Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cradle to Cradle

Ah Spring. Isn't it wonderful? Suddenly the light changes, the chickens start laying, buds appear on the fruit trees, and new ideas for my business start to emerge. In almost any business that markets a product, there is great pressure for constant innovation. I feel this acutely, especially every April at the first day of the Farmers Market when my loyal customers greet me with "Anything new?" This is always a little terrifying to me. Where are all the new ideas? Yikes!

Well, I've made a big discovery. Fellow small business owners, here comes my big piece of sage advice, the latest lesson I've learned going into my fourth year in business (Gee, I think I’ll even try to generalize): Follow your passion in your business, even as it changes! Interest in business has a flow, like a liquid—it starts in one area, then it flows to another, then sloshes to another, bringing new life to different areas of the business. And it’s your job to follow the flow—oh, “go with the flow”!

Ok, let me elaborate (I'll have to refine the language if I'm going to write a bestseller).

When I first started my business, of course I was excited about the soap itself. Then I started selling at the Farmers Market and I was so excited about the Market, and about selling and meeting all my customers. Then I hired Jackie to sell for me, and got excited about the growth of my business and everything involved in having an employee, and maybe in the future, more employees. Then there’s been designing and marketing my website. Etc. Etc. Then I got stuck and felt guilty for not feeling as excited about the things that used to make me excited. Does this mean I've run out of steam on this business, and should just quit? The truth is, I've had some ideas gnawing at me, but kept telling those ideas that they weren't rational for my business--too expensive, too involved, stay simple etc. But then I finally, I gave voice to those ideas, and lo and behold, an entire plan took shape almost instantly and almost in it's entirety! Suddenly my business was exciting again, had a new life! Oh! I get it!

So here is one piece of my new plan, for preview here on the Blog: It’s time to design/create custom packaging for my soap, that will not only convey the greatness and irresistibility of my products, but will also meet my ecological/good person standards in terms of materials, and enable me to wholesale my products all over the planet.

As you know from my website, I want to use my business to make the world a better place—not only by philanthropy, but also in terms of how I run my business and what I market. There is an incredible concept pioneered by William McDonough called “Cradle to Cradle.” I’ll quote from a great article (

“How’s this for an environmental packaging strategy?
• Use more packaging material, not less.
• Instead of designing with the cheapest materials,
design the best package possible, without worrying
about per-package cost.
• “Littering” can help the environment.
Sound politically incorrect, and financially suicidal?
Take a closer look. What if that ice cream wrapper lying
on the side of the road were designed to “melt” into a
biosafe liquid in a matter of hours at ambient temperatures?
What if the foam food container was not only
biodegradable, but incorporated essential nutrients to replenish
the topsoil?”

Great, right? Perfect for Milk and Honey Soap, right?

Ok, stay tuned. I have some more great ideas, but they’re still a secret!

(By the way, go ahead and Google “Cradle to Cradle”—and put these ideas to work!)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spring is Here--Our Building is Growing!

It's funny, but I don't actually pass by the site of our new permanent Farmers Market home very often--so when I have passed by in the last month or so, I've experienced a complete thrill at seeing our beautiful building coming together so quickly! Last year, I was on the Santa Fe Farmers Market building committee for several months. I had the privilege of viewing various blueprints and color renderings of potential designs, and being part of discussions about finish colors, LEED Certification, vendor spaces, and the dreams of the Farmers Market for the next 80 years. Yes, 80 years. The Farmers Market has an 80 year lease with the City of Santa Fe for the land, and we own the building. The commitment of the City, and the prominence of our permanent home in the heart of the growing Railyard District is a moving acknowledgment of the value our community places on our farmers, local fresh food, preserving our land and the family farms that steward it and community.  If the kitchen is the heart of the home--look! Our Farmers Market is the heart of Santa Fe!  Also enriching this area will be the new leg of the Rail Runner train service from Albuquerque.  Our governor who wanted to be president, is doing a pretty good job of realizing the dream of a sustainable, future based on local agriculture, food security, deep community, and public transportation right here in New Mexico!