Sea Bags has saved over 10,000 sails from hitting the landfill by their upcycling and turning them into high quality tote bags and other accessories. While not a certified B Corp yet, they are certainly having a positive impact on people and planet. Tune in, to hear our conversation with the President of Sea Bags, Beth Greenlaw.
Repurposing sails for sustainable products is a unique and innovative approach to reducing waste and promoting sustainability. SeaBags, a company founded in 2006, specializes in designing and manufacturing tote bags and other accessories using retired sales from sailboats. This process not only gives these sails a second life but also prevents them from ending up in landfills.
The president and chief sustainability officer at SeaBags, Beth Greenlaw, has been instrumental in driving the company’s mission to be green in product and practice. From the beginning, SeaBags aimed to be a good steward to the community and planet. These values have served as their guiding principles and have helped the company grow and scale while staying true to their sustainability goals.
SeaBags’ commitment to sustainability goes beyond just repurposing sails. They also prioritize maintaining the working waterfront in Portland, Maine, where their operations are based. By keeping their cut and sew business in the United States, specifically in Maine, SeaBags contributes to the preservation of the state’s rich history of cut and sew business. This not only supports the local economy but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with offshore manufacturing.
The impact of SeaBags’ efforts is impressive. Since their inception, they have saved over 700 tons of sail material from going to landfills. This achievement highlights the significant contribution they have made towards waste reduction and environmental conservation. By repurposing these sails, SeaBags not only creates unique and functional products but also promotes the idea of conscious consumerism.
What sets SeaBags apart is their ability to combine sustainability with quality and design. When they started in 2006, customers were not as passionate about sustainability as they are today. SeaBags recognized the importance of creating products that were not only sustainable but also functional, of great quality, and had cool designs. This approach has allowed them to appeal to a wide range of customers and showcase that sustainability can be stylish and practical.
The success of SeaBags serves as an inspiration for other businesses to explore innovative ways of repurposing materials and reducing waste. Their story demonstrates that sustainability can be integrated into the core values of a company from its inception. By prioritizing sustainability and incorporating it into their business model, SeaBags has not only created a successful brand but has also made a positive impact on the environment and the local community.
Repurposing sails for sustainable products is a powerful example of how businesses can contribute to waste reduction and environmental conservation. SeaBags’ commitment to repurposing retired sails has not only saved hundreds of tons of material from going to landfills but has also supported the local economy and maintained the heritage of cut and sew business in Maine. Their success showcases the importance of incorporating sustainability into a business model from the start and demonstrates that sustainability can be both stylish and practical. SeaBags is a shining example of how businesses can harness their purchasing power as a force for good.
[00:00] Benn Marine Business is not always fun, but it sure feels good to do something good. Welcome to the Responsibly Different Podcast, sharing stories and insights from people harnessing purchasing power as a force for good. On today’s show, we have Beth Greenlaw, the president and chief sustainability officer at SeaBags. SeaBags gives retired sales from sailboats a second life by turning them into classic totes and other memorabilia. Since 1999, they have saved over 700 tons of material from going to a landfill by upcycling these used sails. I should note that Beth and I did this interview over a month ago, it was just a week after Hurricane Ian hit South Florida, where SeaBags has two of their over 40 stores nationwide. Welcome to the show, Beth. Really excited to have you here. Before we jump in to the questions, I know the hurricane pretty significantly impacted you all last week. I mean, I actually have family down in Punta Gorda and live really close to that pier. Well, they have a place down there. I’ve actually been to the SeaBags down in Punta Gorda, down at Fisherman’s Pier there. How is everybody?
[01:40] Beth Greenlaw How are you all holding up? Well, thank you for asking. We are all gratefully fine. It started with the weather in Key West and then we went to Punta Gorda and then the hurricane went to Sarasota and then it went up to Charleston, where all of our stores are. And Vero Beach got a little bit of weather too. First and foremost, gratefully all of our employees tracked safe, which is amazing. All of our stores are mostly fine too. We were really blessed compared to others that just weren’t so fortunate.
