Start where you are.  

Use what you have.

Do what you can.



Annual Benefit Report

1525, Inc.





Our Commitment to the Triple Bottom Line

1525 is a woman owned and operated business based in Tigard, Oregon partnering with clients all around the United States.  We specialize in creative promotional solutions that honor the identity and individuality of our clients.  Our small but passionate team loves helping companies bring their brands to life with promotional campaigns that leave a lasting impression.  The companies that choose to partner with us value the expertise, experience, energy, and high attention to detail we give to each and every project.

The ability to operate 1525 while remaining true to core values is extremely important to us.  Efforts began with the #domoregood hashtag.  The message was based on the quote by Arthur Ashe:  “Start where you are.  Use what you have. Do what you can.”  In response to a sense of overwhelm, this was an excellent beginning for a stronger sense of social responsibility and a belief that our efforts could make a difference.  Two years later we were introduced to the concept of a “Benefit Corporation”.  Pursuit of this certification was a no-brainer.

We worked with Benefit Corporations for Good.  They helped us through the process of evaluating our company and understanding how a commitment to the Triple Bottom Line aligned with our own values.  We were certified in 2019 and we also registered our status with the Oregon Secretary of State.

What is the Triple Bottom Line?  It is a commitment to People, Planet, and Profit.  Pretty nifty!!



Our North Star


We believe in Authenticity, Telling the Truth, and being Good Citizens of the Planet.  

In our world, Kindness is the norm, Promises are kept, and Sustainability is more than just a buzzword. 

At a time when many are being asked to choose sides – what we call the either/or paradox – we want it all.  We can do good work, be environmentally responsible, treat our colleagues, customers, vendor partners, and community members well, AND – still make a fair profit. 

If we can do all of this and be a little bit goofy in the process – that’s a bonus.  🙂


Core Values


We are genuine and honest with our clients in order to establish a foundation of trust and understanding. As with client relationships, our promotional campaigns are authentic, creative and one-of-a-kind.


It matters to us that your promotional products make sense. And whenever possible, we believe they should be FUN and FUNctional. We’re not locked into a brand or a process, and that translates into a freedom to be creative.


Pivot power is essential in this business! There are a lot of moving parts to a project – from product selection to production to distribution. Pivoting away from problems towards solutions is a special kind of mastery.


We are part of an industry with millions of products and hundreds of production processes.  A curious mind not only keeps us current with the latest options – it also helps us learn more about our clients so we can find the best solutions.


We value our clients, colleagues, and suppliers.  Success means that everybody wins.  It’s about ethical standards and respect.  And in our opinion – it’s the ONLY way to do business.


We’d much rather see the glass half full than empty.  After all, it’s the same darn glass!  So much in life is a matter of perspective.  Positivity, gratitude, and hope make life – including business –  a lot more fun and rewarding. 😁

Intro to 2020

The Year of Covid 19

2020 was a crazy, twilight-zone, scary year!  The question started as – how do we survive?  Quickly we shifted our mindset to – how do we thrive?  How do we create value and create the win-win-win during a pandemic?  Our manifesto and core values came in mighty handy in 2020!

We ended up experiencing record sales, spread the wealth with many of our vendor partners, and were able to provide large quantities of PPE gear to our senior community clients and other medical clients at significantly reduced prices (because it was the right thing to do), AND we still achieved our profit goals!

Summary Review


From our Manifesto:   Treat our colleagues, customers, vendor partners, and community members well…

From our Core Values:  We value our clients, colleagues, and suppliers. Success means that everybody wins. It’s about ethical standards and respect. And in our opinion – it’s the ONLY way to do business.

The mandate is to treat ALL of our stakeholders well.


1.  After an initial one-month furlough period, we were able to have our entire crew back full time.  In addition to that, we were able to bonus at the end of the year to help offset wage loss during the furlough.

2.  We implemented a “12 Week Year” plan with goals and metrics for all employees tracked via individual dashboards.  Weekly meeting created accountability, time to celebrate wins, as well as identify new opportunities to thrive.


