The Importance of Doing What’s Right: Badger’s Social Initiatives

The Badger family-owners

When Bill and I started Badger we had no idea it would grow into the company it is today. We just put one foot in front of the other and stayed true to our sense of what is right. We were inspired by our product, Badger Balm, formerly Badger Healing Balm. It had multiple uses, and best of all, it filled a real need for hardworking hands. It was also retro looking, a classic looking product. We had no trouble standing behind this product and selling it because we knew it was a good thing for people. That was the start of Badger.

So a business was born, and over time we started to notice that it was growing. At first there was just Bill and James (who is now our operations manager) filling tins and shipping them out. But each year brought new products and more employees. There was money to manage and also people to take care of, and this eventually led to the array of benefits we offer our employees today. Now at noon every day there is a migration to the lunch line, one of everyone’s favorite benefits. If you talk to anyone here you will hear it is the high point of the day.

We developed a mission for our company which was really two-tiered – create healing products and cultivate healthy business practices. Over the years we have been striving to live up to this. The products have been straightforward in a way – source the best ingredients and formulate simple, effective products. From my perspective, it has been more challenging to develop a healthy business environment because we have often chosen to go against the grain of standard business practices typical for a corporate culture. There have been few examples to follow, and it often feels like we are going uphill. We have never believed that the primary purpose of our business is to bring earnings to its stockholders. Fortunately, as a family-owned business we have been able to make decisions around our profits that take into consideration things equally or more important to us, and this has led us to develop the social initiatives we now have at Badger, i.e., our babies at work program, childcare, charitable giving, our ecology center and of course our organic lunch program.

I think Bill and I have always been in agreement about the importance of doing what’s right. We have been slowly developing polices and practices at Badger that were in alignment with this inner sense of what’s right.

Katie Schwerin is a family owner and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Badger. She is a strong advocate for business involvement in the local community and is responsible for spearheading and sustaining many of the social initiatives at Badger. Before joining Badger full time, Katie was a national leader in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and class teacher at the local Waldorf School for 12 years. During that time, Katie was also instrumental in helping to develop department systems critical to the healthy growth of Badger. Seven years ago, Katie joined Badger full time. Katie directed both Marketing and Product Development, before settling into her role as COO. Now, Katie's time is devoted to working with the company leadership team to support the fast growth of the company, keeping the mission and principles strong, and continuing to enhance the social fabric of the company. In her spare time, Katie loves taking care of her two grandchildren, Maya and Dylan, maintains a very large and productive garden, and teaches economics to seniors at the local Waldorf High School.

Katie's Favorite Badger Products: Creamy Cocoa Everyday Body Moisturizer, Sleep Balm, & Sore Joint Rub.

2 comments on “The Importance of Doing What’s Right: Badger’s Social Initiatives

  • Well said, Katie!

    I loved your products even before I had a business that sells your products. Once I found out about your B-Corp status and the way your employees are treated with love, care and respect (i.e. non-corporate) I was hooked.

    I called once a few months ago at about 12:30pm and a recorded message told me that all employees were out on a company-wide lunch break. How great is that?

    It’s companies like Badger that will have to lead the way back for America.

    “Just put one foot in front of the other and stayed true to our sense of what is right.”

    Amen, sister! Keep on doing what you’re doing!
    Kenny F.
    Long Island, NY


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