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Thoughts from category: good business

the tree man

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We'd like to introduce you to Richard a.k.a. the tree man. Yesterday he popped round to take down our Christmas tree and take it off for recycling, so Eleanor and Lucy T took the opportunity to interview him about trees and stuff...

Name: Richard

What he does: He looks after all the plants in Fruit Towers, brought us our Christmas tree and is now taking it away for recycling (he even hoovered up the needles). If you check with your local council, they'll almost certainly be running a collection scheme to get the trees mulched up and used for compost.

How long has he been coming to innocent: Every 2 weeks for the last 3 years.

Company: His company is called Urban Planters and they look after plants in offices, hotels and restaurants.

Favourite plant: The Ficus tree (fig tree), of which we have a number around Fruit Towers.

Top tips for house plants: Don't overwater them, check to see if the soil is still moist and if it is then there's no need to add more water. The best way to keep the leaves of house plants shiny and pest free is to spray them with a solution of washing up liquid (he recommmends Ecover) and water and then give them a loving wipe.

Favourite innocent drink:
Blackcurrant juicy water.

business school

Some businesses start with vast financial backing, an aggressive business plan and a selection of hand-poached staff. Others start with a good idea and a simple desire to succeed.

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Misericordia

There's a heartwarming story behind Misericordia's hero product, a simple vintage tracksuit. It is in fact the uniform of a childrens orphanage and school named 'Nuestra Senora de la Misericordia' that is situated in a dusty shantytown outside Lima in Peru. In 2001 a French student, Aurelyen Conty, was traveling through Peru with friends when he spotted the potential of the retro kit as means of directly helping the school and local community. Conty approached the orphanage's Benedictine nuns and proposed to market the tracksuit tops in his native France along with other designs he would create that could also be produced within the schools workshop for export and sale.

Cordia

Five years later Misericordia is a highly sought after cult fashion label stocked by hundreds of stores throughout Europe, America and Japan. It has also grown into an extended catwalk fashion range producing around 15,000 hand made high quality garments every year all still made in Peru. With a generous percentage of the retail price going back to a specially established foundation, the company has been able to improve the local community's living standards and has completed work on 2 new garment workshops. Misericordia now employs 16 local staff who have been trained in pattern cutting, sewing and garment production and benefit from 25% higher wages than the average textile worker in Peru along with other unheard of benefits in this part of the world such has one months paid holiday every year, health insurance and no differentiation between the salaries of men and women.

Yard

Misericordia translates as "compassion". The children of the school and orphanage are still wearing the same tracksuit but are now in the company of the fashionable youth on the streets of Tokyo, Paris, New York and London.

If you like myspace Misericordia are here. If you like blogs Misericordia are here. And if you like videos and speak French watch this.

it's simple, stupid

The secret of success?

"It sounds unremarkable and even naïve, but it's our obsession with making really great products. It's at the heart of everything we do. I don't understand how you can exist as a company and not have it.
"

Not us speaking, but we echo the sentiment entirely. The quote was uttered by Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design. More in an article here.

all about our recycled plastic bottles

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Stu, doing his bottle thing

A while ago someone asked us about our bottles. Here's the question:

"How are you getting so much recycled plastic in your bottles, because no one else appears to be doing it?"

So we finally tracked down Stu one day in the office. He's our Packaging Chief, and an elusive man to boot, always out on the road doing packaging things. This is his answer:

I guess the truthful answer is through a lot of hard work and trial and error. We have had to work hard at sourcing good quality recycled material to start with. It is not that easy to find because a lot of recycled PET is sent to places like China as low grade fillers for synthetic clothing etc.

The kinds of problems you see with the material are things like black specks and other inclusions that end up in the recycling stream so we had to come up with a way of ensuring they don't end up in our bottles.

The other problem you see is colour. PET bottles are sold in a variety of different colours so when the material is recycled you end up with a mixture. This leads to funny coloured bottles that vary from horrible yellow to a dull grey or blue. So we have had to find a way around this too.

Our bottles are made from 50% recycled PET. Stu's working on getting this up to 75% very soon. We'll let you know when it happens.