Thirty years ago, a group of guys in Denmark set out to make their first jeans collection. Now, that group of “guys” is a global team, making and selling JACK & JONES clothes around the world. We call it the brotherhood. What bonds us is a “never give up attitude”, a drive to do things better and, of course, a devotion to denim.
We are a family, and families support and challenge one another to be the best they can be. We know a person’s career is only one piece of life’s pie. So, we have created a philosophy called the “Human Collection” — based on principles from the world of sport — to support our colleagues’ personal growth as well as their professional growth. We are also revisiting how best to bring diversity and inclusivity into everything we do. With a focused team within the BESTSELLER group, we are updating our policies, delivering awareness training and publishing a publically available report by spring 2022.
Your purchases also help us to contribute to the BESTSELLER FOUNDATION, which invests in awesome initiatives around the world, from biofuel projects in Africa to donating to Doctors Without Borders. Since 2018, we have taken great pride in supporting the LGBTQ+ community through our annual PROUD collection and by partnering with the non-profit organization It Gets Better. We are also super excited to be the official clothing partner for Denmark’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, and we made our Tokyo 2021 collection our most sustainable yet.
That leaves you, our extended family. No matter your gender, age, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, abilities or religious background, you are part of our story. That is why we are starting to move away from using professional models and asking you and your mates to be the new face of JACK & JONES to show the world exactly who makes us what we are.
THE BROTHERHOOD STARTS AT JACK & JONES HQ
The most important collection of the year? The “Human Collection” — our talented colleagues who work behind the scenes here at JACK & JONES. Together, we work with passion and grit, wear head-to-toe denim with pride and obsess about how we can do better. We’re all part of what makes JACK & JONES unique, so we support each other in every way we can. With development programs like our “Human Business Plan”, apprentice program and BESTSELLER’s Academy, we are not only super-charging our careers but take care of our crew’s mental and physical health too. So, while it is true that we make epic jeans and clothes, really, we make epic people.
Our approach to people is inspired by the world of sport. We believe that mindset is everything, and we coach the people on our team to reach their fullest potential — professionally and personally. A person is not just their job description, so why would that be the only measure of growth or success? Here are some of the things that are unique about our approach:
● JACK & JONES employees get a “Human Business Plan”, which works like a regular business plan with goals, KPIs and a plan of action — but is instead applied to each individual’s professional development, state of mind and sense of wellbeing. Think mental health and behavioral strategies, human-based KPIs and more. This tool allows us to check-in with team members to see how they are developing and what we (managers, project leaders, the wider organization) can do to support.
● We believe people learn best by doing so we make sure our training involves watching those who have done it before. That means on-the-job education is woven into our colleagues' day-to-day life. Some programs are very specific and structured, others consist of routine check-ins that happen more informally on a daily or weekly basis. Imagine it like a sports field, with our team cheering and guiding one another during the match!
● Because everybody is at a different stage in work and life, with different strengths and challenges, we tailor our “Human Business Plans” to suit our colleagues’ unique needs. Whether it is support from the sidelines or a full team analysis, we take into account each person’s context and develop a plan that is both personal and effective.
● Each year some of our leaders join in with experiments and new initiatives that build their self-leadership as well as team management skills. Employees in this program get hands-on experience by working closely with existing leaders in the organization.
Through the BESTSELLER Academy, JACK & JONES employees have access to a range of other development opportunities and benefits as well. Like a robust training program with courses on vital job skills like planning, prioritization and communications as well as an internal platform for further resources and peer-to-peer support.
These programs provide opportunity for colleagues at all different levels, not just senior leaders. For those early in their career, BESTSELLER offers a unique apprentice program that includes partnerships with business schools as well as our own teaching facilities at HQ. In fact, more than half of our colleagues started as apprentices and quite a few have been with JACK & JONES for decades — so we must be doing something right.
Culture is not a ‘thing’, decided by people at the top. It is a bond, an energy, a vibe created and felt by everyone — we would not have it any other way.
TAKING FURTHER STEPS ON OUR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION JOURNEY
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we are committed to taking a good hard look at how we operate to make sure that our policies and initiatives reflect our values. BESTSELLER has a team focused on increasing Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) across the group. By 2021, all employees will have taken part in a D&I awareness program and we are rolling out training on how we promote cultural understanding to more managers and senior leaders. We are moving away from professional models to feature real guys doing real-life things. We are also excited to be supporting the LGBTQ+ organization It Gets Better through our annual PROUD capsule collection, which has allowed us to literally wear our pride on our sleeves since 2018.
