In another bid to bring greener products and services to eco-minded consumers, GreenDeals, another groupon-style website with a sustainability twist, offers discounts and deals (which are 30-60% off retail price) from national green businesses. The new site offers two types of green deals:
1. A GreenDeal Coupon which is purchased on our site and is available to redeem online at a merchant’s e-commerce website.
2. A product sale where items are sold and shipped to the consumer.
GreenDeals offers anything from reusable water bottles to natural skin care products to eco-friendly clothing to vegan chocolates to nontoxic cleaning products. Users visit GreenDeals and have the opportunity to purchase the GreenDeal which expire usually in 24-72 hours. All of the GreenDeals are limited in quantity which creates a limited supply available in the market place. We wanted to know what it takes to start an online green marketplace like GreenDeals. Our interview with the green entrepreneur Jonah Mytro follows.
What inspired you to start GreenDeals?
GreenDeals is a website created by Q4 Marketing and Media Group partnership with Green America to help connect green consumers and green businesses who are part of the Green America’s Green Business Network. The concept came from the whole “social couponing” industry which Groupon started back in late 2008 and has been growing steadily over the past 2 years. Currently there are hundreds of competitors such as Eversave.com, Livingsocial.com, Buywithme, Coupme.com, and so on.
I was speaking with the Denise Hamler (my mother and co-founder of Green America in 1980, and the Director of the Green Business Network) back in March of 2010 about a new couponing site I launched in Boston, a competitor of Groupon and LivingSocial. During the conversation, I thought that a site similarly targeted to green consumers, promoting green businesses, would be a great opportunity. From that point on, I started developing the concept, business model, site design, and working on a green “social couponing” site to launch.
Our goal is to highlight the 2000+ Green Approved businesses and provide them a performance based sales model to reach new consumers. On the other end, we want to provide consumers an opportunity to try out and learn about new green companies (while saving some money in the meantime). GreenDeals is a tremendous benefit for both consumers and businesses alike.
What did it take to get Green America as a partner for the project?
The partnership was a perfect fit since my marketing firm would provide the development, operations, and online marketing components of GreenDeals, while Green America would provide sales and marketing support. The requirements to launch Greendeals were simple, 1) that only Green Approved Businesses could advertise, and 2) that the site maintained the Green America branding guidelines.
Is GreenDeals self-funded?
GreenDeals is self-funded from Q4 Marketing and Media Group. We are not currently looking for any funding.
How is GreenDeals different from other green groupons?
The biggest differentiator is that every business listed on GreenDeals has gone through an extensive screening and review process by Green America. Green America (rebranded from Co-op America in 2007) has been around for over 30 years and has been a leader in the Green revolution, as well as setting the standards for socially responsible living.
Each applying business is reviewed to determine its familiarity with and commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The Screening Committee looks for evidence of this commitment in the practices and policies of the business. This is what we mean when we say “screening.”
Green America believes that for a business to be green, they need to care about consumers, communities, workers, and the earth. Their screening criteria is available here.
How do you reach green consumers and gain new clients?
We have launched a number of social media campaigns including Facebook and Twitter to reach new consumers as well as a search marketing, SEO, and affiliate program to drive green oriented consumers to become members of GreenDeals. We aren’t just looking for “green” consumers, we are looking to reach all consumers who are interested in living greener through green products and services.
Are there any mistakes that you made on this entrepreneurial journey that you would like to share with other green entrepreneurs?
1. Stay focused on your business or product. Too many times you lose focus on what your goals are and stray from your business goals or mission.
2. Don’t take on too many clients at once. It’s better to focus and develop a few major clients than taking on too many small clients or projects.
In addition to Twitter and the GreenDeals website, you can get in touch with Jonah through LinkedIn.