10 Green Businesses that Made It Big

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 4:13am by Site Administrator

Decades ago, many people didn’t care about environmentally-friendly businesses and what they had to offer. Promises of natural ingredients, sustainable practices, and social responsibility were not a priority for the average shopper. But the times have changed and people have turned a new leaf to the idea of going green and are using more natural, sustainable products. Check out these 10 green businesses that made it big.

  1. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

    Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day is a popular line of earth-friendly home care products and supplies. The products were inspired by an Iowan mother of nine, Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer, who wanted to develop cleaners that "smell like a garden, but clean like the dickens." The phosphate-free and biodegradable products come in a variety of delectable scents and have earned their place as a top-selling household product line.

  2. Tom’s of Maine

    Tom’s of Maine is an eco-friendly manufacturer of personal care products that uses only natural ingredients. Known for their natural fluoride toothpaste and aluminum-free deodorant, Tom’s of Maine has earned a reputation for producing some of the best natural, sustainable, and environmentally-responsible items on the market today.

  3. Seventh Generation

    Seventh Generation is a Vermont-based manufacturer of household and personal care products that have become a favorite among conscious cleaners. Seventh Generation was established in 1988 and has been committed to making safe and sustainable products ever since. The brand continues to grow in terms of revenue and environmental responsibility, earning multiple awards for its business strategies and contributions to Mother Nature.

  4. Burt’s Bees

    Burt’s Bees is one of the most well-known and successful natural personal care brands in the country. From their beloved beeswax lip balms to their natural lotions and potions, Burt’s Bees has a very loyal following that continues to grow year after year. The multi-million dollar enterprise began on a much smaller scale. In 1984, creators Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby started the mom-and-pop company, which only produced beeswax candles at the time. Quimby expanded the brand with natural soaps, perfumes, and their best-selling lip balm. Burt’s Bees was an instant success that was capitalized by their $925 million buyout by Clorox in 2007.

  5. Method

    Method is a San Francisco-based company that produces naturally-derived, biodegradable household and personal care products. This green company was founded by former roommates Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan. Their vision of developing a safe, yet powerful line of cleaners that are fragrant and stylishly designed came to fruition in 2001. Method is one of the fast-growing private companies in America and their eco-friendly practices continue to gain recognition.

  6. Whole Foods

    Whole Foods is a supermarket chain that prides itself on selling natural and organic products. Based in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods got its start as a small natural foods store, called SaferWay. Since its humble beginnings in the early ’80s, Whole Foods has expanded into a massive chain that dominates the natural food supermarket industry. Whole Foods has also succeeded in its social responsibility, earning a top ranking as the Green Power Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2006.

  7. Aveda

    Aveda is an environmentally-friendly manufacturer and distributor of cosmetic products, based in Blaine, Minn. Aveda’s personal care products use non-toxic, plant-derived ingredients that are safe and sustainable. Aveda was founded by Horst Rechelbacher in 1978 and his affinity for natural, healing ingredients led him to create Aveda’s first shampoo. Rechelbacher has since sold Aveda to Estée Lauder, but the separate entity has maintained its commitment to producing natural products for people to enjoy.

  8. Zipcar

    Zipcar is the world’s largest car sharing company that gives drivers a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly alternative to car ownership and car rentals. This American membership car service has taken off with tourists, car-less college students, and those who just need a car for the day.

  9. Trader Joe’s

    Trader Joe’s is a specialty retail grocery store that has spanned across nine states, bringing exotic, natural foods to people. There are more than 365 stores across the country and the number is expected to grow as the chain expands to other states. Trader Joe’s has earned a reputation for being a socially-responsible and eco-friendly store that emphasizes the use of its reusable grocery bags and offers sustainable food.

  10. American Apparel

    American Apparel is a Los Angeles-based clothing manufacturer that prides itself on being sweatshop-free and made in the U.S.A. The successful clothing retailer is most widely known for its basic, solid-color t-shirts and underwear, but has added several garment pieces, accessories, and bedding to the mix. The socially-responsible brand continues to intrigue shoppers with its risquée advertising and bold messages.

9 Businesses That Depend On The Holiday Rush

Monday, December 19, 2011 at 4:19am by Site Administrator

For the majority of people, the holiday rush is an extreme annoyance. Stores are crowded, shoppers are frantic, and you can’t turn left out of a parking lot to save your life. Many of America’s businesses, though, look to the holiday season to make up for losses during the year or just push them farther into the black. Of course, major retailers make some serious money as consumers clear their shelves, but these businesses in particular are extra merry after the holiday rush.

