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Q&A With Wen-Jay Ying: Founder Of Local Roots NYC

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I met Wen-Jay a couple months back after stumbling into a Sustainability Commerce Popup Conference in Williamsburg.  She was among an eclectic panel of speakers that day who’s company missions were not only vivid with green priority, but also deeply rooted into the fabric of their local communities. Her company, Local Roots NYC provides New Yorkers with a access to goods and produce from a network of local farmers (local meaning that their supplier’s operations happen within a 250 mile radius).  It’s a subscription based membership where you can sign up for different seasons, each having a variety of different seasonal foods.  Throughout the city are different “markets” where your allotted order is ready for pickup.  What’s awesome about Local Roots is that their markets don’t just happen anywhere, they happen at your favorite cafe or dive bar right in the heart of your local New York community.

Local Roots NYC has been in operation for six years, with over 25 market sites, and over 750 members.  When meeting up with Wen-Jay at one of her market locations set up outside of a cute Brooklyn cafe, I got an overwhelmingly inclusive community vibe.  Toddlers were running around, and Local Roots members came to grab their goods while also inviting me to their yoga class later that day… I felt right at home! Here’s some things we talked about that day:

How’d you come up with the idea for Local Roots?

I wanted to find a better, more social way to connect people and their communities to local farmers.  Creating Local Roots was my solution to the gap between farm to table.  Not only does it support local farmers but also the local businesses that we symbiotically partner with for our markets.

What makes this different than meal kits or other food delivery systems?

Having markets not only encourages the social aspect to shopping with us, but also greatly reduces waste.  When you order a food kit or have groceries delivered they tend to come with an excessive amount of packaging.  At are local market locations you can bring your own reusables and stop it at your favorite bar for a drink all at the same time.

How does your company take sustainability into account?

Each of our farmers practice different levels of sustainability.  Kindness to animals and to the land are extremely important to us.  Our vegetables are either Certified Naturally Grown, a grassroots alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program, or USDA Certified Organic . While the standards and the labels are the same – organic – the USDA Organic Program favors medium to big-sized farmers, and the Certified Naturally Grown program is better suited for small farmers. The Certified Naturally Grown label was created in 2002 in response to the USDA labeling, which is expensive in terms of time (paperwork per crop) and application fees. The Certified Naturally Grown program has farmers review fellow CNG farmers and prioritizes the exchange of feedback and ideas for growth.  More info on each of our famers can be found on our Farm page if you want to check it out.

So far what has been your favorite part of starting this company?

We’ve been running for over six years now.  In this time I’ve had customers become friends.  I’ve seen them get married and have babies, and I’ve seen those babies grow up on Local Roots produce.  Now these kids are almost three and they know so much more about their farmers and where their food comes from.  Not many other three year old kids are that connected to their food and how it grows! This makes me extremely happy and proud.

Business

15 Ugly Truths About Entrepreneurship Everyone Should Know Before Starting a Business

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Entrepreneurship

Becoming an entrepreneur is like taking the road less travelled. There is no map and you will always feel uncertain about your decision. If you decide to take an entrepreneurial journey, it’s going to be a bumpy one. However, nothing worth having comes without a degree of risk. Therefore you need to arm yourself by avoiding common “beginner” mistakes. You have to understand that entrepreneurship is not all sunshine and roses. There are some ugly truths that you need to know about before setting off.

1. You Can Lose Everything

A business is a financial risk. You can start a business with a small capital but eventually you need lines of credit for inventory and operations. In some cases, you might also need to take on loans to help the business grow. This means you will be taking on debt.

2. Extreme Stress

With everything riding on the line, prepare yourself to experience extreme stress. If you think exam stress is hard enough, it is nothing compared to taking the entrepreneurial path. When you start a business, everything is on your shoulders and there is nobody to pass the buck to.

3. Forget About Hanging Out

Expect to lose touch with family and friends. Becoming an entrepreneur is very demanding on your personal time especially in the beginning. There will be people in your life you will lose touch with because you will not be able to give them enough time.

4. It’s Going To Take Long

Don’t expect your business to take off overnight. Prepare yourself for sleepless nights and to work double time to achieve the results you want. In this event, you need to plan accordingly no matter how small or big the venture.

5. Regrets

Over time you will regret taking this path. This is normal especially if you see friends connecting on weekends while you work later into the night. This will make you regret leaving the comfort of your 9-5 job. But don’t worry because some of your friends will also regret taking risks.

6. Anxiety Competition

It is normal to think and worry that somebody out there is executing the same idea in a better way. Having anxiety over the competition is part and parcel of becoming an entrepreneur. Don’t let this drag you down but inspire you to work harder and become better than your competitor.

7. Other People Depend On You

You are now the employer. People now depend on you so that they can provide for their families. You will need to endure this even though you are sick, have personal things going on in your life because the business and your people are depending on you.

8. Success and Failure Will Impact Your Relationships

When you’re successful, everybody will want to work with you and be your friend. When you’re failing, it’s going to be the opposite. There will be many moments of celebration and frustration. For every friend you make, somebody will turn their back to you.

9. You’re It

Everybody is going to be dependent on you. Essentially, you are it; every responsibility will fall back on you. Being a leader means that you take this entrepreneurship responsibility and when there are problems you take the helm of the ship.

