An Office Redesign Opens the Opportunity to Support Businesses You Believe In

Business can and should be a force for doing good, and that extends to how a business designs and decorates its spaces. In Rockridge Venture Law’s Cookeville, Tennessee, conference room, we feature local artists and sustainable furnishings, which are seen by all of our existing and prospective clients. This maple slab table was crafted by local artisan Aaron McPherson and the chairs were sourced from World Market, which is committed to high standards in its supply chain practices.

Offices and workspaces act as reflections of a business’s personality—they can be funky, serious, modern, rustic. But these spaces are also a representation of a business’s values—a chance for companies to share with employees and clients the mission of their organization through intentional purchases. Whether you’re setting up a new office or redesigning a current space, you can choose to support local artists in your community and purchase from companies with a stated mission to have a positive impact in the world.

Rockridge Venture Law has offices in Chattanooga and Cookeville, Tennessee, and Durham, North Carolina. We challenged ourselves to live our values during our recent Cookeville expansion. As a Certified B Corporation law group, we wanted to support people creating in our community and fellow purpose-driven businesses so our clients could be exposed to the stories of these companies as they worked with us.

Local Matters

Data supports that purchasing from local retailers has a positive multiplier effect—these businesses are more likely to spend a higher percentage of the dollars we spend with them within our communities, thus multiplying our positive impacts therein. According to a review of more than a dozen studies, the American Independent Business Council estimates that, on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses gets recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.

Herman Miller chairs rescued from a sidewalk rainstorm (and diligently scrubbed); table by Brad Sells and Armand Bussell; hide from client Jay Bauman of Amish-Mennonite community Muddy Pond.

One of the pieces in our office is the product of a trade passed down locally through generations of one family.

“I grew up working for my dad and his leather shop, as the third generation in this industry,” says Jay Bauman, a member of the nearby Amish-Mennonite community Muddy Pond and a Rockridge client who started his business 15 years ago in the basement of his house.

Bauman does more than make amazing products—he has donated items to charity auctions in the past and has spent 12 years as a volunteer firefighter for his local fire department. And Bauman says working with a fellow local business makes his time spent with the Rockridge legal team feel personal, “not like a big corporation.” It echoes the feelings we have about buying a one-of-a-kind rug from him.

Ripples of Impact

The dollars our businesses spend make further positive impacts when we support others with a mission beyond profits. For example, we are also a 1% for the Planet member company, meaning at least 1% of our sales (in the form of retainers) are donated to nonprofits working on environmental and climate issues. You can read more about our nonprofit partners here.

To reinforce our commitment to community and other businesses that give back through their actions, we make conscious decisions to partner with other B Corps and 1% for the Planet members. These include Freezeout Coffee, another purpose-driven business founded with protecting the planet in mind that became a 1% for the Planet member earlier this year.

In launching Freezeout Coffee in Duncans Mills, California, Jim Cole saw a market for an artisanal coffee company that gives back to the environment—what he calls his company’s “whole reason for being”—by sharing part of its revenue with environmental stewards—including Sonoma Land Trust.

“Consumers are responding, and in our first two years we’ve channeled more than 20% of revenue to land preservation in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco,” he says. “Not long after we started Freezeout Coffee, we learned of 1% for the Planet and quickly decided it made perfect sense for us to be part of a much larger community and movement of businesses that want to make a positive impact in the world.”

When we signed up for Freezeout Coffee’s subscription service, Rockridge became its first B Corp customer. Cole says our buy-in felt like a “giant stamp of approval,” reinforcing his business concept that customers are looking to spend their dollars with companies that prioritize the environment.

What were Cole’s thoughts after receiving our order? “Wow—the exact people we are trying to reach understand us and believe in our vision,” he says. “Soon after Rockridge become a customer, they shared an Instagram post about Freezeout Coffee, and we really felt loved and that we truly are part of a powerful community that is remapping the future of business in this country.”

