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Chew On This: These Poppin' Promotional Products Are Made From Used Gum

Approximately 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt their career success, but halitosis can be just as fatal to your professional aspirations. As a result, many of us rely on a stick of spearmint to keep our breath smelling fresh. However, used chewing gum can be a real problem for the planet when it's allowed to stick around (if you'll pardon the pun). Now, one British designer is literally turning trash into treasure by encouraging locals to recycle their gum -- and is using the sticky stuff to make useful rubber and plastic products.

You may have been told as a child not to swallow your gum, but it turns out that throwing it out isn't much better. Although chewing gum was once made of natural substances, modern day gum contains polyisobutylene, which is a synthetic, petroleum-based polymer similar to the plastics used in synthetic rubber. Basically, that means most of the gum you see in stores isn't biodegradable; once it's chewed up and thrown away, it simply sits on the sidewalk or in landfills.

That is, until now. Gumdrop, a UK-based company founded by designer Anna Bullus, is reportedly the world's first company to recycle chewing gum and use it to make a number of plastic and rubber products. They're the ones behind the Gumdrop Bin, a bright pink receptacle seen on many a British street wherein locals can deposit their used-up gum. The bin itself is made of recycled gum, and chewing gum collected is used to make items ranging from reusable coffee cups to cute rain boots, all of which consist of at least 20% gum.

The final products are often used as promotional items for Gumdrop's mission. The company has designed everything from key rings and door stops to guitar picks and bicycle spokes, all bearing the Gumdrop name and ethos. Considering that 53% of people who own a promotional item use said item at least once per week, it's clear that Bullus is serious about spreading the bubbly word.

The initiative is a real coup for many municipalities, universities, and public services, as well. A three-month trial at London's Heathrow Airport resulted in savings of over $8,000 in cleaning costs. In some locations, the installation of Gumdrop receptacles decreased gum litter by 89%. Since an estimated 560,000 tons of gum are chewed worldwide every year, many local governments and property owners could benefit from what Gumdrop is trying to do.

Although using an item that used to be in someone else's mouth might take some getting used to, some big brands are throwing their support behind (and extra materials to) Gumdrop. Despite the fact the receptacles haven't shown up in the U.S. as yet, the largest gum manufacturer in the world, Wrigley, has provided financial aid to the project. The Chicago-based company also sends their leftover gum waste from their UK factory to Bullus's cause.

Alex Hunter-Dunn, spokesperson for Wrigley, told the BBC: "Gumdrop is a really creative and innovative way to get people responsibly disposing of their gum and binning it. We fundamentally believe that behavior change is the only long-term sustainable solution to tackle the issue and we are very much behind that."

So next time you're tempted to spit out your gum in a trash can, take a look around for a small pink bin. Who knows -- that minty fresh stick could soon be turned into your favorite travel mug or waterproof footwear.


Growing Your Business Through Community Engagement And Charity Work 

Women can influence and play significant roles in the development of their communities through the decisions they make in their families, jobs and businesses.  There is evidence to suggest that women have the capacity to make contributions to society and their communities, but these are underutilized.  As a mom entrepreneur and business owner, you can make a difference through giving your money and time to various charitable causes - this can bring benefits not only to the community, but to your business by contributing to its growth and success.

You may be looking for ways to get your business off the ground, or you may already have an established business and are looking for ways to expand. It is worth noting that your business operates within a community; and with the right approach to community support and engagement, your business can benefit immensely.  Whether you operate an online site, or a business serving a single or multiple locations, you can be involved in various causes that will bring benefits to your community and contribute to your business success.

Charitable benefits for your community

As a mom, you influence your family’s involvement in various causes in health, education and other social issues.  Similarly, through your business, you can help to improve lives by being involved in a range of social and cultural charitable causes that develop and enhance the community, such as working with schools, hospitals, sports, film and theater. Take Jason A. Sugarman, a finance expert and a successful businessman -  he has been donating to charity and been involved in several causes for a number of years, including health as well as cultural and sports causes.

