Têra Kaia Collective

A Letter to 2020

Dear 2020,

You’ve been a roller coaster of emotions for everyone. So far, you’ve taught us how much we need human connection, and how far we have to go to reach equality for all. Most of all, 2020 is teaching us that we need to rethink a lot about our society… and we’re not even halfway through the year.

We’ll be honest. It’s been hard. Taking in the stress of a shifting world while trying to scale a small company has been equal parts inspired action and terrible stress. We wanted to craft a response to the current situation that is true and authentic to our brand and isn’t just a list of boxes to be checked.

Back in 2016, we got started with the idea that what makes you beautiful, is also what makes you… you. Here we are in 2020, and while huge social constructs are shifting all around us, the defining thread we founded our brand on still rings true.

When we started, we believed in being boldly proud of your eccentricities.

Whether it’s the tattoos, curves, or the pigment of your skin we believed everything that makes you unique makes you beautiful.

So, we created basewear, and designed it to never overshadow. Instead, it was designed to bring out everything that makes you, the wearer, unique. We said that YOU are the art, and the basewear is the frame.

Têra Kaia’s mission is to redefine the way clothes fit and function and inspire you to get outdoors and be your outside self. We say if the wearer is the art, the basewear is the frame. Têra Kaia’s core values are versatility, uniqueness, comfort, and sustainability.

We chose models whose look wasn’t the “expected” type. We celebrated their tattoos, unique skin pigmentation, curvy or muscular body types, and personal expression.

We did what we could with our very limited available resources as a small start-up apparel company.

Now as we go into 2020, we have even more clarity about what our mission is.

As we expand as Têra Kaia we now begin to have the adequate resources to properly reflect this even further in our brand, our products, our models, and our actions. In 2019 we signed the Outdoor CEO pledge, but we weren’t really sure what to do next.

This year we were asked to define what DEI (diversity equity and inclusion) really means to us as a brand. Like so many of us who live a privileged life of outdoor recreation, we started learning and listening.

We took that to heart and thought about it, and it lead us back to the reason we started this brand.

So what do diversity and inclusion mean to us?

We realized that diversity, equity, and inclusion play an integral part in our first core value: to celebrate what makes you unique.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion mean that celebration includes all body types, pigmentation, gender identities, levels of ability, and ages. It means the celebration of all bodies expressing who they are, and what makes them unique.

Now we have the clarity to take this a step further, and truly define the specifics of what this means to our brand.

Being inclusive means we celebrate the uniqueness of ALL bodies.

That celebration includes the authentic expression of all people, gender identities, and levels of ability expressing who they are, and what makes them unique. Celebrating all bodies doesn’t mean we don’t see color. It means we see color in vivid, and we celebrate and uplift it. 

Supporting diversity, inclusivity, and equity means Têra Kaia as a brand, and as a company, needs to have representation on the inside, and on the outside. It means we need a set of rules to check our internal bias and challenge the influence of white supremacy.

Most importantly, being an inclusive brand means we make products that invite all body types. Only with a fully inclusive size range can we truly invite ALL bodies to get outdoors, and be their outside self.

When we started, we believed in being politically neutral.

As a brand that accepts all people, we believed in accepting people who shared a different view from us. One of our company values was balance: to understand compromise and be empathetic to both sides of the story. 

As we go into 2020, we still accept anyone who shares a different view from us, but we’re no longer going to be politically neutral. We do not support the violation of human rights as a political stance.

All lives can’t matter until black lives matter.

So, what have we been doing about it?

Well, to be honest, we’ve been fighting the same fight as we have for the last few years – struggling tooth and nail to start a brand. We’ve been forming the foundation of our company, setting up our first retail office space in Bishop, and doing our best to cope with the massive supply chain wrench of COVID-19.

Most importantly: we’ve been growing our access to resources so that we actually CAN do something about it.

Being a small struggling company at this time is also a blessing. It means we’re adaptable and we can shift quickly. It means we’ve had time to define exactly how we want to be before we grow. To make changes to our company culture on the outside AND inside isn’t a huge undertaking, and now is the perfect timing.

If you’re not a large established brand, changing your company isn’t like turning a cruise ship around, it’s more like quickly pivoting a kayak in a new direction.

Let’s make that a Têra Kayak. 😉

So, Here’s Our Next Steps:

We know there’s work to do, and here’s where we plan to start.

  • Define our internal company guidelines for equal opportunity hiring, challenging internal bias, and creating a diverse workplace.
  • Expand our partnerships and community to support groups who are improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoor space.
  • Brainstorm ways to make our product and price points more accessible to a variety of income levels and marginalized groups.
  • Hire diverse leadership to our grassroots community who can instruct ways to create a welcome environment for BIPOC, trans, and people of all abilities.
  • Continue our pursuit of sustainable products, ethical labor, and improve our transparency as a company.
  • Improve our visual representation to include our new definition of ALL bodies.
  • Prioritize our product development to focus on Extra Support, and introducing an inclusive size range to all our products.

Always listening, always learning.

Our brand was formed based on feedback from our community. Just ask our basewear testers. We’re always learning, and we know that feedback is how we improve. Reach out to us any time below with thoughts, suggestions, or simply to make a connection.

Thoughts? Comment, DM, or email us at info@terakaia.com

Bridget Kilgallon

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