[02:13] Benn Marine Thank you for asking and I hope your family all survived as well in your homes. Yes, everyone is doing well, which is good. Our thoughts are definitely with all the folks in Florida for sure. Good to hear that you all are safe and everything is as good as it can be.
[02:29] Beth Greenlaw That’s great to hear. Yeah, it was a little nerve-racking while we were waiting for everyone to kind of check in with us. I can imagine.
[02:34] Benn Marine Like I said, we’re so blessed that everybody is good. That’s good. That’s great. So Beth, I’m curious, what has your journey to becoming the president and chief sustainability officer at SeaBags been?
[02:46] Beth Greenlaw Again, thanks for asking. I’m lucky. So from the time that we incorporated in 2006, I had the privilege of kind of creating this company. So there’s a luxury in that we could really develop the company around the cornerstones of the values that were important to us at the time. So not everybody gets to do that when they come into a role. So for us, we really thought about it and that meant that our North Stars, if you will, at the time when we thought about what this could be was we wanted to be green in product and in practice to the best of our abilities. We wanted to be really good stewards to our community and we wanted to keep our product in a maiden name and a bunch of different reasons for each of those three things. But those were the real guiding decisions. And it’s been really helpful as we’ve grown the company into scale to use those cornerstones to help guide us. Back then, customers weren’t really passionate about sustainability. They loved the story, but it really, back in 2006, that wasn’t a reason for people to take out their wallets. It was really important for us to have products that were really functional, great quality, and really cool design, as well as being sustainable.
[03:56] Benn Marine So we grew the company around all of these things. That’s amazing. For folks that maybe aren’t familiar with sea bags, can you tell us a little bit about what that story is?
[04:05] Beth Greenlaw Yeah, sure. So we design and manufacture tote bags and other home accessories and personal accessories
[04:14] Benn Marine out of recycled sales from sailboats. That’s amazing. That’s so great. And have you, yourself, always been passionate about sustainability and this kind of repurpose movement that you’ve started at sea bags?
[04:26] Beth Greenlaw Well, I think, you know, you live in Maine, so I can say this. I think Mayors in general are pretty thrifty. We live on hand-me-downs. So that was way before it was cool to repurpose. We’ve always been kind of doing it. But at sea bags when we started, sustainability took on a bunch of different meanings from us. Of course, we wanted to repurpose this beautiful fabric and keep it from going to the landfill. We’ve managed to save over 700 tons to date of product sales going to the landfill. But we also wanted to maintain our working waterfront here in Portland. You know, it was when the development first started happening and it’s got a rich heritage of marine-related industry and we wanted to keep that. And we also wanted to keep cut and sew business, not just in the United States, but in Maine in general. Maine has a huge history of cut and sew business, you know, from textiles to boots to tote bags. And a lot of that business had gone offshore. So I was really passionate about each of those meanings. And as I said, you know, I had the luxury of saying, okay, let’s start a company around all those things.
[05:32] Benn Marine So yeah, I’ve been passionate about it and still am. That’s so cool. That’s awesome. I’m curious, how easy is it for folks to donate old sails to sea bags? Could anybody with a sailboat that’s like, oh, I’m going to retire these sails, can they donate those to you? I’m so curious.
[05:47] Beth Greenlaw What does that look like? Yeah, so it’s never been easier, actually. So we have a whole team of people, our sail acquisition team that goes after old sails. And they get our raw material further. We have 45 stores in which people can donate, bring their sails in and drop them off and we’ll trade them product for it. Or they can work with any of our favorite charity organizations, you know, like our women’s sailing team or SailMain and trade sails with them. So finally they can email us and we’ll send a shipping label if they want. So we have a bunch of different ways to keep that sail from going to the landfill. And we always develop new ways to make it easy for the customers. I’m curious, are the bulk of the sails that you receive, are they from like personal watercraft or do you get industrial bulk of excess sail too? I’d say it’s probably about half and half right now. So about 10% of our customers will bring them into our 45 stores. And that’s really something because that usually involves putting them in their car and driving to the store and bring them into the store. And another 5% will ask for shipping labels and then we’ll mail them in.
