10 Eco-Friendly Retail Businesses That Are Making a Difference
To be a successful retailer, you have to be competitive with your pricing, quality, and service. Yet, this sometimes isn’t enough to differentiate yourself in a saturated market. One of the smartest business strategies to set your business apart from the others is to add sustainability and green marketing as a business strategy to enhance your brand image and capture the interest of environmentally-concerned consumers.
The following retailers have used this strategy to their advantage by selling eco-products and incorporating sustainable practices into their daily business operations.
In2Green’s founders Stefanie Zeldin and Lori Slater saw a demand for stylish earth-friendly home furnishings and apparel. Using scraps from mills that are re-fiberized into colored threads and spun into cotton blend yarns, In2Green specializes in fun, modern throws, pillows, accessories, and even pet sweaters that are high quality and made from recycled materials, including organic and recycled cotton. Their next frontier? Working with recycled polyester!
Out of work and in need of job interview clothes, Joshua Adam Brueckner learned how to take his existing ties and slim them down to make them look more hip and modern. This led to him launching SkinnyFatties, the world’s first and only online tie slimming service. Not only is Joshua enabling men across the country to recycle their out-of-style ties, he also gives a portion of each sale to Career Gear, a non-profit that empowers low-income men by providing literacy training, career development tools, and professional attire.
As the founder and CEO of Essio, Peter Friis has achieved clean, green success with the world’s first aromatherapy diffuser for the shower. Essio is a USDA Certified Organic business that sells 100 percent organic essential oils and uses recyclable packaging. The rapidly growing business also has sustainable manufacturing practices that are focused on minimizing waste and reducing their carbon footprint. Essio has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and is enjoyed by guests in luxury hotels across the country.
Wales-based Emma Davidson began Gecko Clothing with the idea that she wanted to manufacture responsibly in every sense. Her most recent line of t-shirts and accessories is made in a factory in India that exclusively works with organic cotton sourced from local farmer cooperatives within a radius of 40km from the plant. Gecko Clothing supports local farmers through Fair Trade processes and work to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum. Their cotton is organically grown, and dyes used for their fabrics have received Global Organic Textile Standard certification. Even their products’ hangtags are made from plantable wild seed paper.
Amicus Green Building Center
The Amicus Green Building Center is a home improvement store and design center offering exclusively healthy, ecofriendly, and responsibly-made products. Homeowners, builders, and contractors can source “green” building materials including cabinets, carpet, cleaning supplies, lighting, countertops, and more. The Maryland-based store strives to be sustainable in every facet of their operations including using wind power for their electricity, composting organic waste, recycling paper, and volunteering their expertise within their local community.
Have a Ball! ™
Attorney and mother of three, Heidi Holland Seamon started using all-natural essential oils several years ago in a variety of capacities. After looking at the long list of chemicals in dryer sheets and fabric softeners, she had an idea! Heidi invented Have a Ball! ™, a wool dryer ball scented with 100 percent natural essential oils as an alternative to dryer sheets and softeners. Her innovative product separates clothing, absorbs moisture, and reduces drying time by up to 25% to reduce energy consumption and decrease static. With the addition of essential oils on the balls, laundry is fresh and clean without harmful chemicals. Holly currently sells her wool dryer balls on Etsy.
Tidy Tots Diapers
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that disposable diapers are tough on the environment. In fact, 27.6 billion disposable diapers go into U.S. landfills each year, and a diaper takes more than 500 years to biodegrade. As an environmentalist and a mom, Sandra Beck created Tidy Tots, a patented cloth diaper that makes it easier for families to choose cloth. Sandra took six years to test, retest, refine, and perfect the Tidy Tots Diaper design. Along with helping reduce the number of diapers being added to landfills, Sandra partners with a certified ARC facility that hires and trains individuals with disabilities, supported by non-disabled employees.
Zoom Room, a dog training franchise and canine social club specializing in dog agility, was founded in 2007 by dog trainer Jaime Van Wye. Much effort was put into minimizing the company’s carbon footprint by placing a strong focus on recycling, reusing, buying local, and using organic and natural products. Each Zoom Room store uses local and recycled materials including low-VOC paint, recycled glass tiles, and a gym floor made of 100% recycled rubber. Even the dog supplies are ecologically responsible with natural dog treats and fleece dog beds made from recycled soda bottles.
Blue River Diamonds
Mining practices release harsh chemicals into the environment and disturb thriving ecosystems. However, there is already a significant amount of gold and other metals available through scrap, waste metals, and unwanted jewelry. Using recycled gold, platinum, and silver in their mountings and gemstones and diamonds that are conflict-free, Blue River Diamonds has made a commitment to protecting both the earth and those who inhabit it. Their business is now six years old, and they have successfully maintained their mission of providing customers with beautiful, eco-friendly jewelry that can be worn for years to come.
Rocky Shepheard loved eggs, but after learning about the treatment of chickens and the environmental impact of rearing chickens, he adopted a plant-based diet and created The Vegg, a 100% plant-based egg yolk replacement using natural ingredients. Producing plants to obtain one kilogram of The Vegg uses substantially less land and water resources than producing plants to produce feed to maintain hens. Rocky sells The Vegg online, as well as at natural markets and retailers worldwide.