Like many companies, Belly Up, a struggling brand that takes plastic out of the stomachs of sea creatures and makes it into toe rings and hair clips, is struggling under COVID-19 pandemic. But after realizing their leadership team has perpetuated racist practices in hiring and promoting staff for years, they’ve now decided to make lemons into lemonade: By handing over the keys to the crumbling castle to an all-POC leadership team!
“In these trying times, we know it’s time to step down as leaders, which is why we’re resigning and establishing a new board of directors, made up entirely of BIPOC.”
The staff at the company was not alerted to their new roles or responsibilities before the announcement was made, outside of basically being told, “You’re in charge now.” But those in charge are certain it’s welcome.
“They’ve been asking for a seat at the table for a long time,” says CEO Mark Rackley. “So we’re giving them all the seats. Also, this company is deeply in debt and no longer profitable.”
Now with the company’s cash-on-hand at an all-time low, and its supply chains completely disrupted, they’re ready to usher in a new era where people of color are able to have some say in how things are run.
“I’m not really sure why we’re supposed to want this,” says Hakim Waters, who up until a week ago was doing graphic design for the company.
“I think at this point we’d all rather just be laid off and get some kind of severance or unemployment benefits.”
But the heads of the company, who are walking away with their final bonuses, are grateful for this opportunity to give back.
“I’m so excited to see what they do with this,” says Rackley. “And excited to see where they take the company.”