This is cool.

Last week, Walgreens opened up what’s believed to be our nation’s first net zero energy retail store – meaning it’s anticipated to contribute more energy to the grid than it consumes. It sports two wind turbines, nearly 850 solar panels and a geothermal system burrowed 550 feet into the ground. The grand opening was November 21st.

Full Walgreens press release: http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5825

A Green Spring!

March 2, 2013

Maybe it’s just been the awesome weather we’ve been having here in San Francisco, but Spring is definitely in the air – and that gets us thinking ‘green’ even more than usual. Our products wear green, our logo is green – how can we not think green shaving, and green living, as green shoots are springing up all over the USA, and beyond?

So here’s what we’re thinking: If you’ve poked around our website, you know that we plant a nice green tree for every purchase you make from us. A year ago we’d already planted 100,000 trees with the help of Trees for the Future. Those trees provide food for humans, forage and shelter for animals, wood for fuel and construction, and oxygen for all of us to breathe. Their presence improves water infiltration and protects soil from erosion—all over the world.

Those trees need company, in terms of acting green for the sake of this earth we share. Each of us, simply by the way we live, also impacts our earth. When you turn off the water in your bathroom while shaving, you’re thinking green. When you use a disposable razor, it will join the more than 2 billion disposable razors bought in the USA in one single year. If you must use a disposable razor, (such as while traveling) consider the Recycline razor out there with a handle made from recycled plastic that is itself recyclable. For every day use, consider either upgrading to a razor with a changeable blade, or a straight razor. When you use our products with these razors, you can be sure that your skin will be hydrated, moisturized and feeling as natural as the green ingredients used to make our products.

So join us in celebrating green! It’s easier than you think. Get out and buy a green plant—whether it’s a small fern for your apartment window or a large tree for your spacious back yard—and whenever you see it, smile—you’re living green!

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

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.

Small steps count! As part of our ‘Every Purchase Plants a Tree’ program, Pacific Shaving Company is celebrating the planting of its 100,000th tree across 15 countries — from Brazil to Uganda. That’s enough to cover New York’s Central Park four times.

Just like turning off the faucet while shaving, shutting off the lights when leaving a room, and recycling – planting a tree for every purchase is a small green step that adds up over time. Trees clean our air, filter our water and provide a habitat for half of the world’s wildlife.

For a family-run business that started out catering to a small number of grooming enthusiasts online, this milestone and its positive environmental impact is a great way to demonstrate that small steps can have a big impact over time and just one of the ways Pacific Shaving aims to give back and bring sustainable business practices to the resource-heavy world of personal care products.

Eco-expert Josh Dorfman, author of The Lazy Environmentalist and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget (when not hosting Sirius radio shows and Discovery Channel TV shows among other things), has been a fan, advocate and friend (not necessarily in that order) of Pacific Shaving Company for many years now. I love his take on eco/green products’ place in the world. He believes that “consumers really don’t want green products. rather, they want awesome products that are also green.” Exactly! (btw this is exactly why I have gone back to the heavy duty stuff for my dish washing detergent. The ‘green’ stuff just doesn’t clean well.)

When I told Josh about this 100,000 trees-planted milestone, his response was great, “Pacific Shaving is the rare eco-friendly company that actually outperforms the competition. Getting a smooth, close shave while taking a small step to preserve the planet is my kind of environmental action and a natural choice for lazy environmentalists on Earth Day.”

So, in the spirit of Earth Month, and our 100,000th tree planted, we’re encouraging individuals and businesses alike to find their own unique way to make a difference. It starts with a small step.

-Stan

I recently read this Natural Foods Merchandiser article on how four different retailers are managing to not only survive, but thrive, in a challenging economy.

To me, it boiled down to three distinct strategies:
•    Variety in price points
•    Variety in selection
•    Manage greed

Tough economy aside, all of these business tactics bode well for consumers as well as independent businesses like Pacific Shaving that are attempting to bring new ideas and improved products to market. My thoughts on these three approaches and why they work:

Variety in price points:
From my experience, when retailers see diminishing sales in a category, the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s got to be the price. Lower it. Fast.

I don’t think it’s that simple. Retailers like City Market/Onion City Co-op realize that their shoppers cross all lines of spending across the value sale-to-quality product spectrum. Even Whole Foods understands that people are more likely to splurge on some items if they feel they are able to get others at a discount.

