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Boll & Branch Reaches $1 Million Fair Trade Milestone

Over the past couple of years, more and more home goods brands such as Williams-Sonoma and Wayfair have made larger investments in fair trade product. But for direct-to-consumer bedding maker Boll & Branch, fair trade has always been part of its business model. Now the company announces it has exceeded $1 million in fair trade premiums.

At its inception in 2014, Boll & Branch partnered with Fair Trade USA—a nonprofit that certifies fair-trade products in North America—to ensure its products supported fair pay to farmers and workers, as well as safe, equitable working conditions for those contributing to the company’s supply chain.

“Before starting Boll & Branch, Missy and I had absolutely no experience in textile manufacturing,” said Scott Tannen, founder and CEO, Boll & Branch. “Through our research, we were disheartened to learn that there’s a perpetual cycle of poverty that the incumbents in the category have driven for generations, consistently marginalizing farmers and workers.”

Fair trade premiums are generated through product sales, and serve as an additional payment to the prices paid for goods and services to supply chain partners. Workers decide collectively how to spend these funds, based on the community’s greatest needs: from bonuses, scholarships, and disaster relief funds, to medical care and transportation.

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Since 2014, Boll & Branch has given back to more than 3,800 factory workers, with nearly $400,000 sent in 2021 alone. That same year, they were recognized as one of 47 companies in the Textile Exchange’s “Leader’s Circle,” indicating exceptional progress across embedding strategy, expansion and growth in the use of preferred materials, alignment with the Global Goals, and actioning circularity agendas.

For the Tannens—who founded Boll & Branch in part as a response to the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, which killed more than 1,100 workers—reaching this goal feels particularly gratifying.

“We were determined to build a different type of company and, with the guidance, counsel, and support from our friends and partners at Fair Trade USA, we built a business model that we knew would lift people up in a way that had never been done before in this category,” Tannen said. “To be the first home goods brand to partner with Fair Trade, and exceed $1 million in Premiums for the women and men who make our beautiful products, would have been a wild dream in 2014 and still feels like one today.”