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Pine Partners

We are so proud to partner with other wonderful Canadian  companies and a few exceptional American ones that are passionate about creating a greener future. We believe that part of doing what you love is loving who you work with. So, we came up with a few questions for our green partners so you can love them as much as we do! 

 

ONEKA - Philippe + Stacey 

 

Q. What inspires you?

A. Companies and people who are genuinely caring and authentic.

Q. What do you see for the future of refill? 

A. Refill is not going away, we feel, it is just the beginning and that brands like us need to birth the next generation of dispensing systems to bring a better customer and store experience that is faster, less messy and automated. 

Q. What are you most proud of about your brand? 

A. The long lasting relationships we have built we our clients and suppliers. Over the years, business relationships have turned into friendships. It is almost more a feeling of gratitude than pride as we have been so blessed with so many amazing people supporting our journey and helped us materialize a vision of a different way of doing business for which we don’t have a road map and that reveals itself as we go. 

Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?

A. On the forefront of refill/zero waste, good for you and for the water ecosystems, works great, smells awesome. 

Q. What advice would you give your 10 year old self? 

A. Follow you heart, your intuition, your passions. It may not seem rational some times and requires courage, but it is the surest way to true happiness and well being and to tap into creative energy which can easily be linked to a life of abundance on all levels from health, well being and finances. 

 

LOVEFRESH - Stacey

Q. What inspires you? 

A. Many things inspire me.  I love a challenge!  I have been challenging myself since I started the LOVEFRESH brand... always trying to make the product better, more natural, better packaging and more environmentally friendly. Its ongoing but fun to strive to do better. 

Q. What do you see for the future of refill?

A. We have been selling refills since the day we launched - we just called it "Bulk." I absolutely love the idea that you need to walk the walk and not just talk about being kind to our earth.  I mainly eat a plant based diet, I drive an electric car, I re-use over recycle with both my home and my business. Refills are definitely part of my life.

Q. What are you most proud of about your brand?
A. We always do the right thing in all aspects of our company. We treat all staff/retail partners and customers with respect and with appreciation. We want to feel proud of all of our products, our hard work and how we walk this time on earth. 
Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?
A. Changes will continue.  Branching out with new products (including home goods), more staff on board and hopefully many more exciting adventures ahead. 
Q. What advice would you give your 10 year old self? 
A. I would tell her to be kind to herself and although her life takes some detours, it all works out in the end. 
 
 
KRAYWOODS - Rachad + Rayhan
 
Q. What inspires you?
 
A. What inspires us is our mission to combine fashion and sustainability. We wish to make eco-friendly and sustainable fashion desirable to anyone and everyone. We want our customers to know that with eco-friendly fashion, you don’t have to compromise on style. You can care for the environment, and look good and feel good all at the same time! 
 
Q. What do you see for the future of eco-friendly businesses? 
A. With consumers becoming more conscious about the reality of the fast fashion industry and it’s significantly negative impact on the environment and workers in fashion factories around the world, eco-friendly and ethical business are taking over and rightfully so. With the increasing challenges of climate change and pollution, consumers now know better to make the right choices. Eco-friendly businesses ARE the future. 
Q. What are you most proud of about your brand?
A. Our values and mission. At Kraywoods, we don’t only focus on making our eyewear from eco-friendly materials, we’re also proud partners of One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization focused on global reforestation. In the last year, we have contributed to planting over 10,000 trees with our project in Kenya. 
Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?
A. We would like to see Kraywoods as a leader in sustainable eyewear. We wish to continue innovating with our designs as well as our sustainable practices. We hope to continue thriving in giving back to the world and to this beautiful planet. 
Q. What advice would you give your 10 years old self?
A. I would tell myself to hold on tight and enjoy the ride, because life is a true roller coaster that never stops! 
 
GREEN CRICKET - Susan  
Q. What inspires you?
I love the passion that entrepreneurs bring to the world by striving to do things differently and in a way that provides a better life for all those around them, and the world!  This is what keeps us energized and growing at Green Cricket, since our inception in 2008! 
Q. What do you see for the future of refill? 
The Refill revolution has been a long time coming, and is a much needed change in the way that we can each contribute to the betterment of our planet.  The challenge for us is to continue to offer a broad range of naturally formulated bulk products that solve the needs of consumers and offer the most sustainable option from manufacturing to dispensing.  Our movement away from plastic 4L jugs into totally recyclable Bag N Boxes is something that aligns with our vision of a sustainable and economically viable solution for everyone.
Q. What are you most proud of about your brand?
We are proud to be making a wide selection of household cleaning products and personal care products; but also very unique and specialized products like mineral sunscreen, non-alcoholic mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and yoga mat spray.  Many of our products are regulated, Health Canada approved products that are expensive to create and maintain - but this offers retailers a broader range of options for their customers.  We also value each customer as a true partner - we are connected in providing the best quality products and services to the market.  We both win by helping each other and doing better. 
Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We hope to continue to expand throughout Canada by providing distribution depot’s by region that will reduce the costs of shipping.  One of the biggest issues with making liquid products is the safe and economical shipping of those products to retailers across Canada.  We need to solve this problem to have a more viable economic solution that allows all Canadians to use Green Cricket products as a refill option.
Q. What advice would you give your 10 years old self?
Great question!  Everyone can change the world - there is no “Right” way to do this.  Work at what you feel gives you the most sense of satisfaction, and trust that people will follow you. 
  
