2018 is quickly coming to an end. With all the holiday craziness that happens each year, we wanted to take this time to look back and reflect on some of the amazing things we’ve accomplished together over the last 12 months. We’re so grateful for all your support, encouragement, and feedback as we continue to grow and develop what it means to be an Earth hero. 2019–we’re coming for ya!
While EarthHero launched back in late 2017 (with our favorite launch product, the Chico Travel Pack!), we entered 2018 excited to take on our first full year as a team. Now I may be biased, but January was a pretty great month for us. We got started with a bang–hiring our fourth full-time team member, myself! We started the year strong by partnering with awesome brands like Earth Mama, RADIUS Toothbrushes, and S.W. Basics, expanding into the personal care categories you suggested, thanks!
February brought with it a pretty huge milestone for our team! We hit 1,000 uniquely sustainable products from 50 ethical brands.
On February 4th, while everyone was celebrating the Super Bowl, the EarthHero team was celebrating something of our own. Celebrity and reality TV star Lauren Conrad, who recently had her first child, took to Instagram to share one of her (and our) favorite non-toxic finger paint companies– eco-kids! This sent tons of ethical mamas to our site, and we like to consider it the first time we went “viral”… even if Lauren Conrad had no idea!
We continued adding several new brands… including Tree-Free Greeting Cards just in time for Valentine’s Day, Colorado-local skincare company Lily Farm Fresh Skincare, and Simply Straws reusable drink accessories. And the response to reusable straws was amazing! So amazing in fact, we put our booties in gear to round up every reusable straw option we could find: including bamboo, glass, compostable paper, and stainless steel. This even inspired next month’s theme, as we put a huge focus on a growing category of ours… zero waste!
In March we turned our focus to help the Zero Waste movement. We found that most people had either never heard of the concept, or, had been living a zero waste lifestyle for years.
To bridge this gap, we launched our first annual “Zero Waste March”–an entire month dedicated to showing our community how to reduce their waste through daily actions in four main sub-groups: traveling, home waste, food waste, and overall day-to-day zero waste actions. We posted several blogs, hosted our first major giveaway, and interviewed Zero Waste Guru Andrea Sanders of BeZero.
While the marketing team held down the fort, our intensely-talented product manager, Becki, and our fearless founder Ryan headed to EXPO West to seek some of the best and brightest brands in sustainability. And they hit the jackpot–bringing on bestselling brands like Badger Skincare, Haiku Bags, All Good Sunscreen, Stream2Sea, United by Blue, and tons more. This was our first debut into the world of coral-friendly, mineral-based sunscreen, and we got to work expanding the EarthHero catalog to include our top options!
Our favorite day is in April… can you guess what it is? Yep–Earth Day! We love it so much we expanded it to Earth Week. Honestly, if we had it our way, it would be Earth Month… Earth Year….you get the picture!
To gear up for “Recycling June” (learn about that down below!), we headed to a very magical place called Recycling Row. Just 10 minutes from our office, this is the holy grail of waste diversion–and contains the Boulder County Recycling Center (BCRC), Eco-Cycle, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHARM), and the Hazardous Waste Recycling Center. We took a very deep dive into how things are recycled, some common recycling mistakes, and learned a helluva lot about what happens after you toss items in the blue bin. We also had the opportunity to sponsor one of our favorite partners, 1% for the Planet, at their annual event in our hometown Boulder! This was such a great opportunity to meet many like minded brands and companies and brainstorm about how to create bigger and better impact.
At this point, we really wanted to connect at much deeper level with our favorite group of people: YOU. This led to the creation of a Facebook Page called EarthHeroes, where we cultivate conversation and community around the world of sustainability.
But that’s not all! We also uploaded some wonderful brands that are shaking things up in sustainability, including UKonserve, Brush with Bamboo, and bambu home. If you’ve shopped with us before, you’ll know, we’re a huge fan of all of our bamboo products!
In May, there were some serious environmental events–such as the world’s largest recorded wave (28.3m) at Campbell Island, NZ. Plus, Hamberg, Germany became the first city to ban diesel cars on some roads. There were also several natural disasters including heat waves over 110F.
With all of the craziness happening across the globe, we surveyed you, our EarthHero community, about what matters most to you–and we learned a lot. We confirmed that one of your biggest shopping concerns is plastic (both in products and packaging!). You also let us know that two of the biggest barriers to shopping sustainably is trusting the claims companies make, and of course, the cost of authentic eco-friendly goods. We’re always taking notes, and have made some changes thanks to your feedback!
