Dear Bryr Community,
I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me learn and grow through the last few weeks and months. When I started Bryr 9 years ago, I had no idea where this journey would take me and how much I would learn along the way. Firstly and most importantly, I want to start by sharing my thanks. I want to thank my team for sharing their perspective and diligently working with me throughout this process. I want to thank Manpreet Kalra, our new equity advisor, for bringing her years of expertise to the conversation. I would also like to thank the other business owners who shared their perspectives with me. And finally, I’d like to thank our community for believing in Bryr enough to hold us accountable to our shared values. We have done a lot of work and we have lots of work to do. I recognize addressing pay is just the first step and that equity and transparency are a process.
When I first started Bryr, I was on a journey to reconnect with making beautiful, well-made things in a positive work environment for everyone involved. My priority has been to create a space where every person can bring their whole self to their work. As a founder, I believe my primary role is to create a supportive, collaborative and productive work environment, where people have the opportunity to thrive and feel safe. I want Bryr to feel like a place where everyone’s work and input are valued. I know we don’t always do this perfectly, but this is our guiding light—we are constantly working toward this goal as we continue to learn and evolve.
Being a San Francisco based manufacturing company is an important part of our identity and we love it here. This can also be overwhelming at times because the cost of living and doing business in the Bay Area is quite high, but I am truly committed to making it work. Since the start, our pay scale has been based on market rates within our industry. I did this by reviewing it in detail with a labor advisor at SFMade, a non-profit dedicated to maintaining sustainable manufacturing in San Francisco, and talking with other local business owners.
What I didn’t realize when creating our initial pay structure was how arbitrary the market rate can be and that the rates manufacturing companies are paying employees do not take a realistic living wage into account. However, as the cost of living in the Bay Area continues to skyrocket, it is clear that these market pay scales are not sustainable for anyone. I realize that I was making decisions out of ignorance, not recognizing the glaring blindspot in our industry.
I want to be honest -- I’m in a state of learning about how to balance a living wage with the cost of doing business in San Francisco. Inspired by conversations around pay equity within our community over the past few weeks, I made a conscious decision to pause, revisit our goals and values as a business, create space for the team to share what they needed, and learn. We are a company built on feedback, which is why revising our salary grid meant approaching it collaboratively. Equity and transparency are words that are often thrown around, but to us these words mean creating a salary grid that offers employees insight into their growth at the company and ensuring that any employee is compensated fairly without bias.
There is always room for improvement in everything we do, which is why we performed an internal and external review of our existing pay, benefits, and financial strategy. I am excited to share some of the changes we are making to our salary grid. I do not have all of the details neatly mapped out, but trust that these next steps will move us closer to our goals and values as a business:
- Adjusting all of our existing mid-level and senior positions to pay at least $58k/year* plus benefits. (*Based on the MIT Living Wage calculator for San Francisco.) While some of our positions were already at or above this target, others were under.
- Increasing our entry level pay from $20/hour to $23/hour, which includes built in training, a 60-day probationary period and a clear path for growth including a pay rate raise within a year. (As of July 1st, 2021, the minimum wage in San Francisco increased to $16.32. While we are proud to pay above the minimum wage, we are striving to do better because we know that a minimum wage doesn’t equate to a livable wage.)
- Sharing this pay grid with our team, so they have visibility over their own potential financial growth at Bryr.
- Starting the process of becoming a Certified B Corp to hold ourselves to the best standards of pay equity and industry practices.
Revisiting our pay grid has opened up even more important conversations within our team. For example, building a diverse and inclusive team is important to us and we are committed to actively working toward that by revisiting our hiring process in the coming months. By adjusting our salary grid and raising our minimum wage, we hope to make working at Bryr more accessible to a diversity of applicants.
As a small business, building a solid financial foundation to ensure the wellbeing of the team has always been my priority. I’ve made a commitment to growing the company smartly, saving for rainy days (or pandemics) and choosing to move slowly and surely instead of expanding quickly and taking on heavy debt. This approach alongside immense work put in by the team allowed us to make it through the challenges of last year and continues to help our company stay stable as a business through these uncertain times. The changes we are making are a new financial model for Bryr, and the beginning of a continual process. I don’t have all the answers, but am open to speaking with anyone who has advice or is further down this road because addressing these complexities is important to me.
We are excited to have reached this milestone, but there is still so much to be done. Our goal is to continue raising our entry level pay as we grow. Investing in company culture, supporting professional development, prioritizing work-life balance, and offering mentorship have been important parts of Bryr since the start and will continue to be moving forward. I want Bryr to be a place where employees are not just clocking in and out but building sustainable careers. Most importantly, I hope for employees to feel proud of the work they do here at Bryr.
This is an incredibly important moment for Bryr and I appreciate each and every person who has guided us thus far. We could not be where we are without your support and feedback. I am excited to see the many ways in which we will continue to evolve as a business, with our values—integrity, connection, growth, care, comfort, harmony and inspiration—continuing to guide us along the way. We will continue sharing our journey with you, our community, in a genuine, honest and human way.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this blog post we reference some instagram posts.
For reference, here they are:
Original post regarding hiring
1st follow up post.
2nd follow up post.