Social Justice: Green Guru, Upcycling and Cool Products

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As the following for this series has grown, I don’t often have to go looking for companies to spotlight on Social Justice – recommendations come flowing in from social connections or readers.  But this week I was lucky to stumble upon Green Gurus when I googled Made in the USA Social Good and found Designed Good, a website that curates and sells brilliantly designed, social good companies to their members.

The founders of Green Guru, Davidson Lewis and Justin Daughtery, have a few traits in common with many of the originators of the companies we’ve covered here in the past: they’re smart, eco-minded, and they are outdoors enthusiasts.  It is not surprising to me that people who spend a great deal of time outside connecting with nature are the ones who begin to consider mankind’s impact upon it.

The Makings of Green Guru

Like many of my marketing colleagues, the word Guru gives me pause because it has so often been paired with the words ‘social media’ by snake oil salesmen as this medium has risen.  But the guys at Green Guru are the real deal when it comes to sustainable products, and the Boulder, CO company they founded in 2007 makes an array of well designed products from discarded items including: Bike Tubes, Banners, Wetsuits, Climbing Rope, and PETE recycled plastic bottles.

When you take a look at their products, it won’t surprise you that Lewis studied Industrial Design at Virginia Tech.

Recycling/Upcycling Procedures

Green Guru’s website lists a range of drop off points for the following products to be recycled:Green Guru Upcycle

  • Climbing Rope
  • Tent and Rain Flys
  • Road and Mountain Bike Inner Tubes
  • Neoprene Wetsuits

Many of the drop off sites are near their hub of Boulder, and quite a few in California. If you are interested in sending product in for recycling, you can mail them to:

Green Guru Gear
Attn: Materials
2500 47th Street
Suite 12
Boulder, CO 80301

The Products

Green Guru Cruiser CoolerGreen products often carry with them great design, and Green Guru excels here as well. Their backpacks and bags are particularly cool, while they’re Cruiser Cooler, described as a bike’s

missing glove compartment

on their site is, well, I have to say it: just too cute.

Green Guru also makes: wallets, zipper pulls, laptop sleeves and beverage coolers.You may purchase products online or from a growing list of retailers.

Where’s the Media?

When I highlight a social good company, they are usually small, and word of mouth from the mobilized social good community is key to their success.  I found Green Guru by accident, but they do show a fair amount of press from outdoor enthusiast magazines and blogs, and the Made in America community also gives them some love.  Check out their press on their blog.

Of course the marketer in me wants to ‘fix’ a few things: I’d love to see an actual blog on the site where their passionate community can connect and engage with Green Guru.  Once you end up on the ‘blog’ now there is no way back home (and to the most important shopping section) except for the back up button. No good: too many of us are lazy and impatient and will just jump off the site there.

The Good Stuff: Social Media

Green Guru has built a great Facebook following number over 8,000.  Yes, it’s highly engaged with posts not only from Green Guru, but also many from fans and outdoor enthusiasts.  (Yes, I’m thinking: ‘This needs to live on the real estate they OWN, their website).

One point to note, dear clients, is that it takes TIME to build a following like this… and then Facebook changes the rules and what do you have?  A community you can only fully access when you pay; thus my blog obsession.

For the 756th time I’ll bemoan the fact that with Facebook’s Pay to Play system enforce, only a small percentage of their Green Guru Beer Cooziefollowing is seeing this interaction. Out of 8,000 fans, only 143 are ‘talking about’ the page. (End of rant).

The Green Guru Twitter Page brought no surprises: a much smaller following of just under 1,700.  The profile is active with a fair amount of consistent tweets, but any community manager knows that Twitter takes work.  Green Guru is posting a lot of cools stuff – not simply schilling their products – but one has to work hard and spend a lot of time seeking out conversations on the network to make it really work; this is a challenge for many small businesses.

The reason I strongly encourage time spent on Twitter for Green Guru is because the social good community is highly engaged and generous on there.  They will show you love and raise your visibility if you work to connect with them.

Green Guru is ripe for Pinterest because the products are so visually appealing; while they do have a base of 164 followers I see lots of potential here.  They also have a presence on You Tube, and Instagram.

Ecologic Design: One More Gem

Ecologic Design was the original company founded by Lewis fresh out of Virginia Tech, and it fills a gap in the promotional goods industry.  Anyone familiar with promotional goods knows that the vast majority of products being sold are made in China or Asia and simply printed on in the US.

The Green Guru website describes Ecologic Design as the “private label arm” of the company, and it allows companies to purchase sustainable Made in the USA promotional products.

Green Guru’s Future

With the growing social good movement, and the product range Green Guru is offering, I’d bet that this company has a strong future.  There is, of course, a lot more they could do to tell their story more personally and gain broader attention, but their foundation is obviously in the right place.  On this beautiful Sunday morning, I’ll leave you with their words, not mine:

As the amount of materials we reclaim, jobs we create and products we manufacture increases, we are able to realize positive social, environmental and economic change by creating an organization that has the foundation needed to flourish into our future.

0 thoughts on “Social Justice: Green Guru, Upcycling and Cool Products

  1. Brandsojustice says:

    AmyMccTobin wow! What a clever idea! I think greengurugear could have much bigger presence in ATX

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