  1. Professional photographers

    As everyone is preparing their Christmas card photos to make their bratty kids seem like little angels to distant relatives, professional photographers, either with their own businesses or with department stores, can really rake in the cash. Weddings may bring in bigger chunks of money throughout the year, but the holidays bring a bigger quantity. There’s also the chance to photograph holiday events and parties or even pictures with Santa.

  2. Airlines

    If you’ve ever seen Home Alone, you know how crowded and crazy airports are during the holidays. Everyone is trying to get home to their families for Christmas and that means lots of packed flights. Not only do the airlines sell more tickets during this season, but they also raise the prices so they are maximizing their profits. With so many airlines facing money problems or declaring bankruptcy, the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush will be a boon to their budgetary deficits.

  3. Hallmark and other greeting card companies

    You might hear people argue that holidays were created by greeting card companies just so they could make a tidy profit. This might be true for some minor holidays and events (let’s consider that Hallmark recently made a "sorry you lost your job" card), but the December holiday season was already a built-in profit-maker for card companies. Though sales are consistent throughout the rest of the year, business spikes as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa cards fly off the shelves, and people buy gifts and ornaments while they’re in the store.

  4. Fireworks retailers

    Fireworks are really only sold twice a year — for Fourth of July and New Year’s — so the holidays are crucial for a fireworks retailer to break even. Fireworks stores and stands light up the areas outside of city limits across the country a couple weeks before each holiday and do big business with party-throwers, cities, and teenage boys. Firecrackers and fireworks can be ordered during the rest of the year for special events, but if it weren’t for the holidays, none of these retailers would make any profit.

  5. Credit card companies

    Spending with credit cards has decreased in recent years, but it’s picked back up again with the holidays in sight. Credit card companies and banks aren’t letting the opportunity pass, offering extra benefits and incentives to get people to use plastic rather than cash. Many give discounts at certain retailers just during the holiday season, knowing that spending will be at a high for the year and that those dollars will push their profits up.

  6. Liquor stores

    Because there are plenty among us who enjoy a good glass of wine or a beer every now and then, liquor stores aren’t in any danger of shutting down, but the holiday season definitely contributes to the year’s profits for alcohol retailers. Liquor sales tend to peak the day before Thanksgiving (as people realize they’re going to have to deal with their crazy families again) and continue selling in high amounts throughout the holidays. In some states, the profit made between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is more than that made during the rest of the entire year.

  7. Package delivery services

    For people kind enough to send gifts to faraway friends and relatives (but not kind enough to actually go visit), delivery companies are a lifesaver. Sure, you have to make sure you plan ahead so it’ll arrive by Christmas and stand in a line at the UPS or FedEx office, but in the end, you’ll spread holiday joy without having to spend time with your family. This idea means lots of money changing hands at package delivery companies. Online purchases also contribute to the busy season, as 47% of consumers say they buy something online during the holidays. UPS alone says it ships more than 430 million packages during the short time frame.

  8. Online stores

    Christmas shopping is just one of the thousands of things that the Internet made easier. You don’t even have to face the throngs of crazed shoppers at the mall to get exactly what your family wants. Online retailers start preparing for the holiday season in July if they’re smart, because the glut of orders at the end of the year would make it impossible to catch up without serious planning. Many small, online-only businesses especially feel the benefits of the holiday rush. Etsy shops, for example, where many crafters and independent business owners sell items, see an increase in sales of 60% each year during the holidays.

  9. Nonprofits

    OK, nonprofits aren’t exactly what you would consider a business, but they do need to at least break even so they can continue their charitable work. The holidays bring out a fascinating spirit of giving in people who are pretty cheap and stingy the rest of the year, and many businesses provide avenues for people to contribute to nonprofits easily. Certain stores and websites donate a portion of the gifts you buy to a specific nonprofit, some people make donations in others’ names as a present, and many nonprofits launch campaigns to bring in extra earnings at the end of the year.

