ChicoBags David & Goliath Lesson

September 27, 2011 by  
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Congratulations to ChicoBag . Kinda. A lawsuit filed against the reusable bag company by three of the largest manufacturers of disposable single-use plastic bags has ended. Hilex Poly, who stood alone after Superbag and Advance Poly dropped out of the suit, settled the case with ChicoBag, agreeing to change its position on windblown litter and recycling rates. Yet, ChicoBag had to pay an “undisclosed sum” to Hilex Poly. According to the plaintiffs, ChicoBag created an imitation EPA website to share statistics on plastic bag pollution. The lesson: Large manufacturers will continue to drag ecopreneuers to court, so be 100% honest and transparent in your marketing claims. The truth is on your side after all.

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ChicoBags David & Goliath Lesson

ChicoBags David & Golliath Lesson

September 27, 2011 by  
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Congratulations to ChicoBag . Kinda. A lawsuit filed against the reusable bag company by three of the largest manufacturers of disposable single-use plastic bags has ended. Hilex Poly, who stood alone after Superbag and Advance Poly dropped out of the suit, settled the case with ChicoBag, agreeing to change its position on windblown litter and recycling rates. Yet, ChicoBag had to pay an “undisclosed sum” to Hilex Poly. According to the plaintiffs, ChicoBag created an imitation EPA website to share statistics on plastic bag pollution. The lesson: Large manufacturers will continue to drag ecopreneuers to court, so be 100% honest and transparent in your marketing claims. The truth is on your side after all.

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ChicoBags David & Golliath Lesson

Local Orbit Makes Local Produce Easy to Buy and Sell in Detroit

September 26, 2011 by  
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Locally grown food is the rage these days, with more and more consumers clearly concerned about where their food is coming from. There is an increasing demand for farm produce and growing need to connect directly with producers. But sometimes it’s not always easy to get local food. What do you do if you want locally grown produce, but cannot visit week-day farmer markets? Local Orbit is a new way to buy food and other local goods direct from producers in your community, if you live in the greater Detroit area. Erika Block is the founder of Local Orbit, an Ann Arbor, MI-based tech startup that facilitates the distribution of local, sustainably farmed food and expects to roll Local Orbit out to many more markets nationwide by 2012 – 2013. How Does Local Orbit Work? Each week, sellers update their inventory. Buyers shop online. Within a 24-hour period, sellers deliver their orders to hub sites, which aggregate and pack orders for individual buyers. Buyers either pick up their orders or have them delivered. Wholesale orders that meet basic minimum quantities are delivered directly to the buyer. Local Orbit makes a small, flat-rate percentage on each sale, similar to selling on eBay or Amazon Marketplace. There is no fee for buyers to shop or for sellers to list. Sellers know the fee percentage upfront and work that into their listing price, so there are no hidden charges for anyone. That’s it. Local Orbit is trying to relink the food chain to make local food widely available and easy to buy.  Local Orbit for Buyers, Image Credit, Local Orbit Local Orbit for Sellers: Image Credit, Local Orbit Why did Local Orbit Come About? Local Orbit has evolved after couple of years of conversations with all stakeholders helping to bring ‘local’ into mainstream -farmers, food producers, chefs, eaters and people working to solve food distribution challenges. The need arose from obvious disconnected markets and inefficient communications. Independent food producers are struggling to build sustainable businesses and provide really good food for their customers. They need distribution and marketing support Producers/ Farmers Sell Well Local Orbit’s online tools provide a “back office in a box” for food hubs, entrepreneurs, farmers markets, coops, institutions and community organizations working to increase local and regional food distribution. Producers get help with all the tools to tell their stories and efficiently manage direct sales.  Market coordinators get customized web sites with e-commerce, payment processing, inventory management, marketing, logistics and customer service. Buyers Score Local and Fresh Produce Buyers get convenient, streamlined purchasing and a direct, traceable supply chain. They have easier access to food that is produced locally and are spending their dollars on local farmers and businesses. Erica Block are working to make local, sustainably produced food widely available and easy to buy -for everyone and was recently chosen as a 2011 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow . Kudos Erica!