We’re in the fight against plastic with you! While we work with almost 100 unique brands, it’s a work in progress for us to guarantee that every single item ships plastic free. To help you choose, however, we mark the products that ship 100% plastic free in our “Shipping Information” section on every product page! We continue to encourage and educate our brands on the importance of plastic free shipping, and believe that this is something we can achieve together.
While we’ve always valued transparency, we took it a step further this month and broke down exactly what does into our products. Then we gave it a super fancy name: the EarthHero Methodology, which you can learn allllllll about… here!
From there, we tackled the issue of price–looking for ways to bring you the best products, at the most sustainable (for your wallet, that is) prices. We dove into how reusable products actually cost less in the long-run, the unseen cost of single-use goods, and of course, added new features to make it easier for you to shop discounted goods such as the Deals Page!
We also, as usual, uploaded some seriously sustainable brands–many of which quickly became EarthHero bestsellers, like TerraCycle and Plaine Products. Plus, EarthHero was the first American company to launch a Netherlands company called BiOBUDDi, which makes sugarcane based LEGO-style building blocks. Then, we further expanded our personal care & sunscreen category–bringing on the fan-favorite Goddess Garden.
Recycling is one of our favorite topics. In June, we highlighted awesome new brands that are using recycled or upcycled materials to make their products, like the folks over at Preserve & Indosole. We wrote blogs all about upcycling, downcycling, and things you can’t recycle but probably assumed you could (whaa?)
New plastic-free brands like Maderacraft and Crimson Goods were added, and we began gearing up for our next big theme, which is actually a global theme nowadays: Plastic Free July.
With the rising global movement around Plastic-Free July, and plastic-free living in general, we decided to use this month to “choose to refuse” plastic-waste alongside the rest of the world. And the impact was astounding! In this month alone, some major global players made commitments to reduced plastics–such as Disney banning single-use straws and stirrers at all of its theme parks and resorts, which is estimated to reduce 175 million straws and 13 million plastic stirrers. Starbucks made major news by committing to ban plastic straws by 2020, alongside UK and EU based McDonald’s, and even several airlines like American Airlines. Our personal favorite story comes from Seattle, where on July 1st they made headlines for banning the use of plastic straws and utensils at bars and restaurants.
EarthHero has always been committed to reduced plastic, both in products and packaging, and this month was no exception. We added a feature to our site called Sort By: “Minimal Plastic Packaging” and “Plastic Free Packaging” for our Beauty + Care products, to indicate products that have a touch of plastic packaging (think a plastic lid, or pump), or 100% plastic-free products (they are packaged, and ship, totally plastic-free!)
We also brought on some brands that are great solutions for reducing plastic in your own life, such as BioBag, a compostable Ziploc-bag alternative, Khala Cloths, a vegan food storage wrap to replace seran wrap, and personal care companies like Seed Phytonutrients and Bestowed Essentials–both of which have been revolutionizing personal care packaging through unique packaging materials, like compostable cellulose and recyclable plastic liners.
August marks the end of summer. As we said goodbye to sun hats and and aloe vera, we started to look towards the fall… and of course, the return to school for many. We focused on a totally new form of waste that often gets neglected: school and office waste! We looked far and wide to find products that the modern student and parent can use–from lunchtime to arts & crafts and research papers alike. For pens, pencils, and even notecards, staples and notebooks we brought you Onyx and Green, a company using alternative materials like bamboo, recycled plastic, and recycled newspaper to make functional, yet fun school supplies.
But we didn’t stop there. With thousands of students, teachers, and professionals headed to work or school each day, we knew we wanted to tackle one very important part of the day: the brown-paper-sack-Ziploc-bag-filled lunch on-the-go that we all know and don’t-really-love. Not only is it wasteful in the long run, but does nothing to keep your food protected or a certain temperature, and oftentimes will just break–leaving you with a PB&J on the floor.
To tackle this, we turned to our new favorite material, silicone! Brands like Food Huggers, Stasher, and ECOlunchbox all utilize this fabulous non-plastic material, as it’s extremely durable, long lasting, practically unbreakable, and can be used in high temperature situations without leaching plastic chemicals into your food. So, we gathered up all the awesome silicone products we could find, and brought them to you. You’re welcome :-).
Drum roll please….
