This is a guest post from Phillipe Christodoulou who is the founder and co-owner of The Eco Laundry Company.
Five years ago, I decided to do something completely crazy. I quit a successful corporate job at an international recruiting company and started my own business.
It wasn’t just any business – it was a revolutionary Eco-minded dry cleaner and laundry shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m not from Argentina and I had never owned a brick and mortar store. Yes, I admit, it was a crazy idea.
But, I’m so happy I took that leap.
Since launching The Eco Laundry Company in 2010, I’ve learned a whole lot about owning and operating a business. I’ve grown leaps and bounds as a professional and as a person. Most importantly, I’ve fueled my company with my passion and zeal for making a positive and lasting change in my community and in the world.
Our company started off with the aim of off setting our carbon footprint by planting trees in the Entre Rios region of Argentina. We’re the first laundry brand ever to become a certified B Corporation, meaning we’re intentionally in business to spark positive environmental and social change. It’s one of the most rigorous certifications for a business to go through, and we’re proud to be among a handful of for-profit businesses that have taken that vow.
Shortly after launching in Buenos Aires, I met Jean Calleja, a then-Wall Street communications executive traveling through South America. When he walked inside The Eco Laundry Company, it immediately clicked for him – he realized this was something that he wanted to do, to help this brand grow and thrive. Like I had done just a few years before, Jean also quit his cozy corporate position to embark on the uneasy entrepreneurial journey. Jean became co-owner and we launched a second location in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood in 2012.
We’re doing all we can to make a lasting difference, especially inside our locations. Our stores run on 100% pure wind energy and our washing machines save hundreds of gallons of water. Biodegradable soaps and detergents help us make it a completely nontoxic experience for our customers. And, we provide first-time customers complimentary laundry bags made from salvaged material and recycled fabric.
We see a problem and we’re aiming to solve it: People should feel good about their drop-off laundry service provider. They should feel that their clothes are being washed in a sustainable, safe way. Clothing is an essential part of our life. It’s literally something we use on a daily basis.
I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a growing movement of sustainable business owners. Still, there needs to be more – a lot more – of us. Here at The Eco Laundry Company, we’re aiming to lead by example. One day, we hope that “sustainable business” is no longer a trend. We want it to be the global norm.
Phillipe Christodoulou is the founder and co-owner of The Eco Laundry Company, a sustainable dry cleaning and laundry service headquartered in New York City, with a second location in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In January 2015, the company unveiled a targeted franchising opportunity to expand the business and share its mission with a wider audience. Follow Phillipe on Twitter @happytalist and learn more about the brand at EcoLaundryCompany.com.
SongsofLove.org – Guest post from John Beltzer, Founder and President, Songs of Love Foundation
We are asking your support for our truly unique Songs of Love Foundation. We are a nonprofit 501©(3) organization dedicated to providing personalized uplifting songs, free of charge, for children and teens currently facing tough medical, physical or emotional challenges.
Since 1996 the Songs of Love Foundation has reached over 25,000 children in over 500 hospitals and health care facilities in all 50 states. Children often listen to their personalized songs to alleviate the trauma of scary hospital treatments. They have played their songs in car trips to the hospital, show and tell at school, for family and friends and even for the doctors and nurses. Their “Songs of Love” are always available to them whenever they are feeling down. An article in Intouch, a cancer prevention magazine, stated that, “Young patients endure invasive procedures without anesthetics thanks to the comfort their “Songs of Love” provide.”
Each CD is professionally produced with lyrics containing the child’s name and references to all of his or her favorite people, activities, pets, and things. Talented professionals write and perform the songs in the musical style that the child prefers (children’s, pop, R&B, rap, rock, alternative, etc.). Notables Billy Joel, Michael Bolton, Ben Taylor, Jason Mraz, David Lee Roth and Player have all contributed their voices on a “Song of Love.”
The foundation has been featured by many prominent media outlets including: The New York Times, CNN, the Today Show, 60 Minutes, Parade magazine, NBC Nightly News, People magazine, ABC World News, the Hallmark Channel, Dateline, and American Profile Magazine.
Songs of Love focuses on the often neglected importance of treating the patient in their current moment of struggle. It is essential to boost the spirits of these children to help make them as happy as possible while battling their illness. Sponsoring Songs of Love is a wise social investment that keeps paying dividends in the form of repeated smiles whenever an ailing child hears his or her very own song
To hear some "Songs of Love” that children have already received click on the “jukebox” found on our Home page at www.SongsofLove.org
Songs of Love has received the “Best in America” Independent Charities of America Seal which is only given to one percent of charities across America. Please support us today.
