Forbes writes that Starbucks’ decision to introduce a $1 reusable cup, pitched as a way of cutting down in trash, also may be green in another sense:

“Besides winning Starbucks points with some environmentally minded consumers and possibly keeping tons of paper waste out of landfills, the program offers Starbucks a number of opportunities to grow sales … The cups cost $1. When customers lose them, accidentally sit on and crush them, or forget to bring them back, that’s another $1. When they wear out — reports are they’re good for maybe a month if you don’t run them through the dishwasher — that’s another $1.

“How many bucks might that add up to? Many stores reported they were selling out of the cups, and a YouGov Omnibus snap poll taken at the beginning of the month showed 28 percent of Americans had purchased or planned to purchase one. There are 233 million Americans old enough to drink coffee, so that’s about $65 million dollars if each of those consumers only buys a reusable cup once. Given how well we all remember to bring our reusable grocery bags back to the store, Starbucks could easily see repeat sales of the cup and even more revenue.”

Ironically, the environmental impact may be less significant, at least in the short-term. “The program’s environmental benefit is a question mark,” Forbes writes, “as the cups’ #5 plastic is not easy to recycle — many curbside recycling programs won’t accept it. Maybe Starbucks will encourage more outlets to accept it, which would be a real plus. Knowing Starbucks, they’ll improve the program as they go, so a switch to a more easily recyclable material is also a future possibility.”

-Stan

I think this is cool:

Internet Retailer reports that eBay-owned PayPal says that “23 national retailers now accept PayPal payments inside their stores … PayPal says consumers can pay through it via payment terminals inside some 18,000 retail locations.  Consumers pay by entering the same login and password they use for PayPal online.  Shoppers also can swipe one of three payment cards co-branded by PayPal and MasterCard.”

In addition, the company says, it has launched a “new mobile ordering test involving a California store operated by beverage retailer Jamba Juice” that will “enable consumers with iPhones to use their PayPal apps to place orders for pickup at the Emeryville, CA store in the San Francisco bay area … Consumers can use the app to select a pickup time and to pay through their PayPal accounts; those consumers can bypass the line inside the store when picking up their orders.”

 

Why not? I love the idea of not needing to carry anything in my wallet – not even a wallet!

-Stan

Fortunately, he missed the pitchfork. Unfortunately, he missed the haystack.

I feel like I could write a book – a big one – on what’s really involved in running a small business. We’re basically fire fighters. Probably not as brave (and almost certainly not calendar material) but every day there’s some kind of fire that needs to be put out – and letting it extinguish itself naturally is never an option.

Yesterday felt like a quintessential ‘day in the life of a small business': Highs. Lows. Big problems. Creative solutions.

For your consideration, I present: January 23.

The morning started off with a big purchase from a brand new retailer. We spent a good portion of fall, 2012 speaking with this retailer, inspiring confidence in Pacific Shaving’s line of shaving products. In the end, they made the smart decision, punctuated by yesterday’s great opening order.

Before the team at Pacific Shaving could spend a moment patting ourselves on the back, we quickly realized a problem. We did not have enough product on hand to fill the order – we were just four cases short. Normally, our inventory management would have been timed perfectly, but this new purchase order just arrived a couple of weeks earlier than expected and that threw everything into a potential panic. Having more demand than product is a good problem to have, but as anyone who runs a business that involves manufacturing will attest, it is a very real problem, nonetheless. Especially on the first order of brand new business.

All of a sudden finding four cases became like a treasure hunt. We couldn’t find it anywhere. We came very close to heading out to our local retail partners (Whole Foods, Raley’s, Lucky’s, SaveMart, Bed, Bath, Beyond) and going through the (costly!) process of needing to buy our own product off the shelves to fill out this new PO. [Note to budding entrepreneurs: buying your own product off the shelves to then resell to others is a great way to lose money, fast.]

Then CC remembered Amazon. Amazon! Amazon sells our products too – and they had six cases on hand. We hate being out of stock anywhere, but if we had to make the tough decision, that was the place to be temporarily out. Unfortunately, a quick call to Amazon’s Fulfillment Center informed us that they could ship back product from their warehouse, but the fees they would charge us to do it would make this a costly mistake/lesson learned. Still, we didn’t have much choice and were ready to open our checkbooks. But there was still a deal breaker – it would take at least seven days to arrive. Even with the fees, it would take too long. We needed it in two days.

