Keep up with the GIGs, goods, gossip and more with our monthly publication. GrowinGreen is the news source for the NJProsâ€™ community. Here members, sponsors, advertisers and the greater Green community talk industry, involvement and opportunity.
Grow-inGreen provides cross-industry information for the sustainable entrepreneur and eco-tips and trends for the industry professional. As we communicate our ideas through GIGs and gatherings, get inspired and stay connected. Let us Grow-inGreen together.
he New Jersey Professionals Network (NJPros) is an organic mix of business owners, service professionals and the environmentally concerned. Determined to re-root small businesses in sustainable* soil, NJPros will network with a purpose: to grow in green entrepreneurs for a sustainable New Jersey. The Newark-based NJPros network launched January 29th 2009 with the supportive association of The Professionals Network Organization. NJPros founders, Pamela B. Daniels and Renaldo DaSilva welcomed 25 professionals to Lincoln Park Coast Cultural Districts’ LEED certified Washington Street Buildings for the inaugural gathering. Inspired by Van Jones and the message of Green for All, NJPros is a Green Growth Alliance. It is charged with a goal to unify professionals, industries, resources and levels of understanding to holistically reinforce the New Jersey community.
According to the US Dept of Labor, 99.9% of American workforce is funded by small businesses. In an economic environment where 6.1 % of New Jersian’s are unemployed, it is intrinsically logical to incubate small businesses so they can grow, sustain and employ NJ residents. Through executive coaching, product and service pitching and exposure to global best-practice models, membership provides a learning platform that translates directly into sales, exposure and community cultivation. Van Jones, founding president of the Oakland, California-based, non-profit Green for All, is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Green Collar Economy. In a congratulatory message to the NJPros network, Van addressed the capability of a Green movement where, “…If we do our work right and well, I believe this new President has created the opportunity for us not to fall but to fly. This country can go from being the world leader in pollution to being the world leader in solutions with your good work.” With fully-vested interest in the rehabilitation of New Jersey and the USA, NJPros harnesses the power of networking among like-minded professionals to provide a relevant and reliable platform for state-wide growth.
GIG is the Mixer, Meetup, ProShop or other event that brings members together. As the premier GIG, New Jersey Eco-Resolutions 09 set the tone for thematic mixers that on open channels of communications between industries. Member-hosted GIGs are a great way to discover talents and opportunities among membership. Interested businesses, consultants and organizations should post their product or service pitch to The Pitch Place for consideration. Members are strongly encouraged to weigh-in on posts. Final determination is made by NJPros administration.
The NJPros launch was catered by the Mirage Restaurant. The Irving-
ton, New Jersey eatery has been serving Caribbean and Soul food since 2005. The menu is filled with soulful favorites including Oxtails, Macaroni & Cheese and Collard Greens which, according to owners Fitzroy Lewis and Deborah “Dee” Jarmon, captures regulars from the first bite. In a post launch interview Fitzroy and Dee shared their entrepreneurial product and process with NJPros. “We’re a unique restaurant,” says Fitzroy. “When you order we show you your plate to make sure it’s right, and when you get home [with it], you taste the value, the quality and you taste the love.” Rice & Peas, Collard Greens and Curry Chicken & Goat are prepared the night before and in large quantities because they are sure to sellout (and be refilled) before Dee’s 4-hour table life expiration. Other items like Jerk Chicken, Fried Chicken and Red Snapper are seasoned and marinate for 24-hours before being made to order. “We work on a standard,” commented Dee. “I don’t serve anything I wouldn’t serve my family. I don’t want to jeopardize losing a customer, so I’d rather take the loss.” Exceptional customer service is the driving force behind The Mirage, which is most efficient in an economic climate where consumers are particular about where, when and how often they spend their money. “We feel the economic crisis too. It’s a challenge to make payroll,” began Dee. “But we have good customers,” finished Fitzroy, “...patient and tolerant and they make it worth it. It helps when the food tastes good and they let you know.” It is not unusual for Fitzroy, Dee and Roland McCubbin, the chef making each meal happen, to prep until 1 AM if necessary. The Mirage crew has catered large and small events in the area, from intimate network launches to summer music festivals; each team member responsible for making their participation in any event memorable. “We complement one another. It’s important to have good people working for you. Either they will keep your customer coming or send them away,” added Dee. The Mirage has one part-time employee who assists at the counter and events, and they welcome the idea of hiring additional personnel as they map out expansion.
