Durham retailer Vert & Vogue recently earned distinction as a B Corp
, the equivalent of a Fair Trade certification in the coffee industry.
The B Corp title is given to companies that meet a meticulous list of standards demonstrating their dedication to environmentally and socially conscious business practices. The boutique says that ethical business practices have always been at the core of its mission but that its B Corp status will offer more comprehensive metrics to identify new areas for improvement.
As part of its new distinction, the specialty clothing store deepened its partnership with Urban Ministries of Durham, a nonprofit that addresses local poverty and homelessness. Vert & Vogue is hosting a UMD Day on March 17, in which it will donate 20 percent of its profit to the organization and accept bras, shaving cream, and other necessities for UMD's mission. The boutique has also vowed to donate up to 20 percent of its annuals profit to UMD and other nonprofits in the area.
Ryan and Nadira Hurley, Vert & Vogue's co-owners, say they want to extend those financial contributions to on-the-ground work, too.
"We've created a volunteer program with
our team which includes volunteering on-site. Actually being there makes it real and is so powerful for our team," Ryan Hurley says.
In an industry that frequently ranks among the dirtiest
in the world, Vert & Vogue hopes to address environmental concerns by using wind power as its only energy source and ensuring that at least 50 percent of its goods are made with natural fibers.
Vert & Vogue joins eight other B Corp companies in Durham (including Bull City Burger & Brewery and Eco Organics) and forty across North Carolina. Hurley hopes that many more businesses across the Triangle will follow suit.
"It's a slow and steady process," Hurley says. "There's definitely a growing community, and generally, we have so many progressive businesses in the area."