Before we can create a strong Diversity & Inclusion plan, we need to have a good understanding of where we stand. BESTSELLER’s D&I team is undertaking a massive, group-wide data collection effort which will help us form our own strategy and roadmap for the years ahead. We are reviewing our current D&I policy and being transparent about our journey. Starting in Spring 2022, we will publish an annual diversity report and we are encouraging our markets and brands to achieve local goals to support initiatives that back up our overarching policies.
But while data is important, we also need to start taking action. Managers and senior leaders are being given specific training on how to promote cultural understanding. By the end of 2021, all JACK & JONES employees will have been introduced to a D&I awareness program to eliminate bias, ensure equal opportunities and be transparent about promotion, reviews and development opportunities.
We all know that a slogan is not going to change the world but, with our annual PROUD capsule collection. we can show solidarity with our community by putting our beliefs out there for everyone to see. Since 2018, we have donated proceeds from the sale of the collection to the non-profit organization It Gets Better, which empowers LGBTQ+ youth around the world. We have also launched a unisex collection that we are promoting on our website and with our partners.
We are also starting to feature more “real guys” from all types, shapes, ages and ethnicities in our campaigns. Because who needs chiseled abs when you are feeling good and looking great? Take part here.
SUPPORTING IMPACTFUL INITIATIVES ACROSS THE WORLD — AND IN OUR OWN BACKYARD
Beyond our work to drive sustainability across every area of the business, we are simultaneously using our sales to philanthropically support some incredible organizations around the globe. Through the BESTSELLER FOUNDATION, we are able to fund projects like the Waste to Value Accelerator Program in Africa, World Wildlife Fund in India and international organizations like Doctors Without Borders. Closer to home, we take huge pride in our annual sponsorship program where we get to support impactful, community-based initiatives in and around our home town of Brande, Denmark.
The BESTSELLER FOUNDATION currently supports 41 organizations, projects and social businesses working toward sustainable growth, the wellbeing of our natural world and better jobs and opportunity for vulnerable communities. In recent years, the foundation has focused its activities around an important and ambitious mission — accelerating the transition to a circular economy by doubling down on reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
In 2019, the BESTSELLER FOUNDATION launched the Waste to Value Accelerator, which is the first program of its kind in East Africa and has so far provided six start-ups with technical and financial support to combat the growing amount of waste in the region. We are excited by the investment into Rwandan company Umuti, which makes eco-friendly paper bags from the trunks of discarded banana and plantain trees. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Vuma either. They are a Kenyan-based company making biofuel from sugar cane waste to help curb the use of trees for firewood. Also in Kenya, we are piloting a textile recycling service which we believe has the potential to make a pretty big impact on clothing waste. And this is just the start; we are actively on the lookout for more trailblazing entrepreneurs and organizations to support through this program.
Through the BESTSELLER FOUNDATION, we have also launched the Young Environment Ambassador Award, which annually recognizes three exceptional young people for their environmental contributions, and teamed up with Race for Oceans to support their work around ocean waste, enabling them to go global. In India, your purchases have made it possible for us to fund the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), an organization focused on educating the next generation of planet-first ambassadors; Harisu Dala, a social impact group that upskill and empower female waste pickers in Bengaluru; Waste Warriors, a non-profit helping waste pickers in the Himalayas and the World Wildlife Fund, which is campaigning to end ghost fishing gear.
Even though we are a big company now, we still remember where we came from. So every year, we proudly fund and support community projects in Brande, Denmark, where our HQ is based. In 2021, we sponsored five different initiatives in Brande, from sports clubs that use riding as physiotherapy for the disabled to free sewing lessons where community residents can learn to make and mend their own clothes. Organizations can apply each year with winners chosen on the basis of projects that will have the most positive impact on Brande and the local area, as well as those that spark the most pride within BESTSELLER.
And how cool is it that we have been the official clothing partner for the Danish Olympics and Paralympics for the last four Olympic Games, going back to 2008? Better still that these outfits are our most sustainable Olympic collection yet — though we are looking forward to raising the bar even higher through our continued partnership for the Paris 2024 games.