Charitable benefits for your business

Being involved in charity work can provide you with opportunities to grow your customer base, resulting in increased business and revenues.  A study by Cone Communications revealed that about 90% of millennials would rather purchase from a business that was involved in a charitable cause - and overall, 85% of Americans will do the same.  The study also found that 62% would happily take a reduced salary to work for a business involved in a social cause, thereby saving wage cost to the business.  Charitable and community engagement will also provide you with marketing, publicity, and networking benefits, saving you the cost of having to source these services separately.   

Engaging in charity work can result in both increased revenues and some cost savings, and can make your business profitable and contribute to its success.  These collaborations with charitable partners can also lead to growth and development opportunities for you as an entrepreneur.


What Etsy Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business

By 2021, it's been projected that retail commerce sales in the U.S. will reach a staggering $485.27 billion. While corporations like Amazon tend to dominate, the Etsy platform -- which focuses more on unique, handmade, and vintage items rather than on great deals and fast shipping -- has been one to watch for quite some time. Whenever someone needs a one-of-a-kind, personalized gift or is on the hunt for something quirky, pop-culture-inspired, or totally niche, Etsy is usually a good go-to.

But in a survey of 5,500 Etsy sellers, data shows that approximately 74% considered their shops to be businesses rather than hobbies. Some sellers are able to make their Etsy shops a full-time enterprise. While a good portion of their achievements can be attributed to their skill, the goods they sell, and their general hustle, the Etsy platform provides a lot of support that can allow sellers to succeed. Plus, the platform itself really lends itself well to digital marketing efforts. Even if you aren't an artisan or sell vintage clothing, there's a lot to learn from successful Etsy sellers and what makes this website work. Here are just a few things that Etsy can teach you about business marketing in the digital age.

Customers don't want to struggle

The Etsy website is very user-friendly and focuses on gently guiding their visitors to their destinations. The search tool is extremely precise, allowing users to search for specific items, seller locations, price ranges, and more through different filters. And if a user doesn't really know what they want or need, Etsy can provide inspiration and point them in the right direction.

You should never allow customers to feel frustrated when they visit your website. Instead of making them search high and low to find what they need, you must make it easy for them to navigate your site and obtain information about your products or services. Chances are that if your site is difficult to figure out, consumers won't take the time to even try; they'll simply give up and look elsewhere.

While this can come down to good web design, it's also important to keep this in mind when marketing your business too. Marketing materials should be clear and focus on solving a problem, rather than on blatant promotion. Make sure that anyone who becomes interested in your offerings after seeing your marketing materials will be able to easily find what they're looking for.

High-quality photos and info are a must

In terms of aesthetics, Etsy kills it every time. The website itself is quite attractive, striking the balance between bold, ethereal, and simple with its excellent use of white space and creative graphics. Ultimately, the most successful sellers have carefully curated shops with high-quality images and accurate descriptions chock-full of useful information.

Even if your site isn't set up at all like Etsy, you still need to embrace the concept of creating an enjoyable browsing experience for web users. Your site and all pages should be visually enticing, complete with professional images and lots of relevant web copy that seeks to educate, rather than to simply promote a product or service.

Don't forget about SEO and social media

The realm of SEO is ever-changing, but successful Etsy sellers know how to pick relevant keywords and optimize their listings to get traffic. Etsy's category pages allow sellers to reach new audiences by being strategic about their SEO strategy. In addition, many Etsy sellers maintain their own solo websites and are active on social media platforms to further their marketing efforts.

Etsy can make it easier for sellers to reach a wider audience than, say, a standalone company will be able to on its own. Having a comprehensive SEO and social media strategy is just as imperative (if not more so) for your business. After all, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, as compared to outbound leads link print ads or direct mail, which offer only a 1.7% close rate. Working with an SEO analyst to conduct keyword research and to optimize your site or a social media strategist to gain followers and engagement is an important part of marketing, no matter what.

Focus on community and your brand story

The Etsy platform has a unique focus on the community-at-large and also on telling the sellers' individual stories. This allows for a greater sense of connection between buyer and seller, which can ultimately translate into more sales and a sense of support. People want to feel as if they know the person behind the business. In a time when brand loyalty is more difficult to come by, this personal connection can make all the difference.