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Local Orbit Makes Local Produce Easy to Buy and Sell in Detroit

The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

September 23, 2011 by  
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Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, method co-founders, Image courtesy: method Flashback to the year 2000:   Eric’s wondering why cleaning products are so poorly designed, and Adam’s dreaming of green cleaners that actually work and aren’t stinky. Together, these two childhood friends come up with an idea to revolutionize the cleaning world with stylish, eco-friendly products made with non-toxic ingredients that clean like heck and smell like heaven. 2001: method is born, and the Eric and Adam we are talking about are Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, childhood friends and co-founders of method. Fast forward to 2011: In 10 years, method has grown into a $150 million brand — a brand synonymous with green, good and successful. It was ranked the 7th fastest growing company in America by Inc. Magazine in 2006 and the 16th most innovative company in the world by Fast Company. How did method, in 10 years, turn the cleaning business industry upside down, redefine cleaners and set new standards for cleaning supplies? Eric and Adam reveal their successes are tied to their 7 obsessions! They talk about the method story in a book they released this week called ‘The method method’ (an excellent read that is both humorous and gripping). They call these core strategies “obsessions” because they realize that unless you are obsessed about your business values and practices, they could fade away as your business grows. Eric spoke exclusively to Ecopreneurist on the book and these obsessions that make method. Why did they get into the cleaning products business? Eric says “In advertising, I was always trained to look at cultural-shifts in consumer behavior where larger brands are not delivering and we realized this was the right place to be. We asked ourselves, what we could do differently and saw tremendous opportunity in this industry”. Tip: There is wonderful opportunity in well-established industry sectors, where environmental aspects or as Eric says, “cultural shifts” in consumer behavior are not addressed by larger establishments. This is a place small business owners can make a difference. Eric then spoke about partnerships and how the diversity in education and work between the co-founders actually laid a strong foundation for their business model. Eric’s background in advertising and design coupled with Adam’s experience with sustainability and engineering helped method become method. Eric says this partnership was “essential”. He goes on to add, “Our backgrounds were so different, that it helped us find new ways of collaborating, bring about a combination of design + function, that is unique to method. Without Adam, method would have been all life-style design and not much green. Without me, method would have been another drab green cleaner.” Tip: Collaborating with diverse professionals may actually add a unique USP to your product or service, especially in green business where many symbiotic relationships already exist and thrive. As Eric looks back on the 10 years, he says, “Locking down our obsessions and making them integral to our company was very important. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to adhere to these values.” One of method’s “obsessions” was to create a “culture club” or “branding from the inside out”. Eric says, “Creating and maintaining cultures continues to be the hardest value to upkeep. It’s always in motion and changing. Our goal is to create a culture that would inspire us to do our best work while enriching our lives.” He also has two pieces of advice for budding eco-entrepreneurs. One: Starting out a company that is just “green” is not enough these days. Take a product or service and add “green” to it by “disrupting the world of business as-usual.” Two: Emphasize the human connection associated with your product or service. “It’s hard to encourage people to adopt good only on the basis that its good for the planet. To make a lasting impression, bring out the connection that benefits their home, health and daily lives.” So after a glorious 10 years, what is in store for the next decade at method? Eric is thrilled with the excellent foundation that has been created. He says, “The cleaning industry is very dirty- so there is still lots to clean up. We want to continue to grow into newer markets and countries while educating consumers. And of course continue to innovate to stay ahead.” Ahem to that and an even more glorious decade ahead.

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The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

Plastic Bag Manufacturers Drop Suit Against Reusable Bag Maker ChicoBag

September 16, 2011 by  
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photo: Mike Linksvayer / CC BY The lawsuit against reusable bag maker ChicoBag brought about by a trio of disposable plastic bag manufacturers has come to a conclusion. Two of the plaintiffs, Superbag and Advance Poly Split, dropped their case, while the third, Hilex Poly has settled the case–and even suffered a reverse of sorts…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Plastic Bag Manufacturers Drop Suit Against Reusable Bag Maker ChicoBag

Nau Fall 2011 Now Available

September 16, 2011 by  
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All photos: Nau. As we’ve alluded to in one or two prior posts Nau were planning to release some snug outdoor winter garments, made in part with recycled coconut waste . That time has arrived. It’s now, you might say. The garment is known as the Insular Jacket and is available to both men and women. Inside the seam sealed waterproof outer is a wadding of a recycled polyester/

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Nau Fall 2011 Now Available

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