10. No Guarantee

Going to business is not a guarantee of anything. No matter how great the idea, product or team behind it; it’s still going to be the market that decides. In other words, your hard work is not a guarantee of success.

11. No Appreciation

Hard work is not only a guarantee of success it does not also guarantee appreciation. You have to remember not to expect it.

12. Success is Not Measured In Weeks

As you go along your journey, you will learn that success is not measured in weeks, months, quarters or years. While business is small, success can be measured easily. However as you go along you will realize that measuring success will take longer periods of time.

13. Your Stomach Will Twist

Entrepreneurship will make your stomach twist during unexpected situations like when you’re operating at a loss or when a supplier bails on you in the middle of a project.

14. You Will Have To Learn To Move On

Over time you will become attached to the business and cutting ties with people will be difficult. However, entrepreneurship is about adjusting and you will need to learn when you need to move on.

15. When You Fail, It Will Have Your Name On It

If you fail, people will know about it. Family and friends will know that you drove a ship and crashed. Many don’t follow the entrepreneurial road because of this thought.

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Business

Guess Measures Carbon Footprint And Energy

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Guess Measures Carbon

Climate change is one of society’s biggest threats and the American clothing brand Guess is battling this issue by performing their first carbon footprint analysis for North America. In series of analyzation, Guess measures carbon footprint in hopes of reducing harmful manufacturing. A carbon footprint amounts to the total sum of carbon dioxide and its equivalents emitted through harmful anthropogenic labor. The main source of carbon emissions are through electricity generation, transportation, domestic energy consumption, industries and agriculture.

Guess begins calculating their first carbon footprint and greenhouse gases by referencing the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. By combating humanity’s current challenges that we are facing, Guess reported their ambition to go green by cutting back scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions per square foot. Guess measures carbon in the analysis covering Scope 1 and Scope 2 by referencing the different emissions generated. Where Scope 1, their direct emission are generated from actions like chemical processing in result of building and space heaters. Meanwhile, their indirect emission, Scope 2 emissions refer to emissions generated as an outcome of purchased electricity from utilities and other energy provider, like electricity or heat.

“Through my experience leading this truly global company, I see one constant across borders: people, particularly the younger generation, are deeply concerned about the future of this planet,” Victor Herrero, Chief Executive Officer of Guess said. In embracing his concern through his work, CEO Victor Herrero continues to say that, “We aim to embrace existing solutions as well as to try new ones to address the social and environmental challenges of our time.”

The consequences that we experience is observable on the environment. Climate change strikes without notice, with harmful effects that are now in action as predicted by past scientists. Loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves are the cost of climate change. Upon this data, Guess measures carbon footprint and their energy to encourage more companies in stepping up to go green.

Guess reported the total carbon footprint in 2014 for North America to be 34,461 metric tons CO2e. With electricity consumption being the highest overall impact on carbon footprint and is heavily reliable for 97% of total emissions. By changing their ways, Guess reported its overall carbon dioxide equivalent from all types of greenhouse gas emissions, declined by 2 percent between its fiscal year ended in January 2016 and the 12 months ended in January 2017.

Predominantly due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities, scientists have shared their predictions that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades. We have a long way to come to fix the problem that we have caused, but companies like Guess are a step closer to changing that.

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Business

Tips On How To Manage An Online Business

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Business Online

Having the right e-commerce site can make shipping and tracking your inventory easier. IT is constantly changing and it is important to have a secured site to make sure your customer’s data is safe. Following these steps will seem daunting at first, but remember that success will come if you keep pushing towards your goals. America was built by small business owners and with faith, you can have a profitable online business.

Determining your target audience.

The first step in opening an online business is determining who will be your target audience.  It is important to research your competition online and find out who will be buying your products. There is a lot of competition online, so you have to find a way to stand out. I suggest coming up with a unique business name or signature product. Separating yourself from the rest of other online businesses is important to succeed long term.

You also have to decide if you want to sell a product or provide a service. Once you have identified your business model, you will need to come up with the terms of your business. I suggest seeking legal advice, so you can protect your company. It will need to be clear to your customers who you are as a business and what service you provide. It is also important to outline how you will provide customer service and solve any problems that arise.

Selecting the products you want to sell or determining which services you want to offer.

Before you start selling products or offering services, it is important to get registered with the state you are in. There are many advantages of becoming an LLC or incorporating your company. I recommend researching the options that are available in your state. It is important to protect your brand and make your customers trust you as a business owner.

In order to succeed as an online business, you need to have a strong vendor list. Being a licensed company makes more vendors’ want to work with you. Once you have added companies to your vendor list, you need to decide how you want to market your business. You can either hire a SEO company, marketing firm, or you can learn how to do it yourself. There are hundreds of free online tutorials on how to market your company for free on social media sites and YouTube. You can also use Google AdWords and Adsense to help promote your business. There are also several apps that can help you manage your social media sites as well.

Making sure your e-commerce site is effective.

I suggest hiring a website developer or technology company to build your site. There are several user friendly e-commerce sites that are very easy to set-up yourself. Having the right IT support to very important, because they can quickly resolve any issues that may arise.

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