BUCK NAKED - Rina
 
 
Q. What inspires you? 
Having conversations about what people need are very inspiring. These conversations, specifically the needs identified, inspire me to build and create. Meeting the needs of people and helping them care for themselves and their skin, is truly inspiring.  
Q. What do you see for the future of refill? 
I  think refill is going to become a larger part of the local commercial landscape. People are looking for more sustainable opportunities and refillaries help meet this need. 
Q. What are you most proud of about your brand? 
This aspect that I am most proud of within our business and brand are our values and vision. We have a saying within, Do What You Say You Will Do. We run our business on this statement, including the development of our products and the decisions we make. 
Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years? 
In the next 5 years, we are looking to increase our overall growth and place within the bath and body industry as well as increasing our sustainability and environmental initiatives. 
Q. What advice would you give your 10 years old self? 
Just keep going…and take typing class. 
                                                                                                      
TRU EARTH - Brad
Q. What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from the people around me. Seeing a person realize they have way more potential than they imagined fills me with immense joy. Watching how enlightened someone becomes when they attempt, fail, attempt, fail, attempt and then finally succeed is the greatest inspiration I can imagine. Life is wrought with challenges and for some, waking up and facing our current reality is overwhelming, so when I see people flourishing in their own capability, it drives me to push myself even further, to take on a challenge that others said couldn’t be done, to do my utmost best to defy gravity. 

 

Q. What do you see for the future of refill? 

I see a challenging future for the refill industry, but it will be worth the effort. The pandemic has turned back the clock on the concept but at the same time has shone a light on how necessary the reduction in packaging is. Our planet is very powerful yet delicate and the Covid-19 is only one way she will use her power. We have to realize that climate solutions and reduction in waste are must-do’s not should-do’s. Refill is crucial to that. In the future, with the use of electric vehicles further reducing our carbon footprint, refill may come directly to the neighborhoods. One of our key pillars at Tru Earth is reducing carbon output and utilizing the person who is already coming up the driveway to distribute our products. In doing so, we help reduce the floor space of retail locations and re-filleries. What was once near-impossible is now super-easy. Over time, I envision more products with simpler refilling solutions. 

 

Q. What are you most proud of about your brand?

That is like asking me which of my kids I love the most. There are so many things I’m proud of at Tru Earth starting with the team that has grown from 3 part-timers to well over 80 people in 16-months. I love seeing them ‘defy gravity’ and come inspired in a time when the entire world is scared. I’m also exceptionally proud of the fact we have donated over $1 Million worth of detergent to the most vulnerable around the world. We have been super blessed to be in that position to help. The fact that people in over 33 countries have decided to find a way to help save our planet is mind blowing to me. We talk a lot about how small hinges can swing big doors. In 16 months, we’ve connected more than 100,000 hinges. 

 

Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?

Our vision is crystal clear. By 2025 Tru Earth will offer a complete selection of eco-friendly products for the laundry room, kitchen and bathroom. We will be in more than 100 countries with over 10 million customers. We will continue to challenge the large corporations to find a better way. We will challenge other manufacturers to follow our lead, to empower each household to choose a better way and help us all save the planet.

 

Q. What advice would you give your 10 year-old self? 

Interestingly enough, I had this conversation with a young entrepreneur recently. I started my first business at the age of 18 and now several decades later, it seems I have a long list of advice for my younger self.

The key advice would be to not allow anyone to tell young me that it has to be a certain way-to challenge the status-quo along the way when I feel that I can help. I would tell my 10-year-old self that if I feel something is wrong, the likelihood of many more people feeling the same way is super high and if I can be brave enough and humble enough to build a team of those people, I might truly change the world.

Q. Tell us about your roots. Where are your from, and what led you to develop zero-waste laundry strips?

I was born to two amazing and super-smart people. Unfortunately, I lost my father  when I was 15 and that pushed me into a becoming a grown-up sooner than I might have been. I started my first business at the age of 18 with my brother and since then, I have owned several businesses. In the early 90’s I owned a recycling company that did residential pick-ups, well before cities took on the responsibility. I developed a couple of other environmental companies over the years, but it wasn’t until an extended family member brought my partners and I the patented eco-strip, that I really discovered my calling and my ability to really make a difference. The zero-waste laundry detergent strip was actually developed by a firm in New Brunswick called Dizolve. They still produce all of our strips. Tru Earth was formed to help bring that great idea to market. My business partner was frustrated with the amount of plastic in the world and along with my other partner, we decided to help make a change. We launched Tru Earth part-time in April 2019 and since then have grown to 80 employees with customers in 33 countries. 