By supporting purpose-driven businesses like Freezeout Coffee, local artisans like Jay Bauman, and other companies that act as a force for good every day, Rockridge is living its B Corp values while creating an office space that provides a sense of place and a tie to our roots.

Additional office furnishings and supplies are sourced nationally from fellow B Corps Patagonia (branded apparel), Fully (furnishings), and Soma (water purification). Below are some additional images and descriptions on how we’ve lived our values in our office space—we hope we inspire you to find new ways to work with like-minded and local businesses!

Sculpture by Brad Sells, benefitting Interfaith Peace Project.

 

Repurposed barn wood shelving from Dry Levee; print by local photographer Thomas Nero; succulent by Nature.

 

Painting by environmental justice artist and activist Jane Norling.

 

Chouinard Piolet signed by Yvon Chouinard, Chairman of Patagonia, at 1% for the Planet forum; print by Thomas Nero.

 

Desk by Brad Sells.

 

Teddy Roosevelt painting by Lena Reynoso

 

Coffee by fellow 1% for the Planet member Freezeout Coffee; kicks by fellow Tennessee B Corp member Nisolo.

 

Sketch by artist and social activist Kelly Bonadies; reclaimed timber bench by Dry Levee.

 

We participate in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Power Switch program, paying additional premiums to offset our energy usage through renewable power production.

 

Painting by Hadas Tal.

 

About Kevin Christopher

Kevin Christopher

Kevin is founder and principal of Rockridge®. Kevin’s practice areas include corporate, patent and trademark law. He is an entrepreneur, NIH RADx faculty member and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) reviewer. He mentors impactful and innovative founders through First Flight Venture Center, Oak Ridge National Lab Innovation Crossroads, and Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. Kevin has been recognized as a SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters and Top Business Leader by Conscious Company Magazine. Read more about Kevin, connect with him, and Calendly him.

RVL recommended reading by Kevin:

Plainspeak IP: IP Fundamentalist of Fundamentals

Plainspeak IP: Social Media Influencers

Grading Georgia’s Public Benefit Corporation Law

Improving Your Trademark EQ: How to Choose a RAD Trademark

What is a Patent? Why do I Need One? How can I Get One? What’s it Gonna Cost Me?

Common Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

About RVL®

Rockridge Venture Law® was launched in 2017 to become the preeminent intellectual property and technology firm across the Appalachian Innovation Corridor. We now have offices in Chattanooga, Durham, and Nashville, and represent clients and interests globally. Our services include all aspects of intellectual property, litigation, M&A, privacy, technology transactions, and ventures.

In 2018 and 2019, we were recognized as B Corp Best for the World for our commitment to triple bottom line business practices. Rockridge® is also certified by 1% for the Planet for its nonprofit partnerships advancing stewardship and sustainability. RVL’s nonprofit partners in 2020 include Green|Spaces, Living Lands and Waters, Mustard Seed Ranch, and the NC State Lulu Games Social and Environmental Impact Competition. We value transparency and proudly publish our yearly impact reports.

Our pioneering environmental and social impact programs attract top-notch legal talent and assure our clients of missional alignment with their corporate values. Rockridge uniquely addresses two modern profit drivers: innovation (uptake and development), and corporate social responsibility. We’re Building Today’s Company for Tomorrow’s Economy® by leading clients through the dizzying array of information controls, by helping them to develop and monetize proprietary assets, and by enabling their impactful products, programs, and principles.

Learn about global impact and innovation leaders at Rockridge I-Suite®.

See case studies on how we’ve helped transformative companies at Rockridge Case Studies.

Kevin Christopher

Author Kevin Christopher

More posts by Kevin Christopher

CHATTANOOGA
735 Broad Street, STE 1001
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 800-8855

COOKEVILLE
116 Locust Ave, STE E
Cookeville, TN 38501
(931) 650-4055

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Durham, NC 27701
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