Core values are something we talk about a lot at BPI. We’ve been talking about what it means to be a “great company” since before we started Trinculo’s Attic back in 2012: What makes a company great for its employees? For its customers? And for the community and the greater world that it operates in? The answers to those questions have guided every decision we’ve made, and so far, they haven’t failed us yet.
As we bring new people into the business, it’s really important to us that they understand BPI’s values, and that they use them to guide their work as well – decisions, interactions with customers, and with each other. We’ve written our values down and codified them a bit to make them easy for everyone to refer to, but we don’t ever want them to become just some words on a page. Our values are baked into everything we do as a company, and they will continue to guide us as BPI grows and changes in the years to come.
We love making cool stuff. But if we just wanted to make cool stuff, Ben could have kept his job in theatre consulting and bought an Arduino kit to play with on the weekends (not that that’s a bad thing – if that’s what you’re into, you do you!). But that path wasn’t for us.
We wanted to have an impact. To make work a little easier for a Broadway electrician. To change the way an architectural lighting designer thinks about her options. To make a difference in the industry, community, and world we live and work in. And the best way to make an impact? Make cool stuff that makes people’s lives easier, and grow the business so we have more resources with which to make a bigger impact.
That’s it. That’s what we’re trying to do. Each of the rest of our values is important on its own, and you can read more about them below. But they’re also all in service to that one core mission: Make cool stuff. Change the world.
Employees first. We strive to foster an environment where employees enjoy working, feel like they belong, and have the opportunity and support to grow. Because our employees ARE our business. We couldn’t do what we do without them, and we want them to grow and thrive along with us.
We also believe in finding great people, and then figuring out how to put their skills and talents to the best use. We want every employee working in their “zone of genius”: doing something they’re great at, passionate about, and that makes them excited to come to work every day.
Making cool stuff is all well and good, but just being “cool” isn’t enough. We work to produce the highest quality products possible, with rigorous testing before they ship. Our products should make our customers’ lives easier, not harder, and the best way to ensure that is to hold all of our production and testing processes to the highest standards.
We also have our roots in live theatre, where missing a deadline just isn’t an option. We bring that same dedication to our work in the manufacturing world – just because the curtain isn’t going up at 8pm doesn’t mean it’s okay to leave our customers hanging. We want them to trust that they can rely on us to deliver when we say we will, so we work to ship everything on time, and be upfront and honest with our customers when problems arise.
These standards carry through to our work as a team as well – we respect, encourage, and support each other, and we take pride in the work we do together. We give everything we do the attention and effort it deserves, and we continuously strive to make improvements, building the best business, team, and products we possibly can.
Shipping quality product is one part of great customer service, but the customer’s experience doesn’t end when their order ships – that’s only the beginning. We want our customers to know that they can come to us anytime, with any issue, and get their problems solved as quickly and efficiently as possible.
More than that, though, we want them to enjoy their interactions with us, from using our products to calling us for help to chatting with us on social media. We’re a small, friendly business, and our customers are part of the BPI family – we don’t ever want that to change.
No business exists in a bubble. We are a part of the community of North Braddock, where our shop is based, and of nearby Pittsburgh, and of the greater world. We care about each of those communities, and we want to work with them and give back to them whenever we can.
Short-term, that looks like donating a portion of our profits to a local nonprofit every quarter. Longer term, we have plans to work with our neighborhood to beautify the empty lot next to our shop and make a place for the local kids to hang out when they’re not playing basketball across the street. Even longer term, we dream of growing the business to the point that we can employ local folks and put more of our money back into the North Braddock/East Pittsburgh economy.
The tech industry, and the lighting world, are notoriously dominated by white men. (We should know, Ben is one of them.) As a small manufacturing company, there’s not a lot we can do to change the nature of the industry as a whole, but we want to actively work to combat the wider problem of racism in as many small ways as we can.
Right now, this looks like choosing to spend our money with Black-owned businesses whenever possible, and seeking out relationships with technical programs at local high schools, to make our pool of potential future employees more diverse.
This is an ongoing learning process, and we have big plans to do more as the company grows, but we have taken the Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge, and are committed to building anti-racism, inclusion, and belonging into our buisness as we grow.
This one really supports all of our other values and makes them all possible. The more sustainable, stable and effective our business is, the happier our employees will be, the better we can serve our customers, the more cool stuff we can make, and the more resources we’ll have to make a difference in the ways and places that are important to us. Changing the world takes time, and we’re building a business that will be here, making cool stuff, for a long time to come.