Starting a business is a lot like having kids. Not in the physical sense, or in the stress it induces, or the emotional toll, but more importantly it forces you to reflect inwards. What type of business are we trying to raise create? How can we take care of our employees, our suppliers, and our customers while dealing with the negative external capitalist influences, while also making money? Why should we even care about our morals and values? These are not easy questions to answer, and they shouldn't be either. For how you answer these questions, and more importantly, how you act on these answers, impacts your brewery’s sustainability, its long term potential to make lasting positive change, and the lives of everyone you interact with and care about.
For the founders Scott, Scotty, and I, the what came easy. Our business would, no matter what, be sustainable. And we don't mean that strictly in the ecological sense, though it does include environmental sustainability. We mean that the business will be sustainable for every single employee, for our customers, and for the long term benefit of itself. If our employees cannot afford to live, to thrive in their lives, then how can we expect them to thrive at Urban Artifact? How can we expect anyone that we work with to do the best they possibly can, unless we are doing everything we can to allow people to be their best?
The how, well, that is in no small part money but it is also the company culture that we create. A living wage is a bare minimum necessity. Thinking about one's future is necessary. Taking care of oneself and health is necessary. Allowing for an adequate work life balance, with adequate time off each year. And fostering an atmosphere where people can thrive, without feeling harassed, discriminated, or ignored.
Ultimately, why would we do any of this? We dont have to. The government does not require a business to care or have morals. In fact, most businesses in America live under the “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” mantra. You know what else grows and grows and grows, at the cost of everything else around it? Cancer. We will not be a cancer. We at Urban Artifact believe that, even with its flaws, it is possible to run a business as morally as possible in our capitalist society. To value those that you work with, employ, and sell your beers to. We cannot make the best possible beer, unless we are the best possible company that we can be. We are a sustainable business, and we will continue to look to our company values when faced with difficult decisions.
On that long winded introduction, these are the values in which Urban Artifact does its best to embody:
- Honesty & Transparency
- We are not ashamed of who we are, being honest and transparent with our customers, our employees, and ourselves, leads to critical self-assessment, growth, and trust.
- Asking Why? Innovation, personal growth, change and continuous improvement, bucking tradition or knowing when to embrace it. All of this is at it’s core learned by asking why.
- If we are not ourselves, then who are we? Embracing who we are fosters better company culture, creativity, and a sense of pride. Our customers pick-up on this, and staying true to ourselves and Urban Artifact, will only benefit everyone involved.
- Employee’s First
- Beer & Music are nothing without community. Fostering our space as safe, inclusive, and welcoming to all continues to cement Urban Artifact as a staple of the neighborhood, Cincinnati at large, and across our distribution footprint. Be the change we want to see in the world.
Look, these are lofty values, and we are still a small company. We continue to get better every year, and as each year passes, we look back grateful for where we were, thankful for where we are, yet continually work towards being a better place and doing a better job of living our values than the year before. For you, for us, for our employees, for Urban Artifact.