GOOD Company: Changing the way Calgarians think about Business & Meaningful Employment!

Chris and Gillian jump2_smlWritten by Allison Smith, Thrive

This year marks the 1 year anniversary of GOOD Company doing good for good people.  The company was founded by the talented, community champions Gillian Hickie and Chris Wharton (pictured above). The nitty gritty of what they do is branding, promotional materials and website design. Plus, they strive to work with clients that they connect with and that are making an impact in Calgary. While having a bit of fun too!

Both have rich backgrounds in graphic design, with the dream of being business owners on the back burner. Thankfully for Calgarians, their shared dream came to light last year.  “Being able to create something that is aligned with our own thinking rather than have it dictated to us, has been a fantastic, positive experience,” Chris described his experience as a social entrepereneur.

Creating a Model for Meaningful Employment.

The two described the transition as a leap of faith that has been very rewarding. With nothing but good things to say about their work, community and their clients, the words meaningful employment practically exuded from their smiles.

“What is a good model for a creative company? What do people want in their  job-life balance?” asked Gillian. They are very conscious to consider meaningful employment both for themselves and their contract designers. Such as ensuring work place flexibility or fostering a collaborative, open work culture. Prior to launching GOOD Company Gillian created a company culture handbook that has been integrated in their everyday practices. She’s already dreaming ahead to when they start taking on more full-time hires. “Treating our employees fair is a given, it’s about going further than that,” Chris added. Although, the vision has always been to become a boutique size design firm.

The two are living wage advocates and definitely take it into consideration when contracting. “If people are happy with what they are being paid, they’ll do better work and end up wanting to work for you more often,” Gillian explains one reason why it’s important to pay a living wage.

GOOD Co_hold logos

They’re Picky About Their Clients… For Good Reason.

GOOD Company works with clients that are doing good. There is no strict criteria as to what “GOOD” is, whether that’s environmental, social or economical. “Nothing is clear cut, they have to be trying to do good things and trying to innovate,” Chris explained. Although, they have turned away individuals that do not meet their impact model. It’s been a bold and brave move to set such criteria, that could have worked against them. However, they’re happy with its reception, especially with the movement in socially responsible businesses in Calgary. “There’s something distinct about us, that people want to self identify with,” said Gillian.

“There is a bit of mythology about Calgary and the industry in Calgary, that you need to have some oil and gas,  or you can’t make it without a little in Calgary,” Chris described the misconception.  On the flip side is the belief that if you want to do good, you have to design for charity. They have been pleasantly surprised that neither holds true. With clients ranging from non-profits, for-profits and social entrepreneurs.

They are changing the way we think about business and how we do business, especially in the design sector. Businesses can look beyond the bottom line, and critically think about their mission, impact and their choice of clients. By setting such principles and guidelines in their business practices, hopefully GOOD Company can influence other local business owners to do the same!


To help celebrate their 1 year anniversary, GOOD Company is hosting its’ second Grow Your Good Initiative. It’s simple. Let them know the good you’re doing, and you could win $1000 in design work! For more information on contest details, visit: GrowYourGood

Check out the new GOOD Company website  and more awesome jumping pictures here:

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