LovelyCompanies.com

A blog about sustainability, customer service, corporate social responsibility, venture philanthropy and more…

Lovely Events

September 7th, 2009 · Events

Lovely companies often organise and sponsor events (the companies themselves – I mean). In order to try and keep track of these events I’ve set up a group on Upcoming: please feel free to join, add any forthcoming events that may be of interest and subscribe to the event feed using RSS/iCal/Google Calendar.

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Geoff Mulgan: Investing In A Better World

September 4th, 2009 · Economics, Lovely People, Non profit, Venture Philanthropy

In his talk from TEDGlobal 2009 Geoff Mulgan, a former Policy Director for Tony Blair, suggests we take the opportunity presented by the global economic crisis to consider a shift of focus towards investing in social innovation.

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Hello Beautiful World!

September 3rd, 2009 · Charities, Fundraising, Lovely People, Small Companies

Beautiful World is a London-based agency for charities, non-profits and ‘any organization that does the world some good’. The three founding partners of the company each bring their speciality to the mix giving clients a neat blend of strategy, creative and data. Where traditional agencies might be all about old-school print media, these guys are all about Twitter and Facebook.

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Zappos and Amazon Sitting In A Tree

September 2nd, 2009 · Big Companies, Lovely People, Lovely to Staff

At the end of July this year online book retailer Amazon acquired lovely company Zappos. We’ve written about Zappos a few times before and they have even helped to inspire other lovely companies. [Read more →]

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Securitizing Happiness: Hacking Human Suffering Through Financial Engineering

August 27th, 2009 · Happiness, Lovely People, Venture Philanthropy

Below are the slides from Dave McClure‘s talk at TEDxShanghai in June:

Dave admits that he’s “not really a financial engineering expert” however he is “optimistic the basic ideas here are viable, worthwhile and can have substantial economic impact on society in the future.”

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Alain de Botton’s kinder, gentler philosophy of success

August 26th, 2009 · Happiness, Lovely People, On Loveliness

I’ve been a fan of Alain de Botton for some time now so I was very excited to learn that he spoke at TEDGlobal in Oxford back in July. Do take a moment to watch his talk above.

A couple of choice quotes:

It’s perhaps easier now, than ever before, to make a good living. It’s perhaps harder, than ever before, to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety.

The next time you see somebody driving a Ferrari don’t think, “This is somebody who is greedy.” Think, “This is somebody who is incredibly vulnerable and in need of love.”

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The Bottom Line – Ecological Disposable Nappies

August 25th, 2009 · Recycling, Small Companies, Sustainability

Naty.com

Let’s talk about nappies. Half a ton of nappies, actually. A year’s worth of disposable nappies for just one baby. Because babies poo. A lot.

Big-brand manufacturers seem to ignore the environmental impact of disposable nappies. This is very concerning. But disposable nappies are so convenient! What’s a parent to do?

Marlene Sandberg asked herself that question. She decided to develop an environmentally-friendly disposable nappy. In the face of huge competition, Naty.com was born.

Naty is uncompromising in its quest. Their Nature Babycare nappies are made from natural, sustainable materials. They are chlorine free, GM free and mostly biodegradable with a biodegradable back-sheet.

And they work. Nature Babycare nappies have won awards for being among the top-performing nappies on the market.

Naty doesn’t shout about its achievements. It can’t afford to. Continued research and development are the spending priorities.

The company relies on word-of-mouth advertising. “We want to change the world,” they say, “And we want you to help.” Naty’s Ambassador program offers incentives for customers to spread the word. Ambassadors are also allowed to influence product development and really make a difference.

Here is a small, entrepreneurial company, competing with big brands. Huge companies may be impenetrable and faceless but Naty is approachable and keen to work with consumers. Where others focus on profit, Naty’s highest priority is the environment. This is a laudable goal and one which deserves our support. And that, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the bottom line.

Rachel Pattisson is a freelance copy writer. She writes a blog called Really Rachel and you can hire her here: ThoughtTrains.co.uk.

