I'm often asked why I started The Spotted Door. Well, I worked for many years as a retail merchandise buyer. I reviewed all types of products from thousands of different brands. Occasionally, I’d come across a product made from recycled materials – and I was always so impressed! These brands sourced materials responsibly even if it was harder to do and cost them more money (essentially the opposite method of every mainstream brand). In addition, they chose to hire locally rather than use cheap overseas labor. They searched for ways to use less energy, manufacture more sustainably and remained highly focused on doing the right thing.
The problem I realized was that, when placed next to an identical product not made from recycled materials, these products didn’t stand out on the shelf. They were also hard to find: there wasn’t a store that only carried recycled products (they would usually get lost in “green stores” and catchall marketplaces). Plus, if you did not happen to stumble across one of these products, you probably never knew they existed. In my TEDx Talk (watch it here), I chat about making products from cigarette butts, worn out jeans, old tires and even dirty diapers! So, I searched tirelessly for as many of these products as I could, then figured I’d open a store that featured them exclusively and shared their stories with the world – and thus, The Spotted Door was born.