Adding without Subtracting
Posted on October 03 2020
Hey 2020…we’re kind of ready to show you the door. We recently watched the SouthPark special on The Pandemic and, while we laughed a bit, we were also reminded of how cruel this year has really been. As they always do, the writers used satire to highlight the issues and found a way to address COVID-19, the protests, the painful loss of jobs as well as the fear and uncertainty that is gripping much of the country.
We'd love to hear from someone who lived through the protests of the 60’s, but from our perspective, we’ve never seen a time when our collective house has been so divided.
Here at Coeur, we’ve tried very hard to identify and promote values that we thought were universally positive. Over the years, the message of compassion, inclusion and encouragement seemed to find fertile ground regardless of ideologies. This is subtle, but we try to go out of our way to say that we are in favor of things and avoid saying we are against others. We summarized our approach by saying that we wanted to "Add without Subtracting". Some may say it’s all semantics, but we hope and believe that encouraging someone to get out for a walk, a run, a bike ride or a swim doesn’t suggest that we think less of people who elect to not do so. Or that helping one underserved group discover the joy of endurance sports doesn't shut the door on another.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, things have changed. It seems as if every issue in the world is now grouped into one camp or another and if one side of the political aisle is for something then the other must automatically be against it.
By and large, we reject that concept and believe that there are areas where you can be for one thing without being against another. For example, you can support women’s issues and not hate men. And you can certainly try to draw under-represented groups into cycling, running and triathlon without pushing anyone out. In other words, adding does not mean subtracting.
Unfortunately, our optimistic view of the world took a bit of a hit after we decided to do a fundraiser for the Black Women in Sport Foundation “BWSF” (https://www.blackwomeninsport.org/about) and for Black Lives Matter “BLM”. We chipped in some of our own money and donated all the profits from the sale of a collection we called “All Together” to BWSF and did a t-shirt sale for BLM.
The vast majority of the proceeds went to BWSF and we think they are a great organization. For those of you not familiar, BWSF is a nonprofit with a mission to increase the involvement of black women and girls in all aspects of sport.
Their executive director Nnenna is fantastic and her enthusiasm is obvious the first time you chat with her. Thanks to everyone who purchased the All Together gear, we were able to donate close to $10,000 to this fantastic group.
In hindsight, we probably should have seen this coming. Not long after we announced the donation, the first of several email and social media posts started coming in condemning our action.
They ranged from “You’ve lost a customer because you got political” to “Why don’t you do something for white people” and even one who said that we shouldn’t “support terrorist organizations”.
Coeur is still a small company by any stretch of the imagination and everyone on our small team saw the comments and were impacted by them. To be clear, we did receive quite a few positive comments, but there’s something in our nature that causes us to give criticism more weight than it deserves. In other words, those negative comments left a mark.
We took some time to reflect on the comments and try to determine how to respond. To be honest, the idea of being a bit less socially active did enter our minds. I mean, it would be a nice if the only emails that came in via our info box had to do with sizing. But, deep down inside, we always understood that we had to be true to ourselves. A quote from the Bible pretty much sums it up by saying “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
So, the decision is made. We're going to stay the course and do our best to not lose our souls. As a small company, we disproportionately reflect the values of our Founder and the team and the reality is that as a group, we honestly care about the issues we promote. They are not marketing slogans or hashtags that we add to posts when they are trending.
While in our heart of hearts, we still have hope that our beliefs about inclusion and compassion will be embraced by everyone, we understand that we have and may lose some people. And, at the end of the day, we have come to terms with that fact.
Thank you to everyone who voiced their support and to those who didn’t, we still hope you find time to get out and walk, run, bike or swim. Trust us, it will add to your life without subtracting anything!