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.
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.
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.
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.