Big Cartel Turns 16: Growing Pains
Big Cartel turns another year older this month, and we’re feeling a little more adult, but still a little awkward. As a company that started out as a side project for two friends, little BC has exceeded so many expectations. We’re proud to still be here and sticking close to our original purpose, but we’ve also started to figure out the kind of company we want to be, long term. It’s like we’ve reached the point where the dentist is no longer saying “let’s wait and see if you grow into those teeth.” We’re getting close to becoming adults, and it’s about dang time to get braces.
Sixteen is practically geriatric by software standards, but we are still here and figuring out how to be thoughtful and purposeful participants in this space. As a company that has stayed small and self-funded, we have the opportunity to get things right with slow and steady growth. In the past year, we’ve started some important work.
Brand Values: Our team settled on a clearer mission and purpose this past year, along with a set of values. While we’re still preparing for an official public reveal, these values already guide the tools we build, the management of our time and team, and how we share it all with you. In case you’re curious what I mean, a few of our values came up when we changed our premium plans.
Equity & Inclusion Audit: The McKensie Mack Group (MMG) has completed their equity audit and presented their findings to the entire Big Cartel team. It’s been a great opportunity for us all to get on the same page: to see where employee experiences differ, and where our reality doesn’t quite meet our aspirations. We’ll explain the audit in more detail once we have implemented a plan for improvement in the areas that MMG has identified.
Hiring Practices: To expand and improve Big Cartel’s products, we’re going to need to add some new people to our team. We want to be sure that we do this in the right way, and that means hiring beyond our current bubble of friends and former colleagues. Our leadership team has put together a proposal for hiring guidelines, but we’ll ask MMG to review it for oversights on our part before we implement the workflow.
Committees: We’re reimagining how decisions are made around here, and are exploring collaborative decision-making that goes beyond traditional top down leadership. Committees with real decision-making power are new at Big Cartel, so a lot remains to be seen about how they work, but ultimately we believe that better, more equitable decisions are made when a diverse set of perspectives are represented.
We know that for most people who use Big Cartel, your main concern is that our products are reliable and helpful for your business. Ultimately, that’s our focus too. All of this internal work has been to shore up our company for long-term viability and health. This birthday celebration is a bit more serious than we’re used to, but maybe that’s part of growing up. We’ve faced some tough realizations this year and while we’re largely an idealistic group, it takes a lot of work to back that optimism up. We committed to working in public, and here we are.