Thanking you in advance for your donation,
Founder & President
Songs of Love Foundation
This is a guest post from Ruth Steinberger who is the Founder and co-CEO of Spay FIRST (http://www.spayfirst.org/), a non-profit organization.
An estimated 500 to 700 million dogs exist worldwide. Three quarters of them live on the streets of impoverished communities scattered across the globe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-UEb9KOgpE). Their life expectancy is just three years; the suffering is immense and the tragedy stretches beyond the canine victims.
In developing nations rabies kills 55,000 people each year, and over 95% of rabies cases in humans result from dog bites. Annually, 9 to 12 million people worldwide receive over two-billion dollars of prophylactic treatment for rabies after a bite by a potentially infected animal. For people living under the threat of rabies, street dogs are a dangerous vector, not a friend in need. The resulting collection and killing programs are cruel and largely ineffective at halting the disease, yet killing remains at the forefront of responses.
Prevention is the only humane, effective solution. However, according to the online animal welfare news service Animals 24/7 (http://www.animals24-7.org/) at least three quarters of dogs worldwide receive no veterinary care during their lives. Until recently, for free-roaming animals, prevention meant spay/neuter surgery or nothing at all.
Spay/neuter is the gold standard for preventing litters, however spay/neuter clinics cannot reach hundreds of millions of animals that exist in impoverished places around the world. A non-surgical contraceptive administered along with a rabies vaccine and parasite treatment could revolutionize the lives of street dogs, and save human lives, at a fraction of the cost of surgical spay/neuter.
Injectable sterilents and contraceptives exist, and others are on the horizon. However, some are not cheap and access to them is not equal; unless non-surgical options cast a net that includes animals in underserved areas, they will not stop the suffering.
Injectable calcium chloride in ethyl alcohol has been shown to be effective for non-surgical castration of male dogs; it is documented to reduce testosterone and it is permanent. Compounded from pharmaceutical grade ingredients that are too common to be patented, this low-tech solution is nearly universally available to veterinarians. The necessary equipment fits in a shoebox. The cost (including a rabies vaccine and parasite treatment) is under three dollars (USD) per dog. However, the millions of dollars needed for FDA approval does not make this product, which cannot be patented, attractive for marketing; sitting in distribution/marketing limbo, it has been overlooked for decades.
Non-surgical options do not need to be recognized as being equal to surgical spaying and neutering. Some will need boosters or not be 100 percent effective. They should be recognized if they are safe, effective, and low-cost and may improve the lives of animals in chronic poverty that otherwise are among the millions that suffer in the absence of veterinary care.
With overlapping issues of poverty, zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted to people that include rabies), and more, non-surgical sterilization options cannot arrive too soon. We are helping them get here.
Explaining his motivation, he says, “Our most pressing challenges – food, water, energy, health care, education, sanitation – also are among the biggest business opportunities of the 21st century.”
“A growing category of investors are looking for such opportunities, seeking outsized returns by helping to solve outsized problems, in the U.S. and around the world,” he adds.
“They are not merely socially responsible, screening out or divesting destructive products or companies from their portfolio. They are not simply philanthropists by another name, trading off financial returns for social or environmental gains. “Finance-first” doesn’t describe them, since they’re doing much more than sprinkling impact dust over conventional investing. Better to call them ‘impact alphas.’ These investors and fund managers are leveraging social and environmental trends to unlock hidden value and generate above-market returns,” he concludes.
On Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM Eastern, David will join me for a live discussion about his platform and his audience. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.
More about ImpactAlpha:
ImpactAlpha delivers “investment news for a sustainable edge.” We are building a media platform for investors, entrepreneurs and others interested in getting ahead of major trends with a new investment approach. Through our open database, ImpactSpace, “the Crunchbase for Impact,” we profile thousands of impact ventures and investors and track more than 2,000 deals.
David Bank is the CEO and editor of ImpactAlpha, “investment news for a sustainable edge.” ImpactAlpha also is building an open database of impact investors and deals at ImpactSpace.com.
As a technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal, David chronicled the rise of the Web, Microsoft’s fall from grace, software startups and cybersecurity threats. His book, Breaking Windows, was named one of the year’s best business books by the Harvard Business Review. As vice president of Encore.org, he developed the campaign around encore careers, second acts for the greater good.
He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and UC Santa Cruz.