Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Zero Waste Maine" – Page 2 – Dulse & Rugosa
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    WOOF for Seaweed

    WOOF for Seaweed

    Seaweeds many nutritional benefits include being rich in iron, magnesium, iodine, and the omega-3 fatty acids.  Plus there's that great "umami" flavor.  Umami is Japanese for "pleasant savory taste".  These are the reasons we humans love to add seaweed to our diet- but what about our dogs? 

    Turns out seaweed is a great addition to our dog's diet.  Those same powerful nutrients that benefit humans help improve our dog's coat and skin.  Nori, the unseasoned sushi wraps can make great training treats for your dog.  That umami taste sensation is similar to a rich, meaty bone.

    If you are lucky enough to live near the beach, washed ashore seaweed is NOT a safe dog treat.  In general, my Puerto Rican street dog Tuffy eats a lot of gross things on the beach- but she's never shown an interest in beach seaweed.  The dangers are possible pollutants, salt poisoning and expansion as the dried seaweed expands in the tummy.  

    If you're looking for a good seaweed rich supplement for your dog check out the Maine company Source.  Susan Domizi developed a nutritional product to help her horse's health.  One of the problems of modern society is our soils may be depleted and not have all the essential micronutrients that our dogs need.  Source for dogs contains "selected seaweeds plus the added benefits of yeast cultures, brewers yeast, garlic powder, vitamin E, zinc and natural beef flavor."

    Source also makes a human supplement which I use but that's another blog!

    Find out more on the Source website- https://www.4source.com/product/source-plus-for-dogs/

    Find out more about seaweeds in general by visiting the Maine Seaweed Council website- http://www.seaweedcouncil.org/

     

    World Oceans Day 2018

    World Oceans Day 2018

    At Dulse & Rugosa we are passionate but not perfect in being as eco and ocean friendly as possible.

    Read more

    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.  

     

     

     

     

    Easy Peasy Soup Stock

    Easy Peasy Soup Stock

    My daughter Carly and I were talking about "garden guilt" recently.  That's when you have more produce than you can eat and not a lot of time to can or freeze all your garden goodies.  If you have a crock pot here is an easy technique for turning an abundance of garden produce into a tasty yummy stock that you can freeze and enjoy summer's bounty on a cold winter day.

    Easy Peasy Soup Stock made with tough garden vegetables.

    If the garden gives you tough green beans make a stock.  You can use basically anything to make your stock.  I like to start with a nice chunk of kelp.  Kelp is a wonderful seaweed that adds depth and flavor to cooked dishes especially stocks, soups and beans.  The rich flavor that seaweeds add to foods is known as umami.  It's the Japanese word for the fifth taste sensation. Umami is a great substitute for meats in your stock.  Another way to boost the umami flavor is to use dried mushrooms.  There's no hard and fast rule for making this broth and it will be different each time you make it- it all depends on what's available in your garden and farm market.  For more information about cooking and enjoying sea vegetables check out the cookbook Sea Vegetable Celebration.

    DIY Garden Stock

    The next step is to load your crockpot up with vegetables, onions, beans, tomatoes, squash, carrots, greens, whatever you have an abundance of including bunches of herbs.  This is a perfect opportunity to use older and tough vegetables including clean skins.  Turn the crock pot on and let it simmer away for hours.  I like to cook mine over night, the house is cooler and you wake up to a lovely savory smell.

    When everything is cooked, strain the stock.  You can stop here and freeze a soup base or you can use gorgeous, lovely vegetables and make a soup.  For this step I like to use the best veggies I can.  Tender and sweet.  I'll put onions and carrots in to simmer until tender and will lightly simmer other veggies including corn, beans, peas, chopped greens and herbs.  I freeze my vegetable soup without any grains, pasta or rice.  It takes up less room and I can quickly cook up my choice of starch to add to my soup before serving.

    It's not a lot of actual work making the stock, it takes awhile for the broth to simmer and then simply pop into your choice of containers and freeze.