[07:03] Benn Marine And then of course we pick up as well. That’s really cool. And is it just, I mean, I know that the name is SeaBags, but I’m curious, are there, and I think you touched on this a little bit, but I’m curious what other offerings are there
[07:14] Beth Greenlaw or is it just bags? So of course our core product is a tote bag. It’s what we’re known for. But as we started cutting the sails and we found, for example, smaller pieces, we found other uses for the product. So we do wine bags, we do shave kits, and we do cosmetic cases. And then recently we got into some home goods. So we do deck chairs, which are amazing because it’s a beautiful strong fabric.
[07:46] Benn Marine And we also do pillows. That’s so cool. And so I’m wondering too, so if I’m a sailor, which actually inside thing I’ve been dreaming about becoming, but let’s say I sail and I love my boat, all this thing, and I have personal Is it possible for me to say, Hey, SeaBags, can you make a specific bag for me from my sail?
[08:12] Beth Greenlaw Or is it, you’re just don’t, it’s me feeling good that it’s not going to a landfill. So I hope it’s both. So it’s one or the other or both. It really depends. And so what, you know, some of our faith, my favorite stories are when people come in with this sale that they’ve had and it’s been important to them for different reasons and then they have a product made out of it. So, you know, we have a video on our website about a guy named Ben Ford who learned to sail and was able to buy his first sailboat. And that boat kind of followed him around all of his adventures in life until he got married. Then he moved that boat from the West Coast to Maine and, you know, and was able to turn that sail and, you know, for product once the sale was done. So one of my other favorites was a woman whose husband was a sailor and it was his, you know, true passion. After he passed, she had the sail brought in and made bags for each of their daughters. And so they’re amazing stories of how these sales resonate with people in their lives. And so to give them an actual functional use where people can enjoy them has just been
[09:15] Benn Marine really fun for us. That’s so cool. And when you cut up a sail, are there ever leftover pieces of the sail that are maybe too small for you to use in production? And if so, what do you do with that extra material?
[09:29] Beth Greenlaw Yes, so I’m glad you asked that. So, you know, as a sustainability company and a recycling company, you know, we want to maximize our yield on every sale. So for the small pieces, you know, early on when we had all the scrap, we didn’t know what to do. And so we decided we would stop buying paper hang tags. And now there’s a hang tag on every bag that’s made out of our scrap. Other things that have come from, you know, who were born out of our scrap pieces where we made coin purses that are made out of small pieces. So we’re always looking for ways to maximize the yield. But there’s always room for improvement. So there are parts of the sale that that we don’t have uses for that we’re hoping to work with. And we are working with people in the sailing industry like the sailmakers to say, OK, what can we do with the battens? And the battens are fiberglass sticks, if you will, that keep that keep the sail that are sewn inside the sail, that keep the sail straight. And so we have a collection of the battens. They all have metal hardware. And so we’re always looking for uses for that hardware. So, you know, as we come together as an industry, we have to find second uses for all of this so that it does stay out of the landfill.
[10:39] Benn Marine But we are really doing well with maximizing, you know, the use of our sale and the scraps. That’s awesome. And so exciting, too, I think, for folks. It’s a great, great way to keep those mementos and also, you know, feel good about making those purchases or gifts and all of that.
[10:56] Beth Greenlaw Yeah, a little side story. So and since since you don’t sell, indulge me a minute. Yeah, absolutely. But on some of the sails, there’s a piece of string that’s kind of taped to the sail and usually multiple pieces of string. And they’re called telltales. And those tell the sailors which way the wind’s blowing. So we never cut those off. And so sometimes people will get bags and they’ll have the string on there. And it’s fun to put an extra tag on there saying, you know, congratulations, your product has an authentic telltale from the sail that tells the sailors which way the wind is blowing. So, you know, there’s just really cool pieces to the sail. Every sail is stitched together with beautiful stitching. And so while we may have, you know, 50 bags that have Navy anchors on them, they’ll each be unique in that from the actual sail that they came from. So some might have blue stitching, some might have white stitching, some may go up and down.
[11:52] Benn Marine So the fabric itself is just really pretty. That’s so cool. And do you, in terms of like the actual production part, is that all here in Maine also?