1.  We checked in with clients on a personal level – to see if they were ok & to ask if there was anything we could do to help.  We quickly learned to stay connected via zoom and other video platforms.

2.  Our industry became a major supplier of PPE and initially when pricing was skyrocketing, we cut our margins significantly.   Profiting off of overpriced product needed for survival is not consistent with our manifesto.

3.  The big pivot was understanding that the tangible quality of marketing merch filled a need during this time.  It helped people feel connected.  Thoughtfully curated swag kits that were individually packaged and shipped to recipient’s homes filled a need and saved our year.

Vendor Partners: 

1.  Just as with clients, we checked in with our vendor partners to make sure they were ok.

2.  We had a few VERY large projects come through, and rather than negotiate a better price for production based on quantity, we opted to pay a premium and share the wealth.  We were also very diligent about paying for services up front or before due to assist with our vendor partners cash flow.


1.   Community engagement was minimal with the social distancing rules.  We did manage to get out and plog regularly.  😁 “Do what you can!”

People Goals for 2020 – How did it go?

1.  Metrics around employee development:  Our 12-Week Year gamified the setting and reaching of goals.  Employee development was an aspect of this.

2.  Create a more diverse team as we grow:  We did not add any employees so no progress with this goal.

3.  Pick a cause to contribute to financially:  This also did not happen, but we did assist our employees, clients, and vendor-partners.

People Goals for 2021

1.  Continue the good habit of maintaining our 12-Week Year dashboards.

2.  Research the Social Responsibility mandates when selecting vendors to work with.

3.  Pick a cause to contribute to financially. 



Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.  In that order.

In 2020, we continued to implement changes made in 2019 such as

1.  Eliminate disposable kitchen items.  We each brought our own dishes & silverware to stay compliant with Covid rules.

2.  Water filtration system in our sink eliminated the need for bottled water.  Employees provided their own water bottles

3.  Color coded towels (by employee) in the bathroom and frequent laundering.

4.  We continued to recycle anything that can be.  Paper, glass, packaging, etc.

5.  We are extremely mindful of the Marketing Merchandise solutions that we offer our clients, steering them towards more sustainable options.  In addition to this, we were creative in our packaging for individual shipments (another big Covid pivot), and reused materials as much as possible.  This included recycling packaging such as boxes & foam from neighbors in our complex instead of purchasing new material.

6.  Our Preferred Vendors have formal Social Responsibility programs in place.

Planet Goals for 2020 – How did we do?

Honestly, it was a bit of a mad scramble and the goal to create metrics to better understand our impact fell by the wayside.

The good news? We stayed true to our values.  Our actions were consistent with our manifesto.

Planet Goals for 2021

Remain vigilant with our efforts and create Metrics to better understand our impact. 



Most important is the belief that we can do good work, be environmentally responsible, treat our colleagues, customers, vendor partners, and community members well, AND – still make a fair profit.

1525 experienced 72% growth in 2020.  Even though we discounted PPE orders significantly when the pricing was high, we still managed to hit our margin goals for the year.

Profit Goals for 2020 – how did we do?

1.  We crushed our goal of 20% sales growth.

2.  Remain audaciously optimistic as we pivot services during unusual times – thus better serving our clients.  Who knew then how important this would be.  We heard that up to a third of the companies in our industry went out of business in 2020.  Controlling the initial panic and facing the challenge aggressively seems to have made all the difference.

3.  Women Owned / Emerging Small Business certification.  We achieved our ESB Certification but not the Woman Owned.

4.  Create stronger banking relationships.  This did happen

5.  Incorporate a Giving line item into the Profit & Loss projections so it becomes a budgeted line item.  Although this did not happen formally, we did contribute by helping our senior community clients and healthcare clients secure PPE at significantly reduced margins.

Profit Goals for 2021

1.  Maintain our sales level from 2020.

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