"What does DEMDACO do?"
By: Jonathan Jones, Cultural Conversation Leader
This is a question I’m often asked when I’m out and about in the Kansas City business community. Since we’ve primarily been a wholesaler for the past 25 years, I understand the lack of name recognition; however, I don’t immediately say, “We’re a gift company. We design, manufacture, and sell giftable products.” We do have amazing products, but that’s not what we do. What we do, our Mission, is to strive to Lift the Spirit in consumers, in each other, and in our communities.
“What does DEMDACO do?”
Here’s my answer: DEMDACO’s mission, what we do, is to strive to Lift the Spirit in consumers, in each other, and in our communities. How we’re able to do that, or how we fund that, is by designing, manufacturing, and selling amazing gifts and home décor products.
Typically, the follow-up question I will get is about how we lift the spirit in our communities.
DEMDACO has been involved in the community since our beginning 25 years ago. This involvement is primarily focused on Kansas City, where our headquarters and distribution center are located. But our reach is national because our sales force is spread throughout the United States.
There are three aspects to our community involvement, or how we evaluate our mission to Lift the Spirit in our communities.
First, are financial donations. Max Depree, former CEO of Hermann-Miller and author of Leadership Is an Art, said, “Companies should view profit like air. We don’t live to breathe, but we need air to live.” We agree with this view. Companies have a responsibility to be profitable. But there’s an even greater responsibility with how that profit is invested. Like many other companies, DEMDACO believes part of that responsibility is investing in your community. Over our 25 years we’ve invested financially in Children's Mercy Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Veterans Community Project, Heart to Heart International and Wayside Waifs just to name a few.
The second way we’re lifting the spirit in our communities is through product donations. We do have amazing products. Our artists and designers are industry leaders. They continue to create the most amazing things. As a result, we receive weekly product requests for silent auctions, community donations, disaster situations, and other fundraising events. We’re grateful that our products are regularly chosen to help others invest in their communities.
And lastly, and most important to us, is the investment of time in our communities. We do this two ways. The first is Giving Day. Giving Day is an annual event where we shut down operations and partner with 10–12 non-profits to help them in their work. Many of these organizations are ones we’ve given to financially. The second way we give time is with Lift the Spirit Days. Each colleague has five paid days a year to be involved in the community. It can be used by the hour. Some colleagues spend their time at a nonprofit organization. Others may choose to use their time at their child’s school. And some might be helping an elderly neighbor or parent. We want colleagues to choose how they could best serve in their own community.