PEOPLE, PLANET, PROFIT: MAKING MY BUSINESS COUNT
I judge the success of my business on more than just profits. I prefer to use the triple bottom line, and take account of people and planet as well as profit. Here’s a summary of some of the things I am doing to create positive outcomes for people and planet through my work, with a wish list and resources section at the end.
Much of this relates to how I treat my clients, and also about how I interact with other professionals and ‘give back’ to my community.
- I promote positive body image through my photography and editing, refusing to perpetuate the idea that we would all look better with a few tweaks. I show my clients how great they really look, without airbrushing, and I am a regional photographer for A Beautiful Body Project.
- I do not rip people off. Unlike some photographers, my prices are transparent and stated clearly upfront with no hidden charges. I take time to explain to each client what is included in each package, and avoid legalese in my contracts and agreements.
- I do not use high-pressure sales techniques. I am here to listen to my clients’ wants and needs, and to do my best to meet them, not to tell them what they should buy from me.
- Honesty and trust are important in my business. I am open and clear with clients, and I work to create a trusting and productive relationship every time, treating every individual I meet with respect. If I make a mistake, I apologise and do my best to resolve the issue. I do not use my clients’ images without their consent.
- I give back to my community. I offer reduced rates for charities and not-for-profits, and do a limited number of pro bono jobs each year for good causes. I am a trustee at Barracks Lane Community Garden and a member of the Oxford Time Bank, offering others help with deciphering their camera equipment and editing software.
- I support other local businesses. I am part of a self-employed women’s business network. I support other freelance professionals with advice and guidance. I use local businesses for things like bookkeeping (Marshes, I’m looking at you). And I spend a lot of time in local independent coffee shops (my current favourite is Quarterhorse Coffee on Cowley Road).
- I have a no tolerance policy to cruelty. My office is run on fairtrade tea and chocolate. I do not actively promote albums with leather covers, but if clients wish to order them, I work with eco album-makers Folio, who source from suppliers committed to sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals.
- Some of my images are available under a Creative Commons License.
I reduce, reuse and recycle, and choose sustainable options wherever possible.
- When choosing suppliers, I select on quality, price and eco-credentials. I currently work in partnership with Folio and Artifact Uprising, both companies with similar priorities. I am looking for the best environmentally friendly options for prints.
- I am reducing paper use in my office, and am researching paperless contracts, which I hope to start using by July 2014. Invoices and receipts will be shared electronically only and I use recycled paper and packaging wherever possible, and FSC-certified as a minimum. I recycle my office waste.
- Images are shared with portrait and commercial clients electronically to avoid unnecessary packaging, and wedding clients are given images on a reuseable USB stick or DVDs.
- I buy new equipment only where a professional quality second hand option is unavailable.
As mentioned above, I am currently researching the greenest printing methods for professional prints, so I can source prints for clients appropriately and keep them informed; I am also looking into paperless contracts. In addition, better banking options and eco web hosting are both still on my ‘to do’ list.
The Triple Bottom Line – People, Planet & Profit
Permaculture Ethics – People Care, Earth Care, Fair Shares
A Beautiful Body Project and the brilliant Jade Beall