February 2, 2010

What Motivates You?

So you have to be a little crazy and or really motivated to start a business from scratch. We are leaning towards the crazy end of the scale but our motivation is rooted in a deep passion for creative expression and for nature. I am excited to have my husband tell you a bit more as a guest writer today!!

Brian writes...
As a producer and manufacturer of a product, whether we want to or not, we help perpetuate many issues such as fossil fuel and natural resource usage, and the overwhelming issue of consumption and disposal. We as an American society love to buy and then throw away. CooCube would like to be something different. We didn’t want to follow the same old model of creativity and production. We new it was possible to take an old idea and make it new with a totally different spin on how it is made, what it is made from, and how the customer interacts in the whole process. We want to be efficient. We currently run our business locally and all of our manufacturing needs are within a 20 minute drive of our office. We help support our local economy and help reduce our carbon footprint in the process.

Next we wanted the materials that each CooCube are made from to be either organic, sustainable, or recycled. After two years of research and countless prototypes we found some great materials that met our needs. The stuffing material inside each CooCube is made of recycled plastic bottles. Crazy right? The amount of plastic drinking bottles that Americans use each day is staggering and the amount that find its way into our landfills is even more astounding.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, 90 percent of PET bottles end up in landfills, where they take between 450 and 1000 years to break down! That ends up being around 4 billion PET bottles that enter the U.S. waste stream each year, costing cities some $70 million in cleanup and landfill costs. Check out the website for "The Story Of Stuff". They have a great new animated movie on the bottled water industry and its impact on our earth and it people.
That’s why we use a product called Refill as our cube stuffing. The plastic bottles are recycled into a fiber that creates a soft cushion like a material that works perfectly in our CooCubes. So every time someone orders a CooCube, they help re-purpose something that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

When it came time to find a fabric, we knew that the fabric needed to be organic. To some, organic fabric is just an expensive alternative. It is true that it can be expensive, however the often-overlooked advantage of organic fabrics is that it fosters an emerging industry that respects the earth from witch the natural resource is harvested from. It respects the people that help harvest it and as a result makes us healthier as a people and healthier as a planet. The fabric is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Simply using recycled and organic materials to create new products doesn’t quite take it far enough and certainly doesn’t allow us to wave any “green” flags around. More significantly, to create a product that has staying power in our homes; by making something that is a keepsake and won't be disposed of in a month or year - this, we hope makes a difference and that’s our goal. The staying power of CooCubes is achieved by having the customer customize their cubes with letters, numbers, and most importantly, the customer’s own personal pictures. It is simple but powerful.

We feel lucky that we had the example of a lot of great businesses out there that are trying to make a difference in the way business impacts the earth and people. We hope to learn from these examples and follow in their footsteps. CooCube is proud to be apart of this movement and we hope that you will join us in our journey to rethink our role in interacting with our planet and it's most important natural resource…our children.