How to Compete With Giants: Mid-Market Company Makes CSR A Priority

Moving from startup to industry leader is no mean feat. Initially, a startup requires tunnel vision, complete focus on survival. Making sure that the core product or service hits sales targets while addressing day-to-day challenges, a lot like the spinning plates saying. You look away for one second and everything comes crashing down. Once a startup finds its feet and the plates become manageable, the next step is to decide what to do now?

The shift from survival to growth is an important one. Determining the corporate culture, setting expectations of stakeholders and refining what does and doesn’t work is vital. Companies that enter growth are more visible and face increased scrutiny. This means what may have worked as a startup, may not work as a mature public-facing entity.

Adore Me is a New York based, online lingerie retailer that is shifting from startup to growth. The company has grown significantly since its inception in 2012. Founder Morgan Hermand-Waiche saw that the lingerie industry lacked high quality options at affordable prices and set to disrupt an industry run by a handful of key players. Today, Adore Me operates throughout the United Sates with over 100 employees, strong revenues and numerous features and awards. In a little over five years, the company has moved from being a fledgling entrepreneurial startup to a growing industry player.

If that wasn’t enough, Adore Me is opening hundreds of retail stores across the United States as it looks to establish itself as an industry player.  Recently, they launched their first store in New York’s Staten Island. The company is bravely walking where few online retailers dare to tread. To move to bricks-and-mortar is not an easy decision. Other online brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos are walking the path but Adore Me is pulling out all the stops. Adore Me’s leadership want to compete with industry leader Victoria’s Secret for market share but are very conscious about building a company that looks beyond profit.

So where does Development3 (D3) fit in all of this?

I learned about Adore Me through the COO, Romain Liot’s wife, Marie. I met Marie through Shapr (a great professional networking app!) and when I told her what we do at D3, she put us in touch. I met with Romain and he explained the company’s ethos, ambitions and beliefs. I found a constantly evolving company that drives results and achieves its targets. During our many discussions, we talked about the company’s journey and how customers look beyond the product or service and want to be sure that the company they are buying from, align with doing what’s right.

These discussions led to Adore Me engaging D3 to assess the company’s capacity and appetite for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We reviewed key documents, conducted company-wide surveys and interviewed staff across the board to discover how the company was positioned. We examined the company against four subject areas: Organizational Governance, Human Rights, Consumer Issues and Community Involvement and Development alongside its core focus of Women Empowerment.

The results from our assessment allowed us to develop a CSR action plan. The plan features both core steps that Adore Me needs to take such as establishing principles, committees and initiatives alongside customized action points. This puts the onus on the internal team to prioritize CSR as the company grows and enters the retail world.

What we learned with D3 is that, without realizing it, we already pursue CSR. Our challenge has been how to make CSR business as usual, when everyday there is a new challenge! D3 gave us an honest assessment of where we stand on CSR. Knowing our foundations were solid and getting a clear, step-by step agenda on how to integrate CSR, has really been a trigger for us to push it internally. We’re confident 2018 will be a transition year with lots of great CSR initiatives in the pipeline!”

Chloe Chanudet, VP Marketing

Mid-market companies like Adore Me are well positioned to pursue CSR. They know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. Once equipped with the necessary evidence and education, mid-market companies can use their influence to support society and the environment. I’m eager to see Adore Me achieve CSR maturity. We want the company to take informed decisions that drive its purpose for years to come. In our role as their accountability partner, we help shape how they pursue CSR.

If you are interested in learning more about how D3 can help integrate at CSR at your company, get in touch!

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