12 . 31

2021: Year End Reflection

By Sara Berks

Journal | Values

2021: Year End Reflection

I’ll be totally honest with you: I’m in complete denial it’s about to be 2022. I’m about to turn a year older (Capricorn baby), the business is going into its 9th year (what is time?), and we’re entering the junior year of the COVID pandemic (thank you Instagram for this). When I think back to January, I’m convinced that it was two years ago. And when I think back to August, it seems like only hours ago. 2020 was tough, and 2021 might have been even tougher. 

Even though this year was challenging, MINNA grew in many ways. With all that is going on in the world, it can sometimes feel challenging to pause and reflect on the positive. Nevertheless, here’s a reflection on what went well this year:

We became a B Corp! This is solidly the thing I’m the most proud of this year and really in MINNA’s history. When I started MINNA, I knew I wanted to strive to complete the B Corp certification process, looking to businesses like Eileen Fisher and her story as the guiding light. Afterall, using business to do good is core to our mission. The B Corp process allowed us to actually be vetted for that intention, and aligned us with thousands of our businesses who commit to and believe: 

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place matter.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

We also completely changed the way we release products. Did you notice? Instead of releasing two collections each year, we moved to nearly monthly small-batch product releases. This change allows artisan partners to create products without the constrictions of a traditional industry calendar, and allows us to take our time with the design process and be more creative. I can already say that Sam and I have so much up our sleeves for fresh new designs next year, and I truly believe it’s this shift that allowed us so much more freedom to design.

I finally got to travel again and spend some much missed in-person time with our artisan partners! After over a year and a half apart, I spent 6-weeks in Mexico in September and October. For me, the time with our artisan partners is priceless. Developing and maintaining relationships is so core to what we do here at MINNA. The in person design process allows some of our best work to come to be - and this trip was all about reconnecting, catching up, and looking forward. I was able to collaborate with some of our longest standing partners on new developments, as well as meet several new artisan groups we hope to onboard in the next year or two.

We continued our commitment to redistribution, team development, and leaving a positive impact. Last year we set a baseline commitment to redistribute at least 3% of our profits, though we usually end up giving much more. This year, some of the organizations we were able to support include: Kite’s NestThe Hudson Catskill Housing CoalitionAsian Americans Advancing JusticeBlack Lives MatterSweet Freedom FarmSoul Fire Farm, the National Bail Fund, and Women for Afghan Women. As part of our commitment to nurturing an open and inclusive company culture, the team participated in several professional development and anti-racism training ranging from how to give feedback to exploring our own privilege and racial bias in the workplace. We’ll be sharing our Impact Report for 2021 sometime early next year, if you’re interested in revisiting last years, you can here

This past year has been challenging and exciting in so many ways, and I truly couldn’t have done any of this without the amazing team that makes MINNA what it is today. So, thank you Suzanne, Sam, Rhonda, Fiona, Cate, Chrissy, and Brian, our extended network of artisan partners, advisors, and collaborators. I’m excited for us to enter 2022 a little wiser, a little older, and ready for whatever the universe throws at us, making things a little more beautiful along the way.