(Photo Source: cfda.com)

Everyone in fashion should be looking to Eileen’s ethics

Eileen Fisher is a common name in fashion but her practices are anything but common. Fisher built her empire from the ground up and appreciates every employee that helped to get her there.

Fisher’s namesake brand was self-made, launched in 1984 with only $350. The brand was inspired by a recent trip Fisher took to Japan by the “simplicity of shape and movement” of a kimono. She reminisces of the time she was pitching ideas to investors who were only men wanting to quickly open hundreds of stores, concerned all they cared about was seeing profits.

This led to her keeping her company private and today Eileen Fisher hos over 60 stores in the U.S. and is valued at $400 million. Fisher believes in empowering women and have a majority of female employees on her staff.

Fisher also believes in the future of sustainable fashion and launched a program to recycle and resell clothing. She also is politically conscious of making fair working conditions for her company, thinking of the personal and political impact of her workers.

Fisher still maintains 60% ownership of her brand and the other 40% of stocks are held by 1,200 of her full- and part-time employees. She offers her employees an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) that started back in 2006 offering all employees stakes in the company.

They also have a program that allows their employee’s options to exchange their shares for cash upon retirement and also receive an annual profit-sharing bonus. Fisher proves that these are the things that the fashion industry should focus on to make a better industry across the board.