Employing a local staff is just one way to tap into sustainable community building. Dee recognizes the immediate necessity to move into Greener pastures. “Everybody’s talking about Green these days, and I know we need to do it too. We use the styrofoam packing containers and I had a customer come in and yell at me about it, and she’s right. If we don’t do it, what’s going to be the state of the planet?” But the cost of “going green” is just too expensive for small business owners who are just trying to make payroll. In the months and years to come, like most small businesses, owners hope their vocal demand for the product will bring the cost down. Adapting sustainable practices is about getting the most out of your dollar spent and earned, while creating a lasting symbol of social responsibility and professional accountability. The Western world views a mirage as a desolate, invariable figure in a desert. However, in many eastern countries it is also a crown of power or kingship. When deciding the title for the restaurant four years ago, he thought about the technical and connotative dynamic of a mirage. “I decided to make people see the positive. My dream [was] to have a restaurant that is likable, and to serve with people that have dignity and integrity and show them some good cooking. I [wanted to] turn a negative thought into a positive reality.”
ina Ison, owner of Tinaâ€™s Cleaning and Ison Products, has been a Green entrepreneur for almost ten years. A sponsor to the NJPros launch, guests took home full-size samples of mint hand soap, lotion, lip balm, and bath salt from the Ison Productâ€™s Beauty Line. As a vetted participant in Green production, Tina offers her brand and experience to the rising NJPros entrepreneur.
What made you go into business? I was getting a lot of requests for non-toxic cleaning products. I started reading up on toxic cleaning products. When I learned of all the harmful ingredients in the shampoos, soaps and lotions, I said ‘O that’s it!’ I started learning how to make non- toxic cleaning supplies. What kinds of products do you stock? I have a household line of non toxic-products and all natural bath & beauty line. How would you classify your products? My products are all-natural. Always remember everything that states it’s all natural or organic it’s not always the truth. Do your homework. Where can your products be purchased? You can find my products on my web sites tinascleaning.com and tinaspleasures.com. I am in a local convenience store in North Bergen as well. How are you contributing to the Green movement? All my products are earth friendly, and made in small batches to guarantee outstanding quality. My household is very much educated about living Green and I am trying to turn each house hold I service into a green environment. I’m Greening one home at a time. I am reaching and teaching. How is the economy affecting your business? My suppliers went up in pricing. My cleaning clients are cutting back on the number of days. Marketing is very important during this time. I am doing the press releases, the trade shows to try and compensate for it. How are your price points different from other all-natural products? My prices are in line with the market. How are you planning to grow your business? I am growing my business by marketing, giving out samples, and hosting home parties. I also participate in the Go Green Expo as a vendor. I’ve done one in the New York before and this June it will be in Atlanta. What is the scariest and best thing about being an entrepreneur? The scariest thing about being an entrepreneur is that everything that happens good are bad falls on me. The best thing about being an entrepreneur is I depend on me. I make the rules. I am always with my family. I never have to worry about the school calling because one of my kids are sick. I run right to the school. Never worrying about, I have to tell my boss. What advice would you give other entrepreneurs considering starting Green businesses? I’ve learned from the expos but do the research. Do your homework, know your market, and be fair. Anything is possible if you give it your all.
he Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference brought together over 2500 laborers, environmental justice organizations, small and corporate businesses and international initiatives. The goal was to present a national collaborative that recognizes the imperative nature of a labor shift from Blue Collar to Green Collar careers. Creating a balance requires investors, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and organizations to have a clear understanding about how and why jobs will be created. Leo W. Gerard, International President to the United Steelworkers Union said in conference, â€œIf we are going to move to a Green economy we need to move to a sustainable green economy and as many of those dollars as possible should be spent in America. As we raise our environmental standards weâ€™ll also affect in a positive way carbon emissions.â€? Where coal miners once risked their lives and lungs to power America, the Green movement enables those same workers to prepare for energyefficient production jobs. There are over 8,000 parts necessary to power a single wind turbine. Additionally, turbines require constant maintenance. These jobs cannot be outsourced. Investments in infrastructure improvements will create new chances for millions of Americans.
