Image courtesy of FAB/ Starpoint
In today's world, it just does not make sense to try and do everything for yourself, whether as a person or a business. Being an entrepreneur, I at first thought it a sign of deficiency if I and my company couldn't do everything ourselves. We prided ourselves on seat of our pants figuring out how to do X, bringing everything together in the nick of time. While exciting and satisfying, I've come to realize it's terribly inefficient, and that in order to make the kind of progress we want to make as a company, and need to make as a planet in making a more sustainable world, it's time to collaborate with other companies that do what we need to do, better. A recent example is FAB. FAB may not be a name you're familiar with, but it's a safe bet you, or more likely your children, own something made by them.FAB has licenses for a huge variety of today's biggest pop culture brands: Disney, Marvel, Sanrio (think Hello Kitty), Cartoon Network, and more. Both their licensing and ability to make quality products in high volume is impressive.
You might think, reading all those brands, they're "the other," and why would we work with them? The answer is simple: We're great at getting post consumer "waste" via our public facing, product/category focused Brigades and they're extremely skilled and making quality product at low prices, an ideal sweet spot we seek to hit with everything we make. They'll be making messenger bags, backpacks, stationary, school supplies and home decor accessories for us, all out of what would otherwise now be sitting in a landfill somewhere.
This partnership has many ramifications: FAB gets the additional credibility of working with a green company such as ours, and we get to focus on what we're best at: branding, connecting with the public to change their idea of waste, plus come up with previously unthought of product ideas, or affordably executed variations on more pricey, boutique niche saddled upcycling products.
What does this all lead to?
When products get made out of brands that people are familiar with, i.e. the ones FAB licenses, this makes the mainstream public more comfortable and likely to buy a product that has the ecological benefits such as ours. This putting a familiar face on what for some would seem to have no connection to their lives, may or may not lead to a broader interest in living sustainably. It doesn't really matter, in the end. If we as green companies can make products that people like, purely for their own interest and use, and not because they're "green," we all win.
Readers, what do you see as other ways to marry mainstream and green in effective ways? Should we be doing this? Is it enough? How do you see moving us all forward in a greener direction, effectively? I'd really like to know.
More on Mainstream being Green:
Wal-Mart's Eco-efforts - Mainstream Green or Pipe Dream? : TreeHugger
Green Eating Goes Mainstream: Bordeaux Quay Up and Running
Green Homes going Mainstream
Yet Another Mainstream Development where Solar is Standard