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EthicalSuperstore.com: Creating Global Change Through An Ethical Consumer Revolution

August 24th, 2009 · Ethics, Small Companies, Sustainability

EthicalSuperstore.com

Earlier in the year I met up with a local lovely company. Hailing from the Team Valley Trading Estate in nearby Gateshead, EthicalSuperstore.com sells thousands of different groceries, gifts and gadgets from their easy-to-use website. I had a chat with founder and CEO Andy Redfern and he showed me round their offices and warehouse.

For a product to be stocked it must have established ethical credentials in at least one of the following areas: fair trade, organic, eco friendly, health and wellness promotion, education and awareness building. You can ‘shop by ethics‘ which supports their commitment to help ethical consumers ‘buy what you believe’.

Andy stressed the emphasis placed on customer service within the company. They have a generous 60 day refund or replace policy and occasionally give customers suprise shipping upgrades (a lovely trick borrowed from Zappos). They have a free customer service helpline shown on every page and a blog which they use to discuss issues and events in the wider community. Recent posts have included “Our Green Motoring Dilemma” and “Can Fizzy Drinks Ever Be Ethical?” and, of course, they maintain an active presence on Twitter.

With their warehouse space and expertise in e-commerce, the company also offers e-commerce and fulfillment services to other ethical businesses and charities. For example they run Cancer Research UK’s online gift shop and earlier this year they merged with Natural Collection – an established UK mail order company. More information on their business services can be found here.

So, for all your ethical shopping needs, check out EthicalSuperstore.com!

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Show Your Lovebox

July 28th, 2009 · Charities, Fundraising

Lovebox

“What’s that?” I hear you cry.

I’m glad you asked. It’s a Lovebox: the digital equivalent of a charity wristband, spreading charitability (and a warm, fuzzy feeling) all over the internet.

Lovebox.org.uk is a new venture, developed to promote charities via online social networks. Lovebox allows people to show their support for different charities each month. There is also a donations facility, with all contributions going directly to charity.

The Lovebox is free to download. There are no demands for money. All you have to do is display your Lovebox. Imagine swapping your profile picture for a Lovebox on your favourite social network. Everyone will notice. Lovebox works on the principle that raising awareness will raise donations. And you get to enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling for free.

The Lovebox team are also responsible for the trending topic #charitytuesday on Twitter, encouraging everyone to make Tuesdays a day for displaying their Lovebox and discussing charitable activities: warm, fuzzy feelings all round.

Spread the Lovebox!

Rachel Pattisson is a freelance copy writer. She writes a blog called Really Rachel and you can hire her here: ThoughtTrains.co.uk.

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Gary Vee: Scaling Caring

June 25th, 2009 · Community, Lovely People

Gary Vaynerchuk‘s ‘Scaling Caring’ talk delivered at the recent 140Conf in New York.

Other Gary Vee posts on LovelyCompanies.com: Profile, How to react to your website getting hacked, The Future of Communities.

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Innocent Squeezies

May 27th, 2009 · Innocent

It’s been over a month since our last post mentioning innocent drinks! Sorry about that. Here’s a short film about innocent squeezies:

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Meet Andrew Warner

May 26th, 2009 · Lovely People

Andrew Warner

I’d like you to meet Andrew Warner. You may already recognise the name as back in January we featured an interview of his about Zappos customer service. Incidentally, that post has been one of our most popular in the last few months!

Andrew runs Mixergy.com where he publishes interviews with successful entrepreneurs so that ‘ambitious upstarts’ can learn valuable lessons and be inspired.

He has interviewed all sorts of lovely people including Guy Kawasaki (who we wrote about back in December), Seth Godin and Tara Hunt.

Until recently not much was known about Andrew’s background but last month Neil Patel persuaded him to switch to the other side of the microphone and published an interview with him on his blog Quicksprout.com. The result? An extraordinary story of a bootstrapped startup. Andrew returned his clothes to J Crew and used the refunds to get his company off the ground. He then built it up to a turnover of more than $35m.