Q. What are your laundry strips made of, and how is it that they magically dissolve?

We believe in full transparency of ingredients and wish more companies would do the same. Our complete list is on our website (www.tru.earth) but the key to the dissolving (other than magic. 😊) is a combination of ingredients. It took years to perfect the formula that not only dissolved, but also cleaned clothes. The dissolving part was easy, the cleaning and dissolving was not so much. Because of that, we received a patent and now we are constantly working to improve the detergent. 

Q. What is your one big wish for the zero-waste movement? 

My one big wish is that every person tries to make one small change. One of our core values speaks to how small hinges can swing big doors and if we all just make one change in our world; it will make a huge difference. When we make that change, we try another change and another and another, until we are all living with as near to zero waste as possible. The planet is showing her power right now and if we do not start making these changes, she will self-correct for us.

 

Q. We saw that as soon as the pandemic started, you reached out and created an important initiative to give away laundry strips to those in need. Can you tell us more about that? 

Thank you for noticing. When we saw the supply-chain break down even at the retail level we knew that the foodbanks and shelters would be the last to get supply. Adding the fact that many more people will be going to the foodbanks due to the job loss, we were drawn to help. I believe in clean giving. If I give without any intention of getting back then I will truly be blessed. We give without asking for anything in return. We simply started emailing and calling foodbanks, shelters and hospitals asking if they could use some detergent. Never in our wildest imagination did we think we would be able to give away 2 million loads and even see skids of detergent going to Ghana to help there. We actually have more to give away and we’re looking for new venues and organizations where we can make a difference.

 

Q. What’s the first thing you want to do when quarantine ends?

Go visit my Mom and hug her. 

 

 

NO TOX LIFE - Sandee + Callie

 

Callie

Q. What inspires you? 

Art, design, sculpture, colors, typography, language, chemistry.

Q. What do you see for the future of eco-friendly businesses?

I see zero waste becoming normal, and more emphasis on local production and using local resources and waste products to make new goods. We have been “up-cycling” for years - we have a signature turmeric ginger body soap made with up-cycled juice pulp from local juiceries. There are so many opportunities to make clever products from waste and I think we will see a lot more of that.

I see transparency in supply chain becoming normal. We are fortunate to be making products in house, so we can have control over the production process.

We are proudly a living wage employer and offer a friendly, inclusive working environment. Over 90% of our staff are women and we give on the job training so people who may not have experience in our industry can still learn and grow with us.

Sadly I have seen too many companies in our field where they espouse virtues all over social media but if you dig down into the company there is sexism, racism, unethical practices, and frankly it looks like they don’t care about their employees. @EsteeLaundry is a good instagram account to read more about some examples.
I also see vegan and veganism becoming normal, I just wish certain brand founders who promote their vegan product or products can also consider making the switch in their own life and food. Otherwise it just seems like a marketing bandwagon and that they don’t really care about animals.
Q. What are you most proud of about your brand?
We revolutionized the dish soap industry by creating the Dish Block® two years ago. Many have tried to imitate but none can compare! We have created a real alternative to wasteful plastic bottles of dish soap, using biodegradable and earth-friendly ingredients.
Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We plan to grow our production so we can be in some national stores that make sense for our brand. Part of this is increasing our equipment capacity so we can keep up with sales. It’s a bit of a challenge since we are 100% self-funded and we use our profits to invest back in the business.
We hope to become a household name and have our products become more accessible for everyone so zero waste and high quality vegan products can be normal.
Q. What advice would you give your 10 year old self? 
Read more chemistry books instead of John Grisham novels, it will come in handy.
 
Sandee
 
Q. What inspires you? 
Colors of sunrise; observing the world around me and seeing how we all work together in the dance of life; noticing a problem and realizing a solution; watching a new generation learn to lead the world.
Q. What do you see for the future of eco-friendly businesses?
Solid-form products. They are the most eco-friendly, with the least packaging, and the best shipping options. We are concentrating on solid-form products in all future products we make. 
Q. What are you most proud of about your brand?
We grew it ourselves from the beginning without outside funding or investors. From being overworked and underpaid during the first five years, to being overworked and fairly paid for the past year (haha that’s a joke, we’re gonna be overworked forever). Also most proud about our team that helps us every day make the best products using the best raw materials we can find. We have an awesome team here, they’re all so wonderful and it’s great to see them every day.
Q. Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Our Dish Block® on the shelf at Costco, Whole Foods, Target and Wal-Mart. It’s gonna be a rocket ride to get there! At the same time, we are going to continue giving personal customer service to the 800+ independent retailers and boutiques that carry our products. They are the backbone of the retail industry and we need to support them more than the big-box stores. 
Q. What advice would you give your 10 year old self? 
When the Beatles come to town, go to the concert. And you’re fine the way you are.