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April 2014

Green Issue

Getting Greener For 45 Years

April is Environmental Awareness Month and April 22 is Earth Day, an annual event first proposed in 1969 at a UNESCO conference in San Francisco. The first celebration of the UN's Earth Day was March 21, 1970. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson held an Earth Day a month later and so, April has been the month for Earth Day in the U.S.

Fiddler's Elbow Uses Organic Ink in Printing Textiles Since the 1960s and 1970s, great strides have been made toward cleaner air and water as consciousness has been raised toward "Green" practices, and, while some areas of the world lag behind, the United States has cleaned up its act considerably in the past 45 years.

Once a year, this newsletter reviews products and vendors who manufacture products that are environmentally conscious and/or use manufacturing methods and materials that are "Green".

For example, Under Stella's Umbrella features the Bellemonde line of handbags and luggage in Scotch Grain Faux Suede that has received the stamp of approval of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The line includes everything from a water bottle carrier to large rolling duffles.

Emphasizing "Reuse, Reduce, Recycle", while providing work for people in the Third World, Goods 4 U Global is a sales agency representing a variety of lines such as Bridge For Africa, which makes bowls, cups, coasters and other items like jewelry from beads and wire. The designs are distinctively colorfully African. Acacia Creations is another line represented by Goods 4 U Global, which recycles paper and glass in creating products such as jewelry, ornaments and journals. G4UG also represents Circa Asia, where the products produced by their artisans include bamboo tabletop and candle holders. America get in on the act with "Eco-chic" soda can tab jewelry from Ann-Made, which is a gold-level recipient of the Green America Seal of Approval for social and environmental responsibility.

For over 40 years, Fiddler's Elbow of New York State has been using water-based inks in printing on their textile products. The company formulates its own colors from organic pigments. The company strives to "be green" both in the manufacturing process and in bringing products to the marketplace with minimal packaging.

Calypso Studios creates earth-friendly fashion jewelry specializing in clay, glass, shell and fabrics. Calypso also has a line of reusable bags called "SHOP (Start Helping Our Planet) Totes". The Maryland-based company has, in six years, seen its products available in more than 2,500 retail locations across the U.S.

If you are looking for bath and body products that are earth friendly, look to Kiss Me In The Garden. The 20-year-old company produces everything in its Southern California plant, from raw ingredients to the finished product, using shea butter, natural oils, comfrey, vitamin E and other natural botanicals. They don't test on animals and are paraben free.

In January, NY NOW (Formerly New York International Gift Fair) awarded several vendors with the 2014 Eco-Choice Awards, honoring "Green" products in three categories. The winner in the "Most Innovative" category was Delight London (UK) for its Ruffle necklace made from biodegradable natural rubber. Winner of "Most Sensitive Use of Materials" was Shupaca Alpaca Clothing and Accessories (San Diego) for its hypo-allergenic handmade alpaca blankets. "Most Sellable" was aMano Fair Trade (also San Diego) for its coffee bag computer case handmade in Guatemala.

Not Just a Catch Phrase

Dear friends,
Organic isn't just a catch phrase for healthy eating.

The popularity of occasional stores, junk bonanzas, and juried antique and craft shows featuring products made of recycled and restored materials is an ever increasing trend. The crowds these events draw and the revenue raised are often jaw-dropping; especially to a traditional brick and mortar retailer.

Furniture made of old timbers and distressed wood. Jewelry made with vintage charms and antique gems. Recycled paper greeting cards. Wall and table art made of metal scrap and bottlecaps. Hand-painted and engraved stones. Lavender infused candles. Hand-woven textiles. Luscious soaps and potions made with garden herbs. Using materials from Mother Earth, today's consumers can't get enough of the real thing. Moreover, an increasing number of USA manufacturers are putting their dollars where their conscious lies. Along with the Made in the USA movement, the tendrils of going "green" is sprouting a huge crop of ingenuity and inspiration.

Sure, global manufacturing has many advantages: attractive pricing, advanced technology, not to mention another 6.5 billion people strong of creativity. Yet, there's nothing like having aproduct grown in your own back yard, even though your 'backyard' might be the entire USA.

Won't you give "green" products more consideration?

1) Ask all manufacturers what their products are made of and where they are made. Let them know you care.
2) Create an area in your store devoted entirely to 'green' products. Make sure your signage touts organic or green made.
3) Next time a local artist, author, or craftsperson comes knocking on your door, keep an open mind. Consider the popularity of the online artist community, Sitting in studios, cottages and workshops, there's assuredly a community of "imagineers" and crafts people in your community who'd love to have their products featured on your shelves. Consider putting a shout-out. After all, you're counting on your customers to buy local. How about you, too?
4) Manufacturers that create "green" products may be sacrificing optimal margins and profits, yet,their conscience compels them to go organic. Show them you support their efforts by giving their products a chance to flourish and grow in your store.

Here's to a healthy, happy, and hearty spring season.

Wishing you peas and plenty of joy,

Cheryl Karpen

As a speaker, author and product developer, Cheryl Karpen thrives on telling stories that inspire the heart and mind. With nearly a million gift books sold, her self-publishing company, Gently Spoken, is best known for the Eat Your Peas Collection ( Cheryl can be reached at 877-224-7886 or at

Quick Industry News


Grow-A-Head Add Some Spice to Your Life

April 10. 2014 - Signal Hill, CA: When Sourcing International says these products are green, they mean it literally! Grow A Head Herbs DIY garden kits add green to everything you cook. Five adorable styles of character poly-resin pots in the shape of a carrot, potato, onion, tomato or corn grow delicious herbs for your table. Comes complete with growing medium, seed and a recipe for each individual herb. Grow your sales with Grow A Head Herbs.

New (or New Look) Wholesale Websites

NMR Distribution Home PageNMR Distribution, "Purveyors of Pop Culture", features lines of licensed merchandise from Marvel, Fender, Pink Floyd, Elvis, DC Comics, The Beatles and many more on their new wholesale CAMEO EZ© website.

AMPM Kids! Home PageAM PM Kids! features tried and true products, like "Tubby" Hooded Towels, as well as original products, such as the newest "Burper and a Bauble," plus an array of bibs, monogramable gift items, burp pads, and a line of exclusively designed laminated products made proudly in the USA.

CAMEO EZ© is the B2B e-commerce system developed by OmegaNet Inc., publisher of this newsletter, for use by retailers in ordering inventory for their stores. A partial list of CAMEO EZ sites can be found at the company's portals such as,,,,, and A complete list of sites is available in the "Directory" on