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      Trash Free Trick or Treating

      Trash Free Trick or Treating

      Halloween is coming.  I actually love this holiday especially when I was teaching.  It's an opportunity to celebrate the season, indulge in goodies and a chance to dress up and pretend. 

      The problem with all holidays is our enjoyment creates mountains of trash- bags of candy, plastic decorations and tiny toys make a lot of trash.

      Here are some ideas to help you put the green into trick or treat bags.  

      green halloween

      Plastic free candy is a challenge, look for candy wrapped in foil or paper or cardboard boxes.  They will be bulk packed in plastic but it is better than handing out plastic wrapped candy.

      It's easier to skip the candy and pass out other sorts of treats.  My favorite idea is a bowl of nature items including shells, sea glass, acorns and stones.  If you live in the city this would be a real novelty for some kids.

      green halloween

      Paper straws are a great treat to help raise awareness about the problems of plastic.  Amazon sells boxes of 150-300 and depending on your street a single box could last a few years.  

      Sidewalk chalk, tiny cookie cutters, pencils, erasers, bandages, magnets, coloring books or printed coloring sheets, remelted crayons all are lower waste treats and last quite a bit longer than candy.

      green halloween

       

      You can also buy an activity card set and hand out one card per child.  Your local bookstore or toy shop will have a selection.  Expect to pay around $10-12 for a deck of 50 cards.

      The website Teachers Pay Teachers has some different printables including Halloween Yoga cards and Halloween PE.   Download to make cute books, printable bookmarks are another option.  The downloads cost between $3-5 making these a fun and cheap treat.

      The materials to make a craft are also nice treats.  Friendship bracelets made from embroidery thread are a calming way to end the Halloween frenzy.  You can make a kit for each trick or treater and include directions.  Here is a link-DIY Printable Friendship Bracelet .

      I hope this blogs helps you think about ways to celebrate without making lots of extra trash.  Handing out an eco item can help raise awareness about our planet.  Let's all work to make Halloween more green.

      green halloween

       

       

      Celebrating Earth Day in Maine

      Celebrating Earth Day in Maine

      Earth Day was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  He felt that environmental issues and awareness needed to be more prominent in both the media and in politics so he created the first official Earth Day back in 1970. 

      Of course, Earth Day should be everyday.  This year, the official theme is "Environmental and Climate Literacy".  In order to get a bit more literate in this area I'm reading Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything- Capitalism vs the Climate".  It's not an easy read for me, I tend to like complex mysteries that allow me to escape into a book and this book makes you think.  Another everyday way to celebrate our planet is to get outside and pick up trash.  Noticing all the bits of litter can be very eye opening.  Besides helping to make the earth a tiny bit cleaner you are setting an example for others.  People need to see folks out there not ignoring litter but picking it up. 

      It's nice to get out and about and connect with others on this Earth Day Celebration.  Here's a list of events around the state of ME. 

      MID-COAST MAINE

      JUST EAT IT- A FOOD WASTE STORY

      Sunday April 22 at the Strand Theatre in downtown Rockland

      This event is hosted by Renew Rockland, The Strand and Good Tern Coop.  Check out their Facebook Page for more info.

      EARTH DAY CHORAL CONCERT

      Camden’s Quasimodal Chorus will celebrate the Earth with song.  At the Camden Public Library on Sunday starts at 2:00 and a donation of $10 is suggested.  More info- http://www.librarycamden.org/event/spring-concert-april-2/

      EARTH DAY WORK DAY at MOFGA

      Earth Day Planting Day on Sat April 21 from 9-3 at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity.  More info from MOFGA.

      A WALK FOR MOTHER EARTH

      Sears Island to Belfast on Sat April 21 from 8-3.  Here's a link to the route.

       

      SOUTHERN MAINE

      CELEBRATE SCIENCE & EARTH DAY- WHAT WOULD RACHEL DO?

