5&Vine Shares Insights On Becoming A B Corporation
For the month of March we’ve dedicated our content to amplifying the amazing work of the B Corp community. From campaigns on our social media to blog posts covering the women behind the B Corp brands and spotlight interviews with innovators like 100km Foods, we’ve loved speaking with other B Corps and letting you into what life is like as a B Corp.
To bring it all to a close, 5&Vine’s Founder and CMO Rahul Raj shares his personal take on becoming a part of the community and what others should consider if they too want to join the movement.
5&Vine was elevated to B Corp status at the end of last year. Do you remember when you committed to getting certified?
Being the CMO of one of the first B Corps in the US, I’ve long been a proponent of the movement. The moment for me was when I decided that 5&Vine wasn’t an experiment or something I was just dipping my toe into.
Once I drew that conclusion and decided I’d be doing this for the foreseeable future, paired with my focus on helping the world and their bottom line, it made sense that we start the process of becoming a B Corp.
From start to finish, how long would you say the process took?
When I was a kid, things looked bigger and moved slower because I didn’t have perspective. “Are we there yet?” was a common refrain. In this case, it realistically took between 18 to 24 months, but it still felt like an eternity.
What, for you, is the most rewarding part of becoming part of the B Corp community?
I’m delighted to be part of a community that’s normalised a core belief that business can be a force for good in the world.
In working with fellow B Corps like Mondetta, I’ve realised we have a short hand because of our ethical and philosophical alignment. The hope is that we get to work with more B Corps so we’re better together.
For businesses looking to become part of the B Corp community themselves, what should they keep in mind?
For smaller organisations who don’t have lots of layers or support-based resources, it’s an onerous administrative undertaking. We had to codify our beliefs into a series of policies about purchasing, client engagements, and human resources. People know businesses have handbooks and protocols but 5&Vine is a small team. We either use our best judgement or talk to each other,but went from a trust based informality to something that was thoughtful and documented.
It also shone a light on areas we hadn’t considered before. The ownership structure of people we pay to do things is an example, whether that’s payroll providers, insurance companies, or who we buy office supplies from. The process was a helpful reminder that how our dollars are deployed has power, and we needed to ensure we were supporting the ecosystem we believe in.
Since becoming a B Corp, how has it shaped 5&Vine’s vision as a business, as well as its work with clients?
We have a deeper sense of pride and confidence. On the pride side, it was hard to get this certification. Now that we have it, it feels fantastic. It’s awesome. As a result, we’re very active on social media and we dedicated a month to helping our community understand more about B Corps. There’s very few things I’ve evangelised so actively and consistently for.
And then confidence. Your community normalises your behaviour. When you’re part of the B Corp community there’s a constant reminder about the commitment you’ve made, and we are fueled to maintain that commitment. There’s something much bigger at play with businesses often having more power than governments. An evolution is required to capitalism that optimises for all stakeholders and not shareholders alone.
And lastly, what’s next for 5&Vine, and how is being a B Corp part of that future vision?
The plan is to evolve from an agency to an early stage venture capital firm, where we take our insights and experience growing meaningful brands that better the world and invest both our talents and capital in creating next generation brands.
You can guarantee the focus will be on putting our weight behind brands that deliver both profit and impact. Being part of the B Corp community will expose us to a broader range of brands but also individuals and organizations with capital that believe in the same premise and see us as an amazing partner to help deploy that capital, combined with our marketing talents.