Editor’s Note: JH Appleseed was named to The Story Exchange’s list of 12 Brilliant Business Ideas.
There are few more pressing issues facing us today – and impacting the future of our planet – than climate change. JH Appleseed, an online store founded by Haley Salmon, sells a variety of eco-friendly products to help you do your part. And she says she walks the talk when it comes to being an Earth-conscious company, unlike some companies. “I believe this generation knows and wants to sniff out … green-washing and engage in truly ethical consumption at a time when environmental action and social responsibility are so important,” Salmon told us. The Phillipsburg, New Jersey company also offers site visitors information on how to live with minimal waste and links to environmentally conscious charities to support.
Here are our slightly modified questions and answers, from The 1,000+ Stories Story Exchange Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
I just wanted to do better. I wanted to take all the problems I’ve seen with the typical so-called ‘green’ retail store and address them to provide a solution for people who want to shop guilt-free and can be confident that the business they support is working. really all they can do to reduce ecological impacts and support conservation and sustainable production cycles.
how do you define success?
Success means something different to everyone or to every situation and can be found in many ways. For my company, success is measured by each new customer who has been inspired by my company and my efforts to explore a sustainable lifestyle, because each person or each green choice is just one more step to make true durability the standard in the United States. In my personal life, I can measure success every time I’ve made someone else’s day a little easier or happier, and I work to make sure I’m a positive role model for them. others in the hope that I can inspire lifestyles that involve more thoughtful and meaningful interactions not only with our environments but also with the people around us. More generally, I would simply define success as being able to feel confident that you have left a positive impact on this planet and the people around you, and that hopefully those effects can still be felt even after you are gone.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
We’re still a small start-up company and haven’t had a lot of feedback, but what I would probably consider my greatest achievement to date is receiving the following praise in an email from a customer: “I am so excited to have found your products! They are exactly what I was looking for and I have so much respect and appreciation for your company. Just reading those two sentences seemed to validate everything why I worked so hard with this company, and I hope I can continue to have such an impact on people and earn respect for the sustainable business practices we are committed to.
What is your main challenge and how did you overcome it?
Find manufacturers or suppliers who meet our high expectations for sustainability and other ethical expectations. We have occasionally come across cases where even we have been cheated by companies appearing to be greener than they actually are, but we are not afraid to cut ties with brands we don’t trust and we are committed to being upfront about the companies we work with and their practices. We are continually striving for the next best thing in sustainable design and welcome any feedback or suggestions on how we can do better.
Have you experienced significant personal situations that have influenced your business decisions?
When I was in college, I was involved in a project that drafted, campaigned for, and instituted a city ordinance that would effectively reduce pollution levels in a local creek. This somewhat minor project has helped me show that I am truly capable of making a difference in the field of the environment, no matter how small. This experience inspired me to pursue my environmental passions throughout my school career, from chairing the Environmental Club in high school to earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. Although this was just a small project over ten years ago in a town where I no longer live, it only supports one of JH Appleseed’s integral ideologies that even small efforts can have impacts important and lasting.
What’s your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Be sure where you are spending your money and know what you are capable of doing on your own or what you need professional help to understand or complete.
How do you find inspiration in your darkest days?
I have faith that my message and my mission are important and I count on that when I struggle, knowing that there will be many ups and downs but I have to be persistent to reach people who will truly appreciate what I do. here .
Who is your most important role model?
My dad is probably my most important role model because even though we don’t always agree, he has a very strong moral compass. He also runs his own very successful business which he has maintained since a young age, starting selling over the phone when he was only around 12 years old. After starting my own business, I respect him even more now that I can see all the stress and work he went through on a daily basis just to make things work and still have time for family. Thanks to my father, I learned many lessons, although some the hard way. But whatever tensions we may have had between us, I know he instilled in me many values such as determination, ethical responsibility and even frugality that will surely benefit my business in the long run. ◼
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