Etsy makes it easy for sellers to tell their stories with their storefronts and bio sections, as well as an easy messaging tool that allows customers to get in contact with a seller with a question or a concern. Keep these features in mind when building your marketing strategy and your own website. Consumers want to know more about you and what makes your company special. By posting relatable content, giving insight into the people behind your daily operations, and putting an emphasis on customer service, you can really improve those customer connections and carve out a niche for yourself in just about any industry.

Marketing your business in the digital age certainly isn't a breeze, but we hope these Etsy-inspired tips can help take some of the guess work out of the process.

Have you had success with Etsy? Have any tips of the ecommerce trade to share? Let us know in the comments!


Insta Families: Influencer Marketing and Privacy

Social media is becoming increasingly lucrative for businesses and individuals. It's coming to the point that the line between individual and business is becoming so blurred that we can challenge whether it even exists anymore. A hugely popular example of this is influencer marketing. That is, taking a company's focus away from the audience their product is targeted toward and placing it on an individual who holds influential buying power over that product's target audience. It's been and continues to be especially fashionable in the blogging and social media space.

Social media platforms, advertisers, and brands spanning the consumer continuum have been all but tripping over themselves to get these influencers to peddle their wares. Many of these influencers are reaping massive rewards from their roles, but, as with any financially advantageous move, there comes the ever dreaded cost-benefit analysis. The trouble with influencer marketing and social media lies within the inferred sacrifice of privacy that makes influencers, well, influential.

Young entrepreneurs are less likely to hop on one of the United States' 11,261 (and counting) private jets for clandestine business meetups. Instead, they're more likely to stay in bed and load a picture to Instagram that they've had queued up for a few days. It's not as easy as it sounds and comes with some personal implications that influencers have to strive with.

Meet the Stauffer family. Specifically, Katie Stauffer and her twin daughters Mila and Emma. The Instagram feed, run by Katie, has over 3.7 million followers, not to mention the other social channels they post to, and their website. From 2014 -- when the twins were born --to now, Mom's Instagram account, featuring the girls has amassed a loyal following of millions of people around the world. With this following came exposure that brands have seen as an opportunity to help advertise their products by doing little more than paying Katie to feature their products in her posts.


My big helper! 💙💙💙

A post shared by The Stauffer Life (@thestaufferlife) on Feb 11, 2018 at 6:19am PST


Companies pay a lot of money to have their products featured in posts with that much social reach. Influencer marketing company Mediakix CEO Evan Asano says, "Instagrammers of her size can get paid anywhere from $10,000–$20,000 per post, depending on the brand and campaign/partnership. For video posts, the rate is higher, but ranges vary more for video based on the brand requirements. Top Instagrammers with millions of followers can make $500,000 or more in annual income from brand sponsorships."

In a way, exposure and compensation of this status causes the potential for personal dangers that are very real for their family. Social media influencing is a two-edged sword in this regard. While it may be fun, flexible, and financially lucrative, not every cute Instagram pic is what it seems and the people in those pictures are real human beings; in this case, really young children. As such, they've taken extra precautions regarding security and privacy as they continue to keep their influence going. Unfortunately, other family influencers haven't been so careful, and some have even been accused of exploiting their kids.

It's a question we'll have to continue to grapple with, as the future of social media and influencer marketing is something you'll continue to see more of. As far as the Stauffer family goes, Mom's Insta pulls in more annual income than her husband's salary as a physician. Either way, it's the kids who are the true influencers. When asked what it's like to be famous, the words of the more vocal one, Mila, echoes a childish innocence that makes millions melt: "Um, I don't know."

Families like the Stauffers have done a great job balancing family privacy and the demands of the influencer sphere. Do you think kids can benefit from their involvement in influencer marketing? Let us know what you think in the comments!


Looking for Indoor Landscaping Options? Check Out Faux Trees

Have you been thinking of renovating your five-star hotel property lately? If so much thinking has to be put in for getting the desired results. While fixing the basic wear and tear has to be done primarily, but working on other factors like technological improvements and updating the overall decor and design is what will earn you the makeover you need. As it is a known fact something which looks good always creates the much needed first impression. This is why planning on the designing of the landscape decor of the interiors and exteriors should be the first step.