[12:01] Beth Greenlaw Or do you have different facilities around? So, no, it’s all in Maine. It’s both in Portland and South Portland. And that was one of the cornerstones of the company was to keep the product made here. That’s really cool. If I can indulge on that point for just a second. You know, one of the other things, you know, that we really wanted to do was really to create jobs around making these products again, because so much of it had been offshore. So our sourcing policy since day one was for the raw materials we need, you know, and in a sea bag that includes the rope for the handles, the thread, the hardware. Our sourcing policy has always been Maine first, New England second, and then the US and it stops there. So we really try to think of this as a ripple effect of how many jobs we create and every time somebody makes a sea bag. So, you know, for us, you know, the people that make the rope, there might be 10 people that make rope just for sea bags, you know, we’re the largest users of the type of rope that we use for our handles. And you know, we use, you know, one of the few remaining trade cap companies left in the US. And so there really is a thought that if somebody buys a sea bag, they’re really supporting, you know, their neighbors and having jobs here.
[13:12] Benn Marine So we appreciate that. And we hope, you know, we hope our customers do too. That’s really cool to be so thoughtful about the supply chain. And it also, you know, I might be, I might be, well, I’m going to save that question. We’re going to jump ahead. So you know, I think also thinking about, we touched a little bit on the top about, of course, the hurricane. But also recently, we are all navigating what feels like maybe life after a pandemic or it’s still lingering, all of those things. I’m curious, what did the pandemic do for the company? Are you seeing supply chain issues or because you’re so localized and because you’ve done such a great job, you know, really sourcing within, like you said, Maine, New England
[13:57] Beth Greenlaw and in the US, have you not been as affected by some of those supply chain issues? So the pandemic did a couple of things for us. One, because we make our product here. It allowed us to give our employees a choice to keep working at a point where a number of people around the country had a choice of stopping working, you know, going on, you know, pretty generous unemployment benefits. And our team by and large, they knew we want to work, so which was amazing. So two, because we’re pretty vertically integrated, we didn’t have to worry as much about supply chain issues, although we did have a few things. For example, you know, we dye sublimate designs on some of the blank white cell materials so that we can get some bright colors. And so things that we didn’t anticipate would be, you know, a backup on blue ink. But for the most part, we were really, really fortunate because we are so vertically integrated
[14:54] Benn Marine that we didn’t have the issues that other people had. And I’m curious, too, also knowing that you have locations kind of all over. I know we touched on Key West and Punta Gorda, Florida. And then, of course, you’ve got your location in the old port in Portland, Maine. Did the pandemic impact, I imagine, that impact retail sales?
[15:15] Beth Greenlaw Or how did you all navigate that? Yes, of course. You know, our retail stores around the country were shut down mostly for about a quarter. I’d say, you know, California was much longer. And some were a little shorter. But on average, you know, it was about a quarter that all of our stores were shut down. But it really helped that people were shopping on the Internet.
[15:40] Benn Marine And so our Internet business scene has certainly helped, you know, pick up some of that slack for us. Oh, that’s so cool. And so have you seen now as people are starting to travel again and they’re starting to visit again, have you seen those online sales, like, continue? Did the pandemic help in that way that all of a sudden people were shopping online and they’re continuing to? Or is it really kind of back to normal, like more retail location focus?
[16:06] Beth Greenlaw Well, most of our store, our retail stores are in, you know, I would say coastal destinations, if you will. And so, you know, if you can think of a city that ends in the word port, we likely have a store there. And so when people started traveling, of course, that really helped. And prior to that, when things were shut down, people spent a lot of time on their computer and they were doing a lot of Internet shopping. We put a lot of content out there. So we did have people say, oh, we really want to go see your store. We really want to see where the bags are made. If you come to see us in Portland, Maine, you can actually see people stitching the bags. And it’s a really different aspect. You know, you can’t do that in most other stores. So from that perspective, you know, retail has picked up in that for us. The Internet, I wouldn’t, is still very strong for us. It continues to be a strong channel. But, you know, the growth that we saw right during that point, of course, was unprecedented. You know, the best example we have was Easter pain and nobody could go out shopping to get their Easter baskets. So we offered our Easter buckets filled with candy. So we really like to, you know, provide a service at the same time. So, yeah, it’s hard to sustain that when people can now go out and buy their own Easter candy. You know, we in general have been, you know, fairly opportunistic, if you will,
[17:27] Benn Marine in finding the best way to, you know, hit both worlds. That’s so cool. I love that. And so circling back, you mentioned your partnership with SaleMain and some other like really cool nonprofits. Can you tell us a little bit about those partnerships, kind of how you’ve developed those relationships and what that looks like?