ennifer & Brad, winners of the 1st Annual Green & In-Love Valentine’s Competition discovered a ‘Green’ Valentine’s Day requires thought, effort and attention to detail. “I saw the competition posted on Facebook and I thought it was a cute idea. I’ve had Valentine’s Day’s in the past that were pretty superficial. So this was a total new approach to V-day for us. When I told Brad I wanted to try and have a Green Valentine’s Day he said ‘okay, how?’ and from there, we thought about it together. There weren’t going to be any ‘surprises’ and for almost a week it became an ongoing conversation for us. ‘How are we going to have a Green Valentine’s Day?’ While the couple debated a few angles for Green & In-Love, their final submission earned them free tickets to see Tyler Perry’s ‘Madea Goes to Jail.’ “I was skeptical at first. I never paid any attention to Green before, besides what I’ve been hearing on TV. But Jenn wanted to participate and so I said I’m game. We read a couple of [blog] posts how to ‘be green’ and things like shopping locally and not driving places were pretty much what people were saying to do. I didn’t see how any of that could replace what she saw as being ‘superficial’ and I saw as being ‘traditional.’ So I had to think outside the box real quick.’ The rules were simple: celebrate Valentine’s Day with Mother Earth in mind. Incorporate at least one Green activity and take a picture of it. Submit the picture as entrance into the competition. “After a lot of debate, we decided to do a couple of things together without using the car to do it.’ First, Brad made me breakfast in bed, which was a surprise, because I thought we were staying away from tradition. But hey, it didn’t cost anything extra and it was in fact a surprise. We wound up going to a florist-he’ll argue that I made him go. It was about a 25 minute walk from where we live. We spent almost 2 hours at this really cute florist shop learning about the art of making the perfect bouquet. Then we made V-day cards out of different petals and because we knew so many details about flowers and their meanings in wildlife the cards wound up meaning to me so much more.”
o you have a product that saves time, or a service that saves money? Are you part of an organization that is hosting a business or social community event and youâ€™d like attendees? Are you looking for clients, consumers or advocates? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then The Pitch Place is just for you! Visit the NJPros Meet-Up message board and click on The Pitch Place. Post your product, service or opportunity pitch. NJPros administrators will message members about the opportunity and you could be on your way to hosting a GIG! GIG lengths vary by nature of event. From 15 minutes at a mixer to a 2 hour ProShop presentation, NJPros is determined to provide an appropriate platform to present valid, quality information to members. This is a highly selective process and all submissions will go through a strict vetting process. MLM presentations will receive the greatest scrutiny, but are not disqualified to pitch.
PowerShift09 – February 27-March 2 North Jersey Green Drinks – March 3 Go Green Expo – March 13 - March 15 SAVE the DATE – March 19th Green Fest 2009 – April 3-April 5 2nd Annual Health & Wellness Expo – April 4 Let’s Barter Up/Earth Day – April 22 SAVE the DATE – April 30th Sustainability: Forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. LEED: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED concentrates its efforts on improving performance across five key areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development, and water savings. Energy Efficiency: Refers to products or systems using less energy to do the same or better job than conventional products or systems. Energy efficiency saves energy, saves money on utility bills, and helps protect the environment by reducing the demand for electricity. TPNO USA http://theprofessionalsnetworkusa.org/ Meetup http://meetup.com/njpros Facebook http://www.facebook.com/groups. php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=55477882584 Linked In http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1608107
The Mirage Restaurant http://themiragerestaurant.com/ 1179a Stuyvesant Avenue Irvington, NJ 07111 P: 973.416.4406 F: 973.416.4211 Ison Products http://tinascleaning.com/ 7709 Broadway North Bergen, NJ 07047 P: 201.869.7231 F: 212.252.4089 Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District http://lpccd.org 3 Crawford Place Newark, NJ 07102 P: 973.242.4144 Nuvo http://sparklingnuvo.com/
Green for All Block Royal Music Group, LLC Nuvo Building Green Solutions, LLC Brickerati Green Sky Sister Studio A Letter Pink’d Editorial Consultants
Save the Date! April 22 Earth Day letsbarterup.org