10 Worst Celebrity Business Ventures of All Time

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 4:21am by Site Administrator

A celebrity’s stamp of approval can do wonders for a business. But when a celebrity decides to take a business into their own hands, there’s no guarantee it will succeed. Even with the biggest names and the highest hopes, celebrity businesses have proven to be just as much of a crapshoot as the next. Here are the 10 worst celebrity business ventures of all time:

  1. Kim Basinger’s tourist attraction

    Actress Kim Basinger made a bad business move when she decided to purchase the town of Braselton, Ga., to make it a tourist attraction with movie studios and a film festival. Needless to say, the idea never caught on and Basinger’s $20 million purchase went to waste. She sold Braselton for $1 million and went back to what she does best — acting.

  2. Supermodels’ Fashion Café

    In 1995, supermodels Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Elle MacPherson, Naomi Campbell, and others opened Fashion Café at New York’s Rockefeller Plaza. The restaurant’s fashion-centered theme included display cases of outfits worn by the models and fashion show footage on the TVs, but the oddest part of all was the all-American menu filled with burgers, chicken wings, and pizza. Believe it or not, eating junk food while surrounded by images of skinny models didn’t thrill customers, and the restaurant closed its doors in 1998.

  3. Lenny Dykstra’s Player’s Club magazine

    Former New York Mets player Lenny Dykstra may have won on the ball field, but he struck out one too many times with his personal businesses. Dykstra dabbled in several different businesses and managed to drive all of them into bankruptcy. One of his biggest business failures was the financial magazine Player’s Club. The magazine was geared toward professional athletes looking for financial advice. Ironically, Dykstra was having his own financial crisis. He was accused of credit card fraud, as well as failing to pay printing costs and rent on the magazine’s Manhattan offices. Dykstra eventually filed for bankruptcy and lost all of his businesses.

  4. Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania

    Wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan stepped into the ring of restaurant ownership when he opened up Pastamania, a fast-food restaurant in Minnesota’s Mall of America. Hogan fans could feast on different pasta dishes named after the wrestler, such as "Hulk-a-Roos" and "Hulk-U’s." Although Pastamania was promoted by the World Championship Wrestling, the restaurant didn’t take off as expected and it went under less than a year after opening.

  5. Britney Spears’ Nyla Restaurant

    Britney Spears thought it would be a good idea to merge her two favorite places, New York and Louisiana, by opening up a restaurant called Nyla in Manhattan’s Dylan Hotel. The Cajun-infused restaurant opened in 2002, serving Southern favorites like fried chicken and fried okra. Despite its star-studded support, Nyla got bad reviews and violated several health codes. Spears severed her relationship with the restaurant after a short six months.

  6. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s promotion of Planet Hollywood

    The ’90s dream team of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone teamed up to promote the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain. Unlike Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood didn’t meet the mark. Despite the celebrity backing, the restaurant did not turn a profit. The company was forced to file for bankruptcy two times and Schwarzenegger eventually cut ties.

  7. Heidi Montag’s Heidiwood

    The Hills starlet Heidi Montag has made some regrettable decisions throughout her career, but one of her biggest offenses was launching her own clothing line, called Heidiwood. The fashion line featured poorly-made and barely-there pieces that didn’t quite resonate with shoppers. The clothing retailer, Anchor Blue, pulled the plug on Heidiwood less than a year after its creation.

  8. Steven Spielberg’s Dive! Restaurant

    Steven Spielberg has directed some of the most successful movies in history, but directing a restaurant business was a whole other story. Spielberg and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg launched Dive!, a submarine-shaped restaurant that took customers on a simulated dive and served submarine themed dishes. Despite the clever concept, Dive! sunk in sales and never really developed a loyal fan base. Dive! hit rock bottom in 1999.

  9. The Kardashian’s credit card

    Almost everything the Kardashians touch turns to gold, but that definitely wasn’t the case with the Kardashian Kard. The sisters truly maxed out with their glitzy prepaid debit card that was aimed at teenagers and young adults. The problem was that the Kardashian Kard came with ridiculously high fees and a controversial marketing scheme. After selling a pathetic total of 250 cards, the Kardashians pulled the plug on their card and spurred a $75 million breach-of-contract lawsuit.

  10. Suzanne Somers’ meal prep business

    Suzanne Somer’s Kitchen, a self-serve meal prep company, really missed the mark with customers. The queen of the Thighmaster teamed up with Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown Jr. to launch the DIY family-dinner business that allowed customers to pick their ingredients and prepare meals at the store to take home. Somers and Brown butted heads on the original concept of the business. She insisted on using organic-only food, but Brown disagreed. Suzanne’s Kitchen went up in flames after less than three months.