We’re Raising Our Minimum Wage

Our starting wage will be $22 on April 1, 2022. Here’s why we’re investing in our employees.

On April 1, 2022, East Fork will instate a $22 minimum wage as part of our ongoing commitment to create meaningful employment opportunities that support financial well-being for our Western North Carolina community, while remaining financially solvent.

On February 22, 2022, you will notice a $2 increase on two of our most popular items—the Mug and the Everyday Bowl. CEO Connie Matisse says, “While we’re proud of this wage increase, the win can’t be celebrated without the sobering acknowledgement of the gaps it won’t fill; with the City of Asheville’s ongoing prioritization of the tourist industry and an influx of new residents leaving metropolises, East Fork’s workers are finding themselves priced out of their homes.” Early this year, Just Economics of WNC adjusted Asheville’s living wage to $17.70/hr. Neither our state’s minimum wage nor the federal minimum wage has increased from $7.25/hr for 12 years.

The wage increase comes one year after we raised the minimum pay to $20/hr and on the tail end of a series of changes to support our mission of having a direct and measurable positive impact on our community. This includes receiving our B Corp Certification, becoming climate-neutral certified, and a realignment of our leadership team, with CMO Connie Matisse moving into the CEO position, and Alex Matisse, East Fork’s Founder, serving as Board Chair to steer our long-term vision.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, but healthy communities depend on caretaking, and we wanted our living wage math to extend beyond the typical expenses of an individual with no dependents. We use MIT’s living wage calculator to help us sync our entry-level wage with the needs of a theoretical 2 working adult / 2 child household,” says John Vigeland, CFO and Co-Founder. In addition to our new starting pay for entry-level roles, we also offer a 4% match to employee contributions to our 401(k), education around investments, 8-weeks paid parental leave, 8-week paid medical leave, health, vision, dental, and life insurance as well as a 50% discount on products.

Matisse says, “Federal and state governments are failing to do their part in addressing growing wage disparity in our country. While we advocate for government to do its job, the onus is on businesses to account for their workforce’s financial reality, and for consumers to make thoughtful choices about where they spend their disposable income."

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