And there was the epiphany – two days. We need it in two days – and we subscribe to Amazon Prime! Instead of shipping our product out of Amazon’s back door at a big expense, let’s ship out their front door – for free! (Cue Ocean’s Eleven music here.) Plus, as an Amazon distributed product, we have the ability to run promotions on our products. So for five minutes in the middle of the day, we set a promotional price (for anyone!) to $0.01 – then we bought four cases worth! An Amazon Prime click later and with minimal fulfillment fees, we had our product on its way, shipping expedited 2-day – and for free! Fire extinguished.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, days like yesterday are the ones that are actually fun and make you feel great about running your own business. Unfortunately, you just need to survive until the end of the day to realize it.

Hopefully tomorrow we’ll just have to deal with a kitten in a tree.

-Stan

Say what you want about Walmart, but its plan “to hire every veteran who wants a job, provided that the veterans have left the military in the previous year and did not receive a dishonorable discharge” is unbelievable.

I have to say, I’m not quite sure how they can do this though. Company officials said they believe the program, which will officially begin on Memorial Day—May 27 this year—will lead to the hiring of more than 100,000 people in the next five years, the length of the commitment. It seems inevitable that they are going to come up against over-staffing at certain locations. Then what happens? Do the more tenured, non-veteran employees get the axe? It will be interesting to see if there are any unintended, negative consequences down the road. I hope not, because this is really impressive.

It would be really cool if another big companylike this announced they are going to broaden their hiring and employ anyone who’s been unemployed for more than a year. That would be even cooler.

-Stan

PS: Wal-Mart’s foundation has consistently been among the most generous contributors to veterans’ charities, committing to donate $20 million to veterans’ causes by 2015. Good stuff, Walmart.

Want to know where our collective spending* went in 2012?
A few highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective):

  • $627 Million – Barbecue Sauce
  • $813 Million – Children’s Art Supplies
  • $956 Million – Dried Meat Snacks
  • $1.6 Billion – Moist Towelettes
  • $2.4 Billion – Weight Control/Nutrition Powder
  • $2.9 Billion – Dinner Sausage
  • $4.0 Billion – Food & Trash Bags
  • $9.7 Billion – Total Chocolate Candy
  • $15.6 Billion – Milk
  • $20 Billion – Carbonated Beverages

Wow.

-Stan

*Includes only categories in which sales from all channels (including supermarkets, drug stores, mass retailers, military commissaries and select clubs and dollar stores) are available. Source: SymphonyIRI Group, Inc.

Wal-Mart Tries To Win Over More CustomersA recent study shows that a third of Americans would consider getting a mortgage from Walmart. According to research from the Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, consumers are more willing than ever to try alternative lenders.

I’m not sure why this is entirely surprising – Costco’s been doing it for a few years now. And let’s face it, it’s just a financial transaction.Still, I suppose this is a long overdue for all those banks that offered free toasters for opening accounts. Payback’s a bitch.

-Stan

2013: Shaving is a bitch.

January 10, 2013

I'm sorry, Skintimate, but we need to break up. I'm in love with someone else.

I’m sorry, Skintimate, but we need to break up. I’m in love with someone else.

A quick post for the ladies only…

We’re not men. So why shave like them? After all, we women have 18 times more surface area to cover, drier skin, and three different textures of hair (in some hard-to-reach areas).

Since 2003, Pacific Shaving Company has been dedicated to improving the shaving experience for men. It was time we turned our attention to the specific shaving needs of us women.

The result?  A trio of safe and natural premium shaving products, affordably priced and specifically formulated to support a smooth, nick-free shave anywhere on a woman’s body. Products so astonishingly good, they make the Skintimates and Satin Cares of the world blush with embarrassment for representing half the shaving world so poorly — and for so long.

Each component of Pacific Shaving’s women’s line is made with a unique formula of safe and effective ingredients — argan oil, shea butter, avocado oil, aloe to name a few — designed to leave a woman’s skin smooth and hydrated all day. And with just the right amount of lavender and orange essential oils, they smell great too.

The men have enjoyed their spotlight long enough. 2013 is the year of the woman!

- CC Sofronas
Pacific Shaving co-founder, product developer, woman. (Not necessarily in that order.)

New year's resolution: Spend a little more time looking for relevant blog post images.

New year’s resolution: Spend a little more time looking for relevant blog post images.

As Pacific Shaving Company heads into 2013, I’m feeling pretty good about my new year’s resolutions these days. After all, I was completely successful with last year’s resolution: “I will no longer believe in jinxes.”

Now some may argue that was setting the bar fairly low in 2012, but it is no small feat to tempt the fates of regular daily existence. Consider these gems I actually uttered throughout the year — without fear of retribution:

  • “We haven’t hit a red light yet.”
  • “We’ve been so lucky it hasn’t rained on this trip”
  • “I’ve been flying through security lately at the airport.”

The best part, of course was hearing the inevitable response from whomever I was with at the time. “Don’t jinx it.”

Impossible. I don’t believe in jinxes.

-Stan

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