Author: Bergen, Rachel
Date published: November 28, 2011
There is a difference between doing well and doing good in business, Grant Unrau says. Doing good is something that Stun Collective, a strategic design company, strives to do on a daily basis.
Unrau is the co-founder and a contributing team member, along with his wife Janelle. Stun Collective, a Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) member with offices in Austin, Tex., and Saskatoon, Sask., has been around since 2006. It was born after the Unraus quit their respective jobs in the corporate world to do some good in the world.
"I used to have basically the biggest design firm of its kind in the United States," Grant says.
"I worked in retail marketing and advertising for 18 years," adds Janelle. "I was able in some ways to bring my faith into my work, but I didn't feel good about what was going on."
Although working in the public trade sector was not right for the couple, it was a good learning experience, Janelle says, "to apply that now in a faith-based context is really important."
After years of travelling and soul searching, the Unraus established Stun Collective and started suggesting that companies they work with who are doing well also do good in the world.
"We choose to work with businesses that ultimately fit our worldview," says Grant. "The bulk of our in-house work is for organizations that are arguably making the world a better place."
These include a camp in upstate New York that offers inner-city children the opportunity to connect with creation for a week. Stun Collective did a re-branding campaign, including a capital campaign, a new website, and a new logo for this camp. The couple also worked with a thrift store network to discover what new marketing directions they could take.
As a member of MEDA, Stun Collective often meets prospective clients with similar worldviews at MEDA conferences. It also offers discounts to companies that make socially and environmentally responsible choices in business. But their faith in God and Anabaptist worldview doesn't just affect the companies the Unraus work with. It also affects how they interact with staff, their side projects, the coffee they consume at work and their plans for building renovations.
"We built a different kind of business" from the kind they used to work for, Grant says.
Grant and Janelle are currently working with a Saskatoon coffee shop that serves fairly and directly traded coffee, and which supports local artists by buying and helping to sell their wares. "This coffee shop may be one of the most culturally and socially diverse spaces in [Saskatoon] right now," says Grant. "That can only be a good thing."
Strong believers in fair trade, the Stun Collective office serves fair-trade coffee and chocolate. "We still drink a lot of coffee, but at least now someone's kid in Guatemala gets a decent breakfast out of the deal," the collective's website says.
The Unraus are also focused on environmental stewardship.
"We are doing a light renovation of our Saskatoon office space," says Grant. "We are using strictly reclaimed materials to bring it up to a nice office level. We are trying to reduce the use of chemicals in our processes."
In all of this, the Unraus can feel good about going to work.
"Now, when I come home at the end of the day, I think, 'Wow, I accomplished something today that I can feel good about.'" Janelle says.
BY RACHEL BERGEN