Second Place Winner; DEI Global Case Writing Competition.
This case examines a small, high-growth women’s athletic apparel company’s activities to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and impact the apparel industry, while ensuring its internal organization and operations are aligned with its political and social stances. Founded as a “for women by women’’ company, Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) has a brand mission focused on women’s empowerment. Its leaders support sociopolitical causes such as Planned Parenthood and Black Voters Matter.
In the athletic retail industry, critics have found misalignment between companies’ external branding and internal leadership. For example, Nike and Adidas marketing campaigns have championed female athletes and called for increased representation of women in sports, yet their own executive teams and board members are primarily men. Oiselle is led by women, who are increasingly elevating diversity in their branding, including highlighting gender, race, and LGBTQ+ disparities in the industry.
The case presents background information on Oiselle and an overview of the business case for DEI. The case then asks students to wrestle with fundamental questions like the role of business in advancing DEI and how companies can incorporate DEI in a manner consistent with their business model.