Intelligent choice of decor items, when placed at the right place of the interior and exterior landscapes, will help you in scoring the browny points from the customer’s point of view. Decor item which has relation with nature will be able to convince anyone and everyone, as everybody loved to be in touch with nature. Beautiful plants if placed at various locations in the indoor landscaping will create a unique aura. However, growing and maintaining real plants or trees is very difficult and asks you to invest a lot of money and time.

Hence, for turning your interior landscaping ideas in a more timing friendly and budget-friendly one, you must go for artificial botanical items in various types. This replica of the original plants and trees will create the same aura and one be cannot differentiate it from its original counterpart because of its realistic appearance.

The faux botanical beauties should always be chosen over the original ones, why?

Spending less time and money on the upkeep of a particular decor item meant for landscape decoration is always preferred. That is why the fake alternatives should always be considered. The other reasons supporting this statement are:-

  • For proper maintenance of the original plants and trees, you need to do the cutting, pruning and also shaping. The faux alternative will never ask you to follow any of these processes.
  • For its growth and survival chances, weather conditions suited to the real plant has to be maintained. No matter which temperature or climatic conditions you choose, the fake ones will keep looking fresh.
  • Proper sun exposure, shade, and watering are completely essential for live plants, while the faux ones will not require them.
  • Investment in buying fertilizers and pesticides becomes a true necessity in case of original plants and trees for retaining its health and also getting saved from insect attack. For artificial ones, none of these is mandatory.
  • The real plant and tree may decay or die without the needed care. The replica of the original trees and plants will be fresh as ever even when exposed to harsh conditions.

From where can you get to buy and order these amazing faux botanical products?

The company which has been manufacturing the best available quality of artificial landscaping botanical products is none other than Plantscape Inc.  It has been working hard every day with its team of professions in creating the most realistic looking fake foliage and for retaining the top spot in the industry, since 1974. There is a huge variety of fake outdoor or indoor tropical trees, artificial plants with colorful flowers, topiaries and also a beautiful collection of containers and planters to be found in their collection.

The manufacturing team of the company is formed by hiring the best botanists, landscape architects, graphic designers, and engineers. If you are planning for office plant design, then the reception desk of a huge corporate office can come alive if these fake beauties are placed over there and can even upgrade the look of the conference room if you place them there too. For interested customers, the company can take care of the entire landscape designing using their decor items, any customized order and also the installation process.

What are the unique characteristics of the artificial botanical products found in the collection of Plantscape Inc?

If your landscaping idea is to create a tropical garden inside the lobby of the huge children's hospital, then the there is nothing better than opting for the faux botanical landscaping products from PlantscapeInc. Their unique characteristics are:-

  • The fake botanical products from their collection have earned Class A rating from the state authorities for making the products completely fire retardant. No amount of damage can be caused to them during fire break out.
  • No harsh weather conditions like exposure to harmful UV rays can cause any fading of color to these products because they are impregnated with special chemicals during the manufacturing process.
  • These replica of the original botanical beauties are completely safe for use in the interiors, especially in case of any restaurants. Only non-toxic chemicals are used on them.
  • Just dusting these fake beauties and washing them once in awhile can retain its fresh appearance all your life. This quality makes it extremely cost-effective, as you do not have to ever contact any corporate plant service for their maintenance.

Why do you think the products from Plantscape Inc? has earned so much of popularity amongst leading landscape designers?

Large corporate houses appoint the best landscape architects or designers for doing up the interior and exterior landscapes of the luxurious properties. They never like to contact any interior plant maintenance services and incur more cost for the maintenance of the decor items. Hence, the designers completely rely on the replica of the original plants and trees from Plantscape Inc. for executing their design ideas.

Very high-quality silk is used in creating these extremely lightweight faux beauties. However, the prices for which you can get them is unbelievably less compared to others in the industry. For people interested, they can visit the official website of Plantscape Inc., request for the catalog and then ask for quotations before placing their orders.


For nurturing the interior landscaping elements of any luxurious property, like resorts, hotels, malls or even corporate offices, PlantscapeInc. Is your destination, from where you should source the faux landscaping botanical items.