I am a fledgling tree hugger, and founded Green City Living out of a small office/sewing space in my home in January 12, 2012. I am a nurse. I worked 9-11 hours a day, 4 days a week and came home to care for my family and make sandwich bags in our small home office. I got up each morning at 4 to sew before going to work. My days off were spent sewing and fulfilling orders.
Before I hugged trees, I sat on stumps! :p
Why do I call myself a fledgling treehugger? Because I'm learning. I'm learning how to replace convenience items and plastics with sustainable alternatives--just like many of you. My business is about creating those solutions, and making them available to others.
My environmental awareness came from my father and Mr. Wolf. Dad was a diehard conservative, and had nothing but distain for "environmentalists" and tree huggers. Yet he started practicing organic gardening in the early 70's. We had a compost pile that all of our food scraps went into. He respected nature right down to the tiniest creatures--he had numerous books on insects which he read, cover to cover. Near the end of his life, I pointed out to him that he was an environmentalist and explained why. He thought for a moment and then acknowledged that I was probably right.
Mr Wolf was my 7th and 8th grade Social Studies teacher in 1976 and 1977. He was very forward thinking and introduced us to topics like ozone layer depletion (global warming wasn't coined yet). He made us really think, and though he made me stand in the back of the class with an armload of heavy books one time for being a clown in his class, I am very grateful to him for the scope of insight that he gave us. I reached out to him through the school a few years ago and learned that he had died 2 years earlier.
Don't wait to thank your teachers for what they do.
Sure, many in the 70's were into loving nature, but it wasn't about doing it for the sake of preserving our planet--it was more about the self--what we could get out of it.
Mom was/is very creative. She makes our Bowl Bonnet products at age (nearly) 85! (sorry for ratting you out Mom, but I'm damn proud!). I learned from her that there is nearly always a creative way around obstacles. This came back to haunt her when I used this creativity to sneak out of the house as a teen, but we won't go into that.
Me (far left), my three sisters and our parents ~ 1969. Sorry it isn't clearer!
I never bought paper towels or paper napkins. I was a single mom until I met my husband in 1991. I couldn't afford to be wasteful, nor did I want to be. I always used kitchen towels or cloth napkins instead. My family scoffed, but I didn't care. Dad and Mr. Wolf had planted a seed, and mom had given me a way to nourish it.
I started selling my sandwich bags on Amazon and Etsy upon encouragement of my coworkers after gifting them at Christmas in 2011. I've never taken any business classes--and nurses don't put a price tag on what they do. It's definitely been a learning curve!
I named my sandwich bags Sav-ur-sac after my niece threw hers away a couple times--it was a reminder for her. A couple years in, a customer confided that her teenage son wouldn't take them to school because he related sac to a body part. Big whoops! Thus EcoBagIt! was born. :)
So much has changed since January 12, 2012. I once (circa 2013) overheard a shopper at a craft fair say, "I'm not into that stuff" and dismiss my booth with a wave of her hand. At that time, we were one of only a half dozen sandwich bags to be offered on Etsy--and the only one available anywhere that actually kept food fresh.
I'm so thankful to the environmental change ambassadors we have had--people like Al Gore (an early champion) and Greta Thunberg who didn't shrink from the ridicule they received from speaking out on a topic that people didn't (and still don't) want to think about. There is so much more awareness and thoughtfulness about our environment. We all know we have a long way to go, but we are moving in the right direction. Small changes really do make a difference!
We have a team of 13 people working for and/or with Green City Living now, and are hiring. My role has moved from maker to order fulfillment, product innovation and business administration.
Green City Living has become a family affair. My daughter in law, Rachel--my partner in greenness, who makes many of our products (Eco Pouf, the Hemp Unsponges, My Last Straw, Eco Round face scrubbies), manages our social media and obtains the appropriate copyrights. My daughter in law, Stephanie who makes our Fluff Dry wool dryer balls, and provides great insight into the sales aspects that my nurse mind doesn't always consider. My sister Barb, who helped me set up first website. My creatively wonderful Mom. My daughter Julie, who helped design my first logo. My daughter Olivia, who has helped to weave in thread ends on so many of our original envelope bags that she no longer had fingerprints. My son Jesse, who makes booth displays like a boss. My son Brandon, with business advice, and my son Brian, with his input from the viewpoint of a professional chef. And lastly, my husband--who was anything but supportive--the business nearly ending our marriage several times over the last 10 years--who despite his misgivings has stuck by me and who has come to understand and value that this is my life's mission.
These are our children, left to right--Jesse, Olivia, Brian, Julie and Brandon. This picture was taken 20 years ago, but it was the last professional one that I have of all of them together at the same time.
I retired from nursing on Oct 1, 2021 and am working for Green City Living and my newly acquired business, Laminates/Laminated By The Yard where I sell the food safe laminated cottons that we use to make our sandwich bags and straw covers.
If you were counting, you noticed I have 5 children. I'm additionally blessed with 5 grands. They are what this is about for me. I want them to have great lives, be able to achieve everything they hope for, including families of their own. This is about more than me.