in Los Angeles. We’ll be able to bring the Wolf & Badger experience to our rapidly growing California community as we continue to grow in the US.
Can we ask where the name comes from?
That’s a top-secret piece of information I’m afraid. But I’m sure once readers take their Heights they’ll be able to make a good guess!
And finally, why are you and the Wolf & Badger team fans of Heights?
I have been a fan of Heights right back since before the supplements even launched as I have known founders Dan and Joel for years. I saw first-hand the level of research and detail that went into creating the product and am so impressed with the incredible supplements that the team now produces. It’s not just the quality and performance, but also the ethical and sustainable thought process that sits behind the company. I can’t wait to see what is next!
For B Corp month, we’ve teamed up with Wolf & Badger to give away the ultimate self-care package, worth over £400, including a vegan friendly yoga rug mat from Holistic Silk. Enter on our Instagram profile now.
Wolf & Badger are offering Heights customers 10% off - simply add code HEIGHTS10 at checkout. Expires 31st May 2022.