22. Nau

Portland, OR

From the Company

Outside editors excerpted this information from the Employer Questionnaire submitted to the Best Companies Group.

We design, manufacture, market and sell sustainable urban and outdoor apparel.

We're a small team. We spend a lot of time together, always talking, testing things out, sketching, asking, heckling, critiquing, and revising. It usually gets too loud. We work hard. We play hard. We like to go outside. A lot of us ride bikes. We also ski, snowboard, climb, surf, run, make music, see music, take pictures, grow food, eat food, stay out late, have families, and have dogs who clack around and sleep at our feet. Collectively, we go through a lot of prosecco, dark chocolate, and beer. And we keep coming back to our Portland office, early in the mornings, until pretty late at night, because we're stuck on an idea: to redesign fashion and to redefine business so that each become a powerful force for change.

We have bike racks and a shower at work to encourage bike commuting and exercise.

Nau's work/life balance is supported by the culture and location of the office in a fun, urban, hip area. Due to a flexible culture, employees will skip out to go run or walk at various times of the day or maybe even take some time and ski/board up in the mountains. The starting or ending times for work is earlier for some and later for others, depending on the choices the employee makes in order to accommodate family and exercise needs.

Individuals may volunteer for an organization or cause they believe in with the approval of a supervisor. As a company we send volunteers on Search for Adventure (SFA) trips. This is an adventure travel program that takes developmentally disabled adults on vacations to places like the Appalachian Trail or a Colorado dude ranch. Most volunteer efforts are paid, some opportunities are monthly and some occur periodically throughout the year. We provide financial support to community partner organizations working to create lasting, positive solutions to some of our planet's most compelling environmental, social and humanitarian problems. Two percent of all sales go to Mercy Corp, Kiva, EcoTrust, Ashoka, and the Breakthrough Institute.

We use natural, renewable fibers produced in a sustainable manner, synthetic fabrics that contain high recycled content, and managed toxics in all product finishes and dyes. We have a closed loop system where all our products can be recycled after their useful life. We use salvaged and recycled materials for our retail fixtures. We take an extraordinarily considered approach to product design and development. We're not satisfied to just buy a roll of "sustainable" fabric and make a garment in the same old way. When we look at the materials, we ask ourselves a number of questions from how and where the fiber was produced (goal: no virgin petroleum products), how close is the mill, to are there any dyes used on our restricted substance list? Each of these questions has a significant effect on how we approach the design and manufacturing process. We also purchase carbon offsets. We use re-usable packaging and ship product to customers in post-consumer recycled or FSC-certified materials.

As a small team we do our best to recognize hard work. Every month at the company meetings we have three awards given (we can all make suggestions before the meeting as to who should be awarded). We recognize for "Above and Beyond," "Spirit," and "Leadership." This comes as verbal praise. However, we all have the random 'thank you' awards which consist of everything from fresh flowers and chocolate to gift certificates for a local eatery.

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