Andrew is also a Kiva advocate. A couple of months ago he gave away $25 to eight people (via Twitter) to loan out on Kiva. I was one of the lucky recipients and loaned the funds to 21-year-old Firdavs Kurbonov.

As it happens this is the 100th post on LovelyCompanies.com and to celebrate I’d like to pass on Andrew’s favour on and offer a $25 Kiva gift certificate to the first commenter on this post.

Do check out Andrew’s interviews on Mixergy.com and, if you fancy trying out Kiva, let us know in the comments!

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Good.ly: Shorten URLs, Help Charities

May 25th, 2009 · Affiliates

Good.ly

Remember the Fund It Frog that earns money for charity as you shop online? Here’s another service that uses affiliate links to raise money for charity.

Good.ly, produced by the folks at Skimlinks, is a straightforward URL shortener. Simply enter a URL into the box on the homepage and click the ‘Make it Good’ button. If possible, the shortened URL will also act as an affiliate link from which 55% of any revenue earned goes to charity. At the moment they have three charities on board: Dogs Trust, Crisis and ChildVoice International but they are open to new charities signing up. There is also an option to support all available charities.

There is also a nifty bookmarklet so that you can shorten URLs as you browse the internet.

Check out the Miss Good.ly Two Shoes blog and their Twitter feed for updates.

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Social Media Changing the Non-Profit World

May 24th, 2009 · Non profit

There was a great post on Mashable a couple of days ago about how social media is changing the non-profit world by:

  1. Deepening relationships and engagement
  2. Allowing individuals & small groups to self-organise
  3. Facilitating collaboration and crowdsourcing
  4. Being adopted behind the scenes

The optimistic conclusion:

As more and more non-profits adopt social media and their practice improves over time, we will no doubt see a transformation of the non-profit sector.

Click here to read the full article.

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TED Talk: Tackling poverty with patient capitalism

May 23rd, 2009 · Charities, Lovely People, Microfinance, Philanthropy, Venture Philanthropy

Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund and author of The Blue Sweater, shares stories of how “patient capital” can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services – and dignity – to the world’s poorest.

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Who are you?

May 22nd, 2009 · Updates

To help us improve LovelyCompanies.com I’d be very grateful if you would take a minute to answer a couple of questions, either in a comment or by email:

1. On a scale of 1-10 (where 10 is most likely), how likely is it that you you would recommend this blog to a friend or colleague?
2. How did you hear about it?
3. What led you to become a subscriber, versus just reading an article and leaving like everybody else? (or, if you’re not a subscriber, what would it take to convince you?)
4. What do you hope to see here in the future?

Thank you!

(Questions originally by Eric Ries)

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Fun Opens Wallets

May 21st, 2009 · GSOH, Small Companies

The Alamo Drafthouse, a cinema in Austin, Texas, know that they’re in the entertainment industry. From time to time they have what they call ‘Signature Events’.

These events include ‘Renegade Karaoke’:

…and a secret world-premiere of the new Star Trek film:

There’s more info over on the Church of the Customer Blog but here’s the bottom line:

Fun is contagious.
Fun spreads.
Fun inspires loyalty.
Fun opens wallets.

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TED Talk: The business logic of sustainability

May 21st, 2009 · Sustainability

Successful entrepreneur Ray Anderson shares his vision for sustainable business at TED:

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LovelyCompanies.com on Facebook

May 20th, 2009 · Updates

You can already leave a comment here on LovelyCompanies.com using Facebook. Now you can also become a fan!

New posts will be automatically be imported to our shiny new fan page. You can also leave comments, ‘like’ posts, write on the wall, upload pictures etc.

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Poll: Do Rural Offices Help to Make a Company Lovely?

April 6th, 2009 · On Loveliness, Special Occasions, Updates

Need a quick win on your Monday to-do list? Get the ball rolling with another LovelyCompanies.com poll!

This time we’d like to revive the age-old town vs country debate and ask whether it has any bearing on how lovely a company is. What do you think?

[polldaddy poll="1518870"]
Poll closes: Friday 10th April, 2pm.

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