This is not to put the full burden of selling on the retailer. Their role in the supply chain is distribution. It is the brand/marketer’s job to do the heavy lifting and demonstrate to the right consumer why the right product is worth paying more for. This isn’t just using price as proof of efficacy – it’s the opposite.]

Variety in selection:
This one is really easy: If a retailer doesn’t offer variety, it’s a matter of time until its customers will find another, more exciting store to shop in. Native Roots Market co-owner Matt Runkle nailed it when he said, “I kicked out Kettle Chips completely, except for the party-size salted chips, because if you can find them everywhere, they’re not going to bring someone here. And worse, customers will go to Target, see it for a $1.50 less, and be like, ‘Wow, Native Roots is expensive!’”

Personally, nothing frustrates me more than seeing a store that feels like it needs to carry three full shelves of Edge or Fusion shaving cream and allocates only six inches of space (or less) for brands like Pacific Shaving Company. Argh.

Yawn...

Taking that idea to a whole different level is Grocery Outlet Bargain Market stores, a retailer that sells close-outs at a discounted price. As a result, their selection is always changing. Hard work for the buyer, but an awesome treasure hunt for the shopper at every visit. Plus, there’s the pressure of ‘better stock up if you find a product you love – who knows if they will carry it again!’

Manage greed
Sunflower Markets was one of the retailers that really seemed to get the idea that to make retail work, the whole supply chain needs to act as a unified front – not with competing interests and all looking to squeeze as much margin as possible out of every register ring. Kudos to Sunflower for realizing sometimes it is in all of our best interest to sharpen our own pencils. If no one budges, it ultimately comes at the expense of the independent manufacturers, or the consumers. And both will ultimately move on.

Overall, it’s nice to see these trend-forward retailers demonstrating that customer-centric business sense and transparency can be drivers of growth within their stores. They deserve it.

-Stan

Solar-powered shaving

January 27, 2012

Let’s face it.The shaving aisle in your typical drug or grocery store has grown tired.

Close your eyes and picture it: 10 rows each of Barbasol, Gillette Foamy, ‘Store Brand’ on the bottom, then a couple full shelves all Edge and Fusion. It’s like all other sections of the store evolved over time, leaving shaving stuck in the 70’s and 80’s.

Since that doesn’t stop people from needing to shave, long-established brands continue to focus their marketing on the razors and blades; Innovation in the form of ‘high performance’ (and increasingly expensive) shaving systems – despite an evolving market.

Since 2003, Pacific Shaving has been quietly making noise with natural and eco-friendly shaving essentials that are aligned with the cultural shift, consumer motivation and macro trends that the leading brands are not delivering on:

  • Affordable, high quality, natural and safe ingredients
  • Sustainability
  • Eco-friendly business practices

So you can imagine how excited we are to add this to our growing list of accomplishments:
Solar-powered shaving products.

That’s right. Our longtime manufacturing facility has just completed a huge investment in solar and green technology with the installation of 100,000 watts of solar energy. The result? Maximized energy efficiency, minimal waste, reduced climate-damaging emissions and an overall positive effect on the environment. All packed into that small but mighty Pacific Shaving product.

Solar powered shaving products? That’s right. Coming soon to stores everywhere.

Move over Barbasol.

PS: Don’t tell the ‘establishment’, but the truth is that it’s not that hard. Domestic sourcing & manufacturing. Minimal packaging. Sustainable packaging practices. It takes just as much effort to choose these options as to elect not to, so why not choose the former? To run a business and take it personally (as I do), why wouldn’t you do these things?

-Stan

Two and a half years ago, Pacific Shaving made the decision to work with VIP Solutions in Rancho Cucamonga, CA to help in the assembly and final packaging of our products. This is the final step of the manufacturing process – getting it ready for sale!

The fit was perfect: the people were kind, the quality was excellent, and the jobs remained in the U.S. (our home state of California).

But beyond that, there was an even nicer bi-product of this partnership. In addition to being a top-rate assembly facility, VIP (short for “Vocational Improvement Program”) is a private 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation.  Their mission is simple: maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities by providing them meaningful work opportunities to achieve personal growth and independence.

The VIP family is a great one and this year they are celebrating 25 years in business.  What started with four clients and three staff members in 1986 has now grown to a business serving more than 600 individuals with disabilities annually. Congratulations to VIP on such a significant milestone!

Who says you can’t do well and do good at the same time?

-Stan

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