[17:44] Beth Greenlaw Sure. So SaleMain is a local sailing school for anybody, you know, that’s following that isn’t familiar with us. And, you know, they teach kids and adults how to sail. They’re right here in Portland. I grew up in Maine. I haven’t lived here my whole adult life. But, you know, like most Mainers, we all come back because it’s just a wonderful place to live and raise a family. But, you know, I have a belief that every kid in Maine should have an opportunity to be on the water. And sailing, you know, sometimes has seen as a pretty affluent sport. So we partnered with SaleMain early on, you know, maybe our first or second year and said, you know, for people that want to donate sales to SaleMain, we will give money to a Sea Bag Scholarship Fund so that, you know, kids that wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get on the water would have the opportunity to do so. So we’re really proud of that relationship. And as I said, it’s been going on, you know, for probably 15 years. That’s really cool. Do you have any favorite memories or stories that have come out of that partnership that you’d be open to sharing? Well, a lot of that we let SaleMain pick because, you know, we don’t want to we don’t want people to feel like they have to say they got a scholarship to go in the water. Right. So but, you know, we but as you know, we have a lot of people that are new to Maine that have just moved to the United States, you know, from different areas and particularly the Maine that wouldn’t ever have been exposed to the water. So there’s in the last couple of years, they’ve had the opportunity to take whole families out to see Casco Bay from the water. And, I mean, what a thrill. What a thrill. It is such a different perspective to see our beautiful state from the coast.
[19:18] Benn Marine And so, you know, we focus on that with them every year. Michael, who runs SaleMain, is just wonderful about trying to get people out there. That’s so cool. That’s amazing. I love that. And it truly is. I mean, I feel like anybody who I grew up on, not sailing, but on on boats around the water and seeing it’s seeing things from the water is just a totally different perspective. It really is quite magical. That’s amazing.
[19:44] Beth Greenlaw Oh, we’re so lucky to have this beautiful natural resource and it should be accessible to everybody in our state.
[19:50] Benn Marine I love that. I’m curious, what has so all of these things we’ve talked about supply chain, we’ve talked about all the amazing things you all are doing in terms of some of the sustainability pieces. I mean, I can’t help but think about B Corp certification because it’s such a huge part of that.
[20:06] Beth Greenlaw Have you thought about B Corp certification or what has that journey looked like for you all? So, yes, we’ve more than thought about it. You know, I’ve been looking at B Corp since I started the company and I think it’s a really great product, if you will. And so we’ve gone so far as to do the impact assessment. It’s a great guideline for us on how to focus on things other than scaling and profitability. So the tool itself is wonderful for us and a good guideline. I’d say, you know, at this point, you know, after all these years, we’re ready to do the audit. You know, for us, the next step is really to think about what that does to our charter and having to rewrite that, you know, which is a little bit more complicated in a company at our size. But I remain very interested in B Corp and I love the guidelines that they set forth for people to use and we use it on a regular basis. That’s cool. And so circling back to that charter question, are you talking about having to become a benefit corp and kind of navigating those waters? Well, Maine doesn’t require B Corp to become true benefit corporations, but they do require you to change your charter. And so, you know, that has some legal implications for us with investors and whatnot. So that’s something, you know, kind of the next step forward for us to see what that does. That’s cool. And I think it’s also important for folks listening to keep that in mind that you can do amazing work like you all are doing and not be a certified B Corp. Like it doesn’t, they’re not. Exactly. I mean, I think so. I think their assessment tool, which is amazing, really provides best in class examples to measure yourself. And it really is about progress and not perfection when it comes to sustainability in your organization. So, you know, we would love to be able to this is a funny example. We would love to be able to measure the output of waste that we have that goes to the landfill, knowing that it’s not sales. Right. But every every organization creates waste. Our issue is we can’t get a trash truck down our work with a scale on it. And so because it’s too hard to navigate. So, you know, as we move some of our manufacturing across the bridge and self-proclaiming, we’ll have a different opportunity for that. But the the impact assessment tool really gives a great self-measurement and keeps you focused on the things that are important to your organization.
