The roots of Oakland, California spread wide and deep, metaphorically and literally, with colorful culture and a diverse population.
Brightpearl customer Oaklandish reflects the city’s culture back to its citizens. Their civic pride line of apparel and accessories designed with “local love and original Oakland charm,” allows them to donate proceeds to local community projects and partnerships.
Their influence and impact, dating back to 2006, landed Oaklandish on the Fortune Inner City 100 list for being “in the service of the local community or the company’s employees.”
In those early years Oaklandish operated a “mobile” business before smartphones existed, selling screenprinted branded hoodies, hats, T-shirts and stickers out of a camper van they dubbed “the rig” and through their online Magento store.
As the Oaklandish reputation grew, with fans of the brand sporting their local pride via the oak-influenced logo, the company moved from the rig to a permanent space in the heart of downtown Oakland. The store is chock full of local memorabilia, including pop culture pieces like a ‘Fruitvale’ movie poster signed by the actors in the film during their visit to the store.
Expanding their line from the shop’s in-house designers, Oaklandish also features independent Oakland artists who approach them with concepts for products, keeping manufacturing locally in California for all their pieces.
Co-founder, Angela Tsay, explains in the Oaklandish Customer Story, how the company standardized on the Brightpearl platform to support scalability and streamline operations.
“Brightpearl allows us to act big at a budget we can afford,” she said. “We can think strategically rather than just working to keep our heads above water.”
While Oaklandish has doubled payroll and grown revenue 25%-35% annually, they continue to live their civic pride brand.
The latest partnership, which includes Oaklandish’s sister company therethere, is with Grit Media, a new Oakland-based media company focusing on global sports culture. The collaborative video series, “A Coach in the Deep East,” tells the story of Ed Washington, coach for East Oakland’s Castlemont football team. To combat the area’s history of violence and crime he inspires his students with discipline and a nurturing, family atmosphere, determined to change their path in life.
What started as a guerilla street art project in 2000 is now a thriving business on the path for sustainable growth. Oaklandish has made an indelible mark in Oakland, down in San Jose where they’ve opened a South Bay retail store, and across the country where “pride of place” lives via the ‘therethere’ online store.
“Oaklanders really value locally made products and small businesses,” Tsay stated to Fortune. “They understand that the economic impact of shopping at a local store as opposed to a big box store and the implications that has for jobs and the community.”