I have an important announcement. Last week, Steph (one of our staff members at Timely) sent me a message. She told me that they had been looking at a drag queen story hour being held at a local library, just down the road from our roastery and coffee shop in Bayswater. The organisers posted this event on Facebook. As you can imagine, the comments were a mix of supportive voices, as well as some bigotry and hate. Steph pointed out to me that, since this is an event happening in our local community, it’s likely that the people commenting, both negatively and positively, will be customers of Timely. So Steph asked me what she should do the next time we see these customers.
At Timely, we put our values first. We talk a lot about our values of responsibility and generosity and our overall focus on accessibility. Now, I am the first to admit that having “company values” is not unique or special. It’s easy for companies to advertise their values, but whether or not they live those values is another matter.
The other co-founders of Timely and I, have always believed that we want our values to speak through our products and actions. We want to show that our values are not just words, but guiding principles in everything we do. And I also know that if I truly believe in these values, and if I want my staff and customers to believe in them as well, then it's important that I, as a co-founder of Timely, (and as an ally more broadly) act in a way that is consistent with what we stand for.
So with this in mind, here’s what I have to say to everyone who has interacted with Timely, or will do in the future:
If you have a prejudice against an underrepresented or marginalised community, whether it’s LGBTQIA+ folk, women, Indigenous Australians or people of colour more broadly, or any other group of people, then you are not welcome at Timely. We do not want your money or your attention. And, if you come to Timely, to the Coffee Shop or the roastery, and you behave in a way that is narrow-minded or hateful, then you will be asked to leave.
More than this, I want everyone to know that Timely is a safe space. To people of marginalised communities and backgrounds, please know that you always have a safe space at Timely, and I hope we can demonstrate this when you interact with our business. If you come to Timely and you have a bad experience because of bigotry or prejudice, please tell me (I can always be contacted at email@example.com) or one of the other staff. We will believe you, and we will support you.
We have always taken measures to ensure that our values, and our commitment to being a safe space, are communicated clearly. But if there's anything else that we can do, then please share your ideas. Talk to us in the coffee shop or send me an email, and tell us what else we can do to make Timely a place of inclusivity, accessibility, and fairness.
We will not accept any form of hate at Timely. We have a zero-tolerance policy on bigotry, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of prejudice. And I hope that after this, everyone is aware of our values and what we stand for.
Disclaimer: more than anything, I want this message to be a reinforcement of our values at Timely. However, I also acknowledge that the idea of creating a safe space for marginalised people is, and always will be, an abstract idea for me. While I believe deeply in our values, I understand that I promote them from a position of straight, white, cisgender male privilege. I know that I’ll never understand the feeling of bigotry and prejudice, and I’ll never be able to fully imagine how hard the world can be for so many people. But I hope that I can act in a way that supports those people, by valuing inclusion and fairness for those who have a far less privileged lived experience than my own.
Image by https://www.biancadesigns.co/