      This event honors Rachel Carson and is from 10-2 on Sat at the Waterhouse Center in downtown Kennebunk.  More info here-https://www.someplaneteers.org/

      TERRA MATTERS YOUTH CLIMATE SUMMIT

      Sat 9-12 at Hannaford Hall in Portland.  Environmental clubs from Me's high and middle schools will present their projects.  After the event join the march and rally and remember to bring your refillable containers for food and drink.  More info here- http://terramatters.org/

      EARTH FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES AT THE PORTLAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

      Seeds,mud, stories, face painting and more! From 10:30 to 4:30, cost of admission to the museum.  More info- https://www.portlandmaine.com/events/earth-day/ 

      WELLS RESERVE AT LAUDHOLM

      This place is beautiful and on Earth Day there are family friendly events including bird watching, a concert, beach clean-up and more.  https://www.wellsreserve.org/

      A DAY OF MINDFULNESS

      If you'd like to experience peace and quiet head to Nurture Thru Nature Retreat

      starting at 9:30  for singing, chanting, meditation and more peaceful activities.  Check it out- http://www.ntnretreats.com/

      DOWN EAST

      EARTH DAY AT COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

      Roadside cleanup, picnic lunch, puppet show, e car and a showing of the film 

      "The Story of Stuff".  More info-http://www.coa.edu/calendar/#!event_id/28712/view/event

      I know this list is incomplete- feel free to add any events in the comment section.

       

       

       

      Meet the Maker Movement

      Meet the Maker Movement

      We've joined the March Meet the Maker Movement created by English entrepreneur Joanne Hawker.  It's a chance to tell our 2018 business story, make some connections, build some social media skills and have fun.

      The challenge is very well designed and 2018 is the third year.  She like many creative entrepreneurs was in the social media/creativity rut.  A tough place to be!  She started a month long challenge to show the different aspects of her business and asked others to join. 

      At Dulse & Rugosa we split the business jobs.  Carly's is the actual maker.  She starts by growing many of our botanicals and harvesting seaweed.  She also makes by hand all our products.  Then she wraps and packages everything.

      Claire goes to markets, builds wholesale accounts, mails orders and is responsible for social media.  At times social media feels like "speaking to the winds"-one of our favorite quotes by Gott Island author Ruth Moore. There are so many mornings when social media posting causes stress and makes me late.  

      Joanne has taken care of "posting stress" with a series of prompts.  The prompts tell the story of your business.  

      Thank you Joanne and we can't wait to join others in building our creative community.  Here's the link to Meet the Maker -

      https://www.marchmeetthemaker.com

      Growing Our Business

      Growing Our Business

      We want to have a sustainable business. 

      A few years ago, we rethought our packaging.  We replaced our cheap plastic jars and tubs with glass.  This was an expensive process for us.  The wholesale price for containers made out of plastic vs. glass or metal is considerable.  The price difference is something that you can't pass on to consumers.  There is also the price of mailing heavier containers.  Plus companies like Amazon who offer free or reasonable shipping.  I don't like to make purchases where the shipping cost more than the product.   We also made a switch to more eco-friendly shipping materials.  It shouldn't be a surprise that mailers made from recycled paper cost more than plastic ones.  My point here is that our cost are greater for eco-friendly products but the price for our products has remained  pretty much the same.

      We are so thankful for the folks who support us.  We make products that last a long time.  That's part of our philosophy- purchase products that last.  This is not the traditional "grow your business" path.  Carly and I frequently have conversations about how to grow our business especially wholesale.  One of our goals right now is to get our Seaweed Shampoo Bars into natural food shops and coops.  She points out that because our bars last so long there isn't really a lot of turn over and that is something stores don't like.  Even if it is a store with a Zero Waste philosophy they need customers to support them and the products they stock.  

      My point here is- it's complicated.  We got an email the other day from a customer who was upset with us.  She pointed out that we had a Zero Waste philosophy but we had sent them a postcard advertisement.  I believe she was referring to a postcard I sent in Dec.  I'll admit it was probably my most "ad-centered" and not personal postcard.  It was a message to support small, local or indie business during the holiday season.  Of course, we were thrilled if someone decided to support us but the general message was shop small.  I made it a bit more "slick" because I had decided to send a card in Jan with a more personal message.  When I'm addressing or stamping or decorating our "snail mail" I like to capture a bit of author Alice Hoffman's magic.  Her characters infuse ordinary things with magical intentions.  I'm not saying my postcards are magical but they do have good intentions.

