Are You An Ecoist?
By Jonathan Marcoschamer

 

 

I recently read a quote from a well-known designer named Bruce Mau. He said “In a world where shopping is everything, in order to change culture, you have to change retail.” So how can we change our world-renowned American Consumer Culture and become a more eco-conscious and socially responsible society? How do you change retail?

I believe that by creating durable, stylish and designer products made from recycled or organic materials, we can increase awareness, demand and sales for eco-friendly products and make way for the new generation of eco-brands. However, to make a real impact, we will still need Paris Hilton or other celebrities to promote our products, and companies will continue to place “beautiful” people in their ads. After all, we are trying to change what people buy.

Furthermore, if established companies like Disney, Calvin Klein, or Procter & Gable decide to jump on the bandwagon, the importance of sus-tainability may penetrate the mass market and help us reach a “tipping point,” where “eco-friendliness” becomes a major factor in the shopping criteria of most consumers.

Fortunately, over the last several years we have seen an increase in the number of companies offering stylish, environmentally-conscious products to consumers. From food products to dental care, fashion to furniture, architecture to interior design, and transportation to travel, eco-brands are being established to meet the demands of our modern lifestyles.  

 The market for these eco-brands and products is called LOHAS, which stands for Life-styles of Health and Sustainability and describes a $226.8 billion, 63 million strong, U.S. marketplace for goods and services that appeal to consumers who value health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. The typical person who falls into this group is well educated, has a good income, desires a meaningful, high-quality life and is searching for ways to be environmentally and socially responsible.

Many people within this market are, or will become, Ecoists. An Ecoist is “an individual who seeks a modern, eco-friendly life-style.” Ecoist is also the company I co-founded with my relatives Yair, Helen, and Gabriela, to develop stylish products made from recycled and organic materials.

It all started when Gabriela, my sister-in-law, traveled to Mexico and discovered a line of handbags made from recycled candy wrappers, soda labels, and food packages.  These magnificent, colorful, and fun handbags are created by Spanish fashion designer, Marisa Rey, whom we partnered with to launch our company.  

Each bag is one-of-a-kind, with patterns and colors that vary widely. The candy wrappers and soda labels we use to produce the handbags come from food packaging manufacturers that discard these materials due to misprints or discontinued food and candy lines. Instead of allowing these materials to end up in landfills, we turn them into trendy, stylish handbags that are becoming a hit.

Since our company’s launch 10 months ago, Ecoist has been featured on MTV, Good Morning America, and various International fashion magazines such as Elle and Lucky. Our handbags are currently sold in over 115 fashion boutiques and gift shops in Tokyo, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco among other cities.

To further show our commitment to environmental preservation, we plant a tree for every handbag we sell. Through our partnership with well-established organizations like Trees for the Future and American Forests, we plant trees in Mexico, India, Haiti, and the United States, among many other countries. And thanks to the success of these handbags, we are about to launch a line of home accessories made from recycled and organic materials, and are constantly pursuing opportunities with eco-product designers.

The point is, we believe that by making our products trendy and available in malls across America, we’ll be able to connect with and educate potential “Ecoists” about the importance of the earth’s preservation and increase their demand for eco-friendly products. We like to think we can change retail and we are happy to share our vision with other eco-brands.

More and more corporations and entrepreneurs are becoming aware that it is not only our human responsibility to preserve the environment, but that there is a huge business opportunity in doing so.  
So, how do you change retail ?

Answer: You become an Ecoist.

For more information, contact Jonathan Marcoschamer, Co-Founder - Ecoist, LLC, 404 Washington Ave., Suite 120, Miami, FL 33139, e-mail: joni@ecoist.com  or call (786) 556-3628.  You may also visit www.ecoist.com
 


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