This is our first election season as small business owners, so it has been important for us to spend time examining the candidates’ stances on issues that we wouldn’t have given much thought to in the past — small business taxes, health-care regulations, import/export rules and so on.
While other matters, like women’s rights, are also important to us in our identities as young women, the candidates’ positions as they relate to small business certainly take paramount importance in our voting decisions.
As business owners, we do not feel it is our place to tell our employees which policies or candidates to support. In fact, none of our employees know our political affiliations — nor do our business associates or clients — and we plan to keep it that way.
While we do not engage in the conversation, we do not discourage discussion among our employees. We have built ‘ZinePak by catering to “super fans,” as we affectionately call them — those people who are so interested in a person, band, brand or team that they want to know everything about him, her, it or them. Each of our ‘ZinePak releases caters to these “super fans,” and we relish the love they have for these icons (and our product).
Many of our team members have that same fervor for one the candidates as the entertainment fans to whom we cater. We can appreciate this parallel, and it’s an interesting study, for us, in the almost cult-like followings the candidates amass during en election season.
One thing we have reminded our team members is that everyone wants the same thing. Although both political parties have fundamental disagreements about the ways to go about things, all Americans agree that we want the strongest, safest, best country possible — we just don’t all agree on the right path to get there. We appreciate and admire the conviction of our employees on both sides of the spectrum.
Like many small businesses, we’re looking for fun ways to capture the excitement around the election and use it for a marketing gain. We have releases from five iconic artists on November 6: Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, The Temptations, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Styx. We’re inviting fans to “vote” for their favorite ICON through various social media activations and we will re-skin our social media pages around the election to a patriot theme touting our own five “candidates.”
Above all, we encourage constructive passion — whether that be in life, work, family, sports or politics. Though we may not voice our own passions when it comes to politics, we do voice one message to all employees: It’s important to vote.
We promote the positive message of getting involved in the future of the nation and voting on election day. Whether that means taking an extra long lunch or coming in late, we plan to make it as easy as possible for our team members to do their part in participating in every American’s greatest right — the right to freely choose the next president of the United States.
Brittany Hodak and Kim Kaupe are co-founders of ‘ZinePak (ZEEN pack), a New York-based start-up that creates custom fan magazines paired with CDs or DVDs and limited-edition merchandise.
How does your company handle politics in the workplace — hush-hush or an open forum? Please join the conversation below.
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