Posts Tagged ‘Zola Goods’

Starting 2009 in a New Direction with a Green Business

Monday, December 29th, 2008

What’s your plan for 2009?  I’m working on mine right now, and I’m wondering what everyone else has in mind. Our economic situation is forcing many of us to rethink our lives and businesses.  I’ve got a feeling that “improve finances” is at the top of many to do lists for 2009, but hunkering down and circling the wagons may not be enough.  To really get where you want to go, it might be time to take the leap and start a new business, and going green might provide the new direction you’re looking for. 


Far from being finished, the green economy is just getting started.  Green choices like solar power and organic food have grown immensely in recent years, with consistent double digit annual growth, but solar power is still less than 1% of the overall market and organic food is only about 3% of the food market.  The green economy is already over $200 billion in size, but it still has huge growth ahead in the broader market.  


Nobody is immune from the current economy, but green businesses like Sustainable Spaces that help people to save money are doing well.   Saving energy is more important than ever for homes and businesses eager to save money.  Those in the industry who I’ve talked to such as Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, still expect the solar industry to grow rapidly in 2009, in part because of the opportunity people have to save on their utility bill.  With millions of buildings across the US wasting energy on poor insulation, weather sealing, and air ducts, fixing this problem remains a big opportunity across the country.  As energy continues rising in price in the years ahead, the opportunity for businesses improving energy efficiency will keep on growing.


Green markets won’t stay small because all other things being equal, consumers chose green products.  Nobody hates the planet, and consumers consistently report in surveys that they will buy green products, all other things being equal.  Well-priced products like Green Works that work well and also happen to be good for the environment are increasingly moving into the mainstream. 


Another trend is that the price of oil will not stay low forever, and seems likely to reverse its downward slide in 2009, moving back toward more moderate territory.  The US auto industry is in turmoil, but there are also opportunities ahead in autos.  A variety of new all electric or plug-in hybrid cars are on the way in the years ahead, and when people start buying more cars again, they will be looking for something fresh and new.


Want to start a green business for very little money?  Zola Goods and Green Irene are two possibilities.  Green Irene is recruiting Eco-Consultants across the country to go out to homes and perform Green Home Makeovers, providing a direct sales model like Avon.  Zola Goods works through coordinators who hold green house parties, like Tupperware, helping homeowners green their homes, and helping coordinators produce income on a flexible work schedule.  Another ready to go option is opening your own on-line green store with OnlyGreen4Me.


Look for big government action in 2009 that will help the continued growth of the green economy.  The Obama administration has continued to pledge its support for a renewable energy portfolio standard, green job development, and action on climate change.  The highly qualified green team he is assembling, including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu to lead the Department of Energy, demonstrate his commitment to these initiatives. State and regional actions will also support green opportunities for entrepreneurs.  These actions will stimulate the economy not just now, but for many years to come.


The opportunities are not just for a few, or for the greenest of the green.  There are opportunities for almost anyone, including you.  Take stock of your assets, of which you probably have more than you realize.  Look through the many possibilities and find something that excites you.  You can do it.  You don’t need an MBA, an impressive resume, or piles of money to get started.  It will take time, energy and commitment, but you can build a successful business and take your life in a new direction.  The most important thing is getting started. 


Wishing you a happy, prosperous, and green New Year.   


Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference”, and the founder of Starting Up Green. 

Zola Goods - Green House Parties as a Low Cost, Green Business

Saturday, December 20th, 2008


The green business world has grown immensely, but is still just scratching the surface of the opportunities for entrepreneurs and consumers.  While increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are drawn to starting a green business, many have limited time and money.  I often get asked “What kind of green business can I start with very little money?” Consumers who want to go green can be held back by a lack of good information about what to do and where to start with green changes that make sense in their lives.  Business models that can bridge these gaps for entrepreneurs and for consumers will help bring green to the masses.  Zola Goods is working to do just this with coordinators who arrange parties bringing green products to people. 


Founded by Beth Remmes, Zola Goods works through coordinators who organize parties in their communities for groups interested in going green in their homes.  “There are many people who are interested in the environmental movement, but they don’t really know where to start or how they can make a difference”, said Remmes. With a mix of education, and products that green the home, coordinators of Zola parties help to meet this need.  Think of Tupperware parties, but for green products instead. 


As a mother of two young children, Remmes has worked herself to balance her home life with her desire to earn a living and make a positive difference in the world.  After considering a retail storefront providing green goods and information, she decided against it.  “All of a sudden it occurred to me that if women were willing to gather to talk about and buy kitchen products or make-up, then I thought they would also be interested in learning how to help the environment and save money in the process. Also, this model allows people who are passionate about the environment to help spread the message in their community and earn a supplemental income.”


Zola offers a wide range of products, focusing on affordable eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products.   The items they offer include those that reduce  (such as water and energy savers); items that are reusable (such as Wrap-n-Mats, shopping bags, to-go ware, stainless steel water bottles); and also items that are made from recycled material (such as foil wrapper bags, or recycled paper note cards and journals). They also provide eco-friendly candles, fun family games and other green gift ideas.



Coordinators are often moms seeking income and flexible hours, people who are seeking ways to get involved in the green business revolution without turning their lives upside down.  “This will be an ongoing process as I work to get the word out to anyone who may be interested in helping to bring about change in their communities. The only requirement is that someone wants to make a positive difference,” said Remmes.  “The most successful coordinators find a way to be of service in their community and become the hub for green information beyond Zola products.” Coordinators also let people know about local recycling information, farmer’s markets or green festivals. The start-up cost for a Coordinator is only $149 for a kit containing a number of items that can be used in daily life and for demonstrations at parties.  The kit also includes all of the training materials needed.    


 How do Coordinators generally find opportunities to organize parties?

“Most Coordinators have parties for their friends and neighbors and then expand outward to include co-workers, parents/teachers from the local schools or other organizations. Being green is something that so many people hear about, but they don’t really know exactly what it means. So, when they have the chance to learn more about it in a fun evening with others, people are happy to host or attend parties. From Tupperware to cosmetics - this is a model that has been successful for many years.”


Its worth noting that while Zola is a direct sales company it is not a multi-level marketing system and it is transparent in its operations.  Coordinators earn a commission directly on 20% of products sold, with no recruiting or sales requirements, no quotas, and no hierarchical pyramid.  “The emphasis is on education and by offering the products for sale, the parties bridge the gap between hearing the information and then acting on it by purchasing eco-friendly alternatives,” said Remmes.


The market for green is still wide open, barely scratching the mainstream.  Zola’s model may be one key to bringing green to more mainstream consumers, and helping entrepreneurial individuals join the green business world as well.