The EarthHero team was beyond proud to welcome the 5th full-time member (and partner) of the team, the wonderful, fabulous, talented Jeff Day, our COO. With 20 years of experience in eCommerce, we’re so lucky to have had Jeff join us, and look forward to many more years to come!
EarthHero was reviewed by some gurus in the sustainability world, like Shelbizleee, Style Wise, Sustainably Chic, Litterless, Mama Eco–and many more! We also brought on new products from brands you know and love, like more Klean Kanteen, SOL Organic sheets, and Plaine Products!
Sustainability made spooky. While that may not be our actual slogan, in October, it is. As the leaves changed and the days got shorter in our hometown of Boulder, CO, we added tons of new fall fashions from brands like tentree, United by Blue, and SEEK Dry Goods so that you could stay cozy all season long.
After months of planning & prepping, October was the month we finally launched our “Green Gift Boxes”, including our New Mom Box, Zero Waste Box, Spa Box, and Home Box–all chock full of eco-friendly goodies from some of our favorite brands. Whether you’re shopping for your sustainable friend, looking for your own one-step sustainability set, or looking for a impactful gift for a business client, these 4 boxes launched our gift box program. Shhh, insider secret…. There will be more types of boxes coming 2019, so you can have even more green gifting options!
But no product, brand, or event could compare to one of our favorite events of the year–the addition of Callie to the EarthHero team, our newest Sustainable Sourcing Manager with a background in fashion merchandising, textiles, and supply chains. With all the new brands and products that we already uploaded in 2018, and a long, long list of brands we aim to add in 2019, we knew Callie was the right gal for the job!
November felt like a blur. Between preparing for Christmas by adding tons of new sustainable stocking stuffers, gifts, toys, and holiday card, to preparing for our “Give Back” Friday campaign on Black Friday, it was quite a month!
Instead of just offering great deals this Black Friday (which we also did!), we transformed this day of classic overconsumption into one that allowed you to donate to one of three environmental non-profits. At checkout, it was up to you to decide what percentage of your 20% discount was applied to the order, and what percentage went to an amazing cause. We partnered with the Ocean Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition–learn more about our Give Back Friday campaign here!
We also expanded into some new categories with brands like Conscious Stories’ ethical children’s books, Sustain’s intimate products, and 4Ocean’s charitable jewelry–getting us even closer to having a sustainable alternative for anything and everything.
‘Tis the season to be sustainable… that’s how it goes right? After all the engagement we saw around our “Give-Back Friday” campaign on the weekend of Black Friday, we decided to dedicate this entire month to getting as many amazing, eco-friendly gifts, goods, and essentials up on EarthHero so that you could find the perfect gift for everyone in your life. This included holiday season essentials like recyclable wrapping paper from Wrappily, and over 300+ new toys from brands like PlanToys, Green Toys, and Under the Nile! We gathered sustainable stocking stuffers from brands like Solmate Socks, and EcoNuts, and of course, relied on some of our old favorites like EarthHero Bamboo Utensil Sets and all sorts of reusable straws. We promoted our Green Gifting Boxes, and made all sorts of sustainable-Santa-deliveries to families, friends, and businesses alike.
Now, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I’d love to include that we hit 10,000 followers on Instagram… there’s just 600 more to go. No pressure or anything, but you definitely should follow us on Instagram here!
That’s not the only place our community grew. however. Checkout our year, by the numbers, at the end of this blog!
As the year winds down, please excuse us if we get a little emotional. We’re not crying, you’re crying. But on a more serious note, as a team we learned so much this year–both about our amazing community (that’s you!), and about what EarthHero stands for, and where we want to go as a company from here. There’s been sweat, tears, more sweat, more tears, and sure, maybe some blood. But it has all been worth it to be able to serve such an amazing community of changemakers. So, from the entire EarthHero team, thank you, and we cannot wait to spend 2019 changing the world with you.
How YOU Helped Us Grow in 2018!
We brought on over 45+ new brands!
We sourced over 2,000+ new products!
Through tentree’s Plant-a-Tree program, we planted 2,990 trees!
Through our carbon offset program with Carbonfund, we helped restore deforested areas across the midwest!
We partnered with 3 awesome nonprofits–the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Friends of the Earth, and the Ocean Conservancy!
We got three fabulous new full-time employees, Juliet, Jeff, & Callie, and two new very furry doggos, Baby & Bodhi!
We made 14,000 new friends on Facebook, and 10,000 new friends on Instagram!
So, happy new year, EarthHeroes! Bring on 2019 🙂