A Purpose Powered Product [case study]

At the 2019 Pausefest in Melbourne Australia, CEO of local company Bellroy, Andy Fallshaw sat on a panel discussing the use of design to increase human connection. His perspectives ranged from how the design of their products can facilitate conversations to the importance of driving a purpose led organisation to benefit people, planet and profit.

andy bellroy.jpg

Case Study: Bellroy

bellroy logo

Bellroy creates carry goods; wallets, backpacks, phone cases and other products that use design to create more simplicity and ease.

Products to drive purpose

Andy spoke about the desire for Bellroy to make ‘social objects’- things that spark conversation between two people. Products can facilitate human conversations by the way they are made.

Their desire for connection comes from their broader purpose. It is woven through the fabric of the brand and mission of the world.
Their mission stack is:
– Inspire better ways to carry
– Use business as a force for good
– Help the world, and our crew, flourish

Andy spoke passionately about the importance of the company’s purpose to align the team, expand the customer base and be the underlying foundation that enables the organisation to grow sustainably. It must be embedded in all facets of the company in order to create the change.

It is not just a neon phrase on a wall in the office. It affects how the teams approach conversations, which creates a culture that is focused on creating great products that are good for customers, the planet and society.

From mission to action

Andy reflected on the evolution of Bellroy’s mission since they started in 2010. Their mission stems from their purpose to drive social good through the power of business.

This led Bellroy to become a certified B Corporation (an accreditation that proves a company’s ability to balance profit, people and the planet).
Read more about what a B Corporation is here.

Their purpose to use business as a force for good also led them to understand the role they play in society. Leather goods can have a negative environmental impact and there are often animal welfare issues in the supply chain.
Through their purpose, they set up a range of principles to help navigate employees in designing and procuring products. They do this:
– Through their products
– Through the way they do business
– Through their environmental practices
– Through the lens of effective altruism.
Check out their webpage on Responsible business here including their role in setting up an animal welfare advisory board as part of their principles.

Best Practice Top Tips

  1. Infusing the purpose into the organisation requires employees to be able to understand it, connect with it and feel empowered to drive it.
  2. Creating a language and benchmark of employee/supplier practices through principles and frameworks is an effective way to becoming a purpose led organisation. Bellroy’s framework on their website is a good reference point.
  3. Understand the role your business plays in society, focusing on the touch points to consumers and the environment when designing, creating and selling the product as a basis for the principles.

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