[22:31] Benn Marine And again, allows you to focus on what sustainability means to you. Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll say, too, and I’ll throw this out there both for yourself, Beth, but also just for folks listening. I know for us, when we were navigating the B impact assessment for a solid two years before we were certified, we were super involved with the B Corp community and there was like people are it’s such a welcoming community. Folks are so willing to help or, you know, collaborate and a lot of really great synergy there, too. So I can I can shoot you an email afterwards if that’s of interest and just get you looped in with that community.
[23:08] Beth Greenlaw But also for folks. Yeah, of course. I mean, some of my favorite people in Maine and companies in Maine, not just Maine, are B Corp certified. And so there’s a lot. So so there’s a lot of compelling reasons to keep going through the process, you know. And but even just getting to the score that would allow you to even take the next step is a journey in and of itself. And I’m proud to say we’re finally at the score we need.
[23:28] Benn Marine So now it’s like, how do we get to the next steps? Love that. Well, thank and thank you for sharing that with us. Speaking of certifications, what is green circle certification? That’s something I actually hadn’t heard of.
[23:39] Beth Greenlaw And why is that something that’s also important to see bags? Yes. A green circle certification is an independent auditing company that audits different levels of sustainability for you. And so there are a number of those independent auditors and certifications, as you know. And so at the point where we were looking at it, there wasn’t a true leader and in the category. But I chose them because our customers really want verification. And so we got a certification and a couple of our product lines and we could have done it for all of them, but we have to walk before we run. So we chose tote bags to start and we wanted something that was third party audited to give our customers knowledge that it’s not just that we say we’re doing it, that someone else has measured it. And I chose them, particularly because their audit process was really pretty rigorous and stretch was they looked at our entire bill of materials. They they reviewed all of our receipts from our vendors and then they went and verified our our receipts with our vendors to make sure that that’s actually where we got the product. So I love their process. I love what they stand for. And they recently become one of Amazon’s trusted sources. So I think that’s great, too. So they’re leaders in in manufacturing industries. So we are really, really proud to be one of their first in consumer products.
[25:08] Benn Marine And so I just think they’re a great organization and they work with integrity and they’re really thorough in what they do. That’s really cool. And I’ll I’ll make sure to throw a link to those folks in the show notes for anyone listening that we want to check them out. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
[25:25] Beth Greenlaw I’m curious, are there other certifications that you all have kind of explored or sought out to help kind of share that story? No, I think, you know, the next steps for us, you know, Green Circle offers, you know, a couple of different certifications that might make sense. You know, for us, we started with, you know, recycled content and we could go further into our product line. But there are others that they offer that would make sense for us. You know, Green Circle and then, you know, deciding whether we go the next step with B Corp would be really enough for us. Although I’m open to ideas if you have others that you want to suggest that it’s really about giving your consumers, you know, trust in our organization and our products.
[26:03] Benn Marine Yeah, I mean, this is less of a certification and more of just like, and this is my own personal one I like to share out to folks. I love 1% for the planet. So and basically, and that’s it’s actually a shockingly easy one because not only do donations count, but also volunteer hours count. And if you do any marketing that includes 1% for the planet, that also counts all towards your goal for the year.
[26:33] Beth Greenlaw And then you just upload receipts throughout the year and it just checks off and it’s it’s I don’t know. So, yeah, thank you for that. Thank you for that. Yeah, and we’re you know, we’re recently, you know, engaged with another organization called Sailors for the Sea and they work all around the world, actually. And they have developed a really great framework for clean regattas. And so for people that are really into cell racing, they have a framework that really tries to keep you as, you know, carbon neutral every time you do a regatta. And then they have a great framework for individual sailors as well. And that’s just about keeping our oceans clean, too. And so we’re more and more involved with them and excited as we continue to grow that partnership. So I think there’s a lot of room for collaborations as it pertains to sustainability. And it’s really about, you know, just pledging with each other to do better.