      I still like "real mail".  It's partly my ties to Gotts Island.  Mail is a big deal there and the little mail house helps build and connect community.  When I lived overseas I had "postcard" buddies.  Postcards where what I'd buy in airports.  I just mailed a card of cheer to the mom of one of my grade school friends- she needs a bit of love.   I also realize how complicated every action we take is and how there are always consequences.

      We've tried so many different avenues to introduce people to our company.  I know it's easy for people to say "just use social media".  Social media is incredibly complicated and it's very hard for small businesses to make a dent when they compete against large companies with big budgets.

      The social media sites are also businesses.  In general, an average post is shown to about 2% of the people who like your page.  If people "like" or comment on the post the reach does increase.  You can also try to increase your reach by paying the social media company money to promote your post.  FaceBook just changed it's rules again making it even harder for little companies like Dulse & Rugosa.

      Another option is to join and participate in groups.  I joined some Zero Waste FaceBook groups.  I felt like I was a good group member.  I "liked" and made relevant comments on posts and whenever someone asked about shampoo bars I would post a link to our website.  One evening I got a message asking me "to not self-promote".  They explained -

      We just wanted to reach out to you to let you know that the group's rules around business posts have changed. Unfortunately, none of the Journey groups allows members to do any sort of promotion around their businesses, blogs associated with businesses or that have affiliate links etc etc etc. 

      I totally understood where they were coming from but the next day in the site's thread were posts about products from three big companies including posts about the wonders of Burt's Bees.  This company actually started in Maine and is always the example used in entrepreneur classes.  "Do you want to be another Burt's Bees?"  We always answer "NO".  I was so frustrated by this- Burt's Bees is a giant company owned by the multinational company Clorax.  My take away from this is it's OK for big business to continue to get their products posted because they themselves are not actually doing the posting.  It's coming from someone else- what's wrong is "self-promoting".  Even thought it's social media- you have no idea who is actually doing the posting or how much money and influence is being spent encouraging and influencing folks.  

      I'm frustrated today- how can I grow a business that isn't perfect but also tries?  

      Sustainable Gift Guide for Unique Personalities

      Sustainable Gift Guide for Unique Personalities

      The winter solstice is fast approaching, many of us have had our first snowfall and with all the cheerful twinkle lights it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We have lots of sustainable gifts and stocking stuffers for family and friends.  Our holiday gift guide has suggestions for all the unique personalities in your life.

      The Mermaid-  Always be yourself unless you can be a mermaid
      Keep your locks looking their best with our Seaweed Shampoo Bar, Herbal Hair Vinegar and a nourishing hair oil.

      The Sailor- I need Vitamin Sea
      a Cruising Bar with a rust proof tin will let your sailor travel the seas plastic free.

      The Bearded Guy-a beard is a gift you give your face
      Give some beard love this holiday season with our Beard and Scalp Oil.

      The Comedian- laugh and the world laughs with you
      Give the power of seaweed with a bar of Weed n' Shrooms soap or Seaweed it’s Legal Canva Bag


      The Bathing Beauty- happiness is taking a long bath 
      Make every bath extra special with our Hot Island Bath Tea or Bath Effervescents. 


      The Stressed Mom- stressed is dessert spelt backwards
      When mom has had too much it's our botanical perfumes to the rescue.

      The Tattoo Artist- it's always a good day for a tattoo
      Keep skin art looking good with our all natural, chemical free soothing Tattoo Butter.

      The Vegan- be kind to every kind
      Pure and natural vegan butter.

      The Gardner- to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow
      Give the gift of flowers and soft skin with our gentle Gardeners Scrub.

      Sleeping Beauty-  prioritizing good sleep is good self love
      Bring on the Zzzz's with our balm or roll on. 


      And finally the stockings were hung by the fire with care
      Place our shower shots on the floor of your shower and let the fun begin.  Aromatherapy for every mood.