/ 02.22.19 /

Why We Invest In Women: Amy Hall of Eileen Fisher

FROM CLOTHING TO EMPOWERMENT

Amy Hall knows a thing or two about the importance of investing in women. As the VP of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher, she’s seen firsthand the benefits of supporting women and girls in their personal and professional lives. “Our company has always been about women,” she says, explaining how the journey may start with clothing, but it goes a lot further, a lot deeper than that. “We help them be their authentic selves, feel more confident.”

The company’s philanthropic approach has emanated seamlessly from that broad vision, leading to a number of initiatives that invest in women. The question has always been, “how do we build on what we’re trying to do with clothing to continue to help women find and use their voice and feel like they’re in control of their destinies,” shares Hall.

The answer to that question can be found in grants, programs and in-store events, many of which are focused on raising awareness around important issues that other companies hold at arm’s length. They run programs on human and sex trafficking, for example, and produced a fashion show that promoted LGBTQ rights. There was even a campaign that supported artisan work in Peruvian communities.

Beyond company-driven initiatives, Eileen Fisher runs unique workshops, recently rebranded as Women Together. “They activate the collective wisdom and energy of women for positive change in the world,” explains Hall. “We’re helping women find their inner strength and inner purpose.” The Leadership Institute, meanwhile, organized by the Eileen Fisher Community Foundation, is focused on helping teenage girls (as well as some boys) get in touch with their inner leader, encouraging them down an empowered path throughout their lives.

Some of their stores run crafting, yoga or meditation classes in their workshop space. Primarily geared at women, the programs build a sense of community around shared interests and need, Hall says. “We’re using our space and the strength of our brand to bring women together.”

Most importantly, Eileen Fisher’s investments go well beyond the transaction, whether of selling clothes or handing over a check. “We try to maximize what we can do as a company in a lot of different ways, by raising awareness and engaging the customer in a way that she wouldn’t normally think about those issues.”

INVESTING IN WOMEN IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

And there’s no doubt those investments have tremendous value, says Hall, who points to research that found 40 percent of Eileen Fisher customers are willing to support brands that share their values. She also looks at its’ loyal customer base, women who not only love their clothes but also what Eileen Fisher stands for and the work the company does to help women.

NEW PHILANTHROPIC FOCUS IN 2019

In the coming months, Eileen Fisher will be shifting its’ philanthropic focus to supporting the intersection of women and the environment. “We’re looking at women as the key decision-makers and advocates for climate change mitigation,” explains Hall. “The bottom is line there is no environmental justice without gender justice.” The new philanthropic platform will be formally introduced in May, but one thing will never change: the need to propel women forward and the belief that doing so is good for everyone.

Investing in women is a wise choice that can go beyond money, Hall adds. Sometimes it simply means believing in them, supporting their ability to make decisions, giving them the opportunity to be decision-makers. “It’s about supporting women with your vote, through moral support, your dollars, and via your purchases; it’s all of that.”