[27:24] Benn Marine Yeah. And, you know, so, you know, so we’re looking to do a lot more of that. That’s so cool. I love that. I’m curious what has made sea bags over the years just so fun to be a part of kind of the story of repurposing sales. Like, what’s been some of your favorite maybe memories or moments or highlights?
[27:41] Beth Greenlaw Thank you for asking me. Just gave me a good response to think about it. So, you know, first and foremost, for me, you know, we started this with the idea of creating jobs. And so to have, you know, over 200 employees now is just amazing. You know, it’s it’s so humbling that people choose to come work in a company that you created, you know. And, you know, when you think about how many days, how many hours a day somebody spends at work, it’s a lot of time. And so, you know, that is just amazingly fun. And then, you know, and then when we get to, you know, the stories of, you know, this, you know, like I mentioned, you know, somebody who’s sale that meant so much and when they bring it in and they have another product, you know, we do a product now called a guest book tow and that people are doing for weddings where you can take the inside piece of sale and all of your guests can sign a note on it. And then we make that into a product for, you know, for the couple, if you will, to keep that forever. I mean, that’s it’s an incredible gift. And there are so many amazing stories. And then, you know, one of my favorite products that we developed, you know, actually, my dad came up with. So we make a wine bag and on the back of the wine bag is a label where you can sign it, you know, from you to someone else. And the idea is that you take this wine bag, you put a bottle and you give it to a neighbor or friend. And then it travels, of course, of 10 people. And then you get it back when it’s finished. You know, so my dad came up with that idea, you know, 16 years ago when he said, my God, your mother throws away all these paper wine bags. Can’t you guys come up with something? And so, you know, so there’s a lot of different stories that are all gratifying for different reasons. No two days are the same in this company. We’re still growing. We’re still finding our way and we’re still trying to do better. So, you know, we’ll be almost 10,000 sales that we’ll take in and save from the landfill this year.
[29:33] Benn Marine So, I mean, it’s just, you know, 16 years later, I still love coming to work every day. And I’m so blessed to be able to say that. That is so cool. And congratulations on the 10,000. That’s so exciting. Yeah, right. I mean, that team works so hard. Yes. Thank you. Yeah, it’s exciting. I’m curious, what advice would you give to anyone listening that is looking to use business as a force for good?
[29:59] Beth Greenlaw For me, I’d say find your passion because it shouldn’t feel forced and it should be a joy. Right. And so and as we know from times like the pandemic or a hurricane or things really out of your control, business is not always fun, but it sure feels good to do something good. And so whether it’s giving back to your community or giving back to people or, you know, having employees or saving something from the landfill, you know,
[30:28] Benn Marine find something that you’re truly passionate about because on the bad days, you still want to feel good. That’s great advice. Any final thoughts you want to leave listeners with? Parting advice, parting wisdom.
[30:40] Beth Greenlaw Well, I sure hope if you have sailors in the group and they don’t know about us and not all the sailors do, but that if they have sales that are no longer saleable or they have grandfathers or aunts or uncles or sales kicking around their basement or the boathouse, we would love to take them off their hands. And other than that, you know, really, thank you, everybody, for listening and being passionate about sustainability because it really is, you know, our earth and we have to take care of her.
[31:22] Benn Marine Thanks so much for tuning into this episode. As always, I’ve got links and bonuses for you in the show notes. If you haven’t checked us out on LinkedIn or Instagram, give us a follow. We produce content on both platforms that you can only get there. Some helpful tips to increase your impact to sharing other resources that we think will help you in your journey. Just search at responsibly different on Instagram or just search responsibly different on LinkedIn. We look forward to connecting with you there. We appreciate you with deep gratitude. Till next time, be responsibly different. This episode was produced by yours truly, Ben Marine. Music was composed and performed by Kevin Oates. This podcast is brought to you by our parent company, Deargo Collective. To learn more about Deargo Collective, visit deargocollective.com. To explore other episodes and resources from responsibly different, visit responsibly different dot com.