We come across some pretty amazing things all the time at DesignGood: from inspiring design-trepreneurs to nonprofits and Kickstarter campaigns with world-changing dreams. We’re lucky that part of our job is to find those people, companies and organizations and bring them to you.
Because of this, we’re starting Design9 – a new series that will highlight nine of the most awesome people, brands and organizations of the week.
We’re kicking off with 9 Companies Doing Things Differently – and we mean really differently. Whether they created a game-changing design or a “why didn’t I think of that?” idea about social contribution, these are brands after our own originality-loving hearts. Keep your eye on these guys!
1. Global Soap Project
Hotels discard about 2.6 million soap bars every day – and that’s only in the United States. What if there was a way to recycle that unused soap and distribute the new bars to places like Sierra Leone, Uzbekistan, and even back to communities in need in the United States? Thanks to Global Soap Project, now there is.
Since 2009 this Atlanta-based nonprofit, founded by a former refugee-turned-CARE lobbyist, has distributed over two million recycled bars into 32 countries. That helps save lives by preventing the spread of illness. Who knew those little bars of hotel soap could be so powerful?
A few years ago, sustainable fashion was anything but fashionable. Now, thanks to companies like Osborn, that “granola” stigma is gone. Founded by a husband-and-wife team with impressive credentials (she has a master’s in art from the Tyler School of Art; he studied painting and printmaking at RISD before teaching art programs in Guatemala) Osborn makes stylish shoes that are also socially savvy. It brings sustainable design to the masses while impressing the fickle fashion crowd.
All Osborn shoes are handmade in Guatemala using fabrics sourced from thrift stores and traditional materials found in Latin America. Now that’s fashionable.
3. Sigelock Systems
You probably take fire hydrants for granted. But George Sigelakis, founder of Sigelock Systems, gave them a lot of thought in his 15-year career as a New York City firefighter. He saw hydrants’ maintenance problems, outdated design and security issues and decided they needed a massive redesign – the first in 50 years.
Made of stainless steel and ductile iron, the Sigelock SPARTAN Hydrant is, according to George, maintenance free for up to 200 years. The “Security Model” is also nearly impossible to break into, since only users with Sigelock tools can open it. That vastly decreases leaks and wasted water.
4. Burt’s Bees
You know Burt’s Bees – the natural-beauty mainstay that’s been fueling your lip balm habit for years – but do you know the buzz behind this brand?
Turns out, there really is a Burt and he really does have bees. The new documentary, Burt’s Buzz, tells the story of the mega-brand’s start after a chance meeting in the Maine backwoods and explores its focus on natural practices. You’ll also learn what happened to Burt and the company when it was sold in 2007.
Burt’s Bees was producing natural beauty and personal care products long before it was trendy and continues to do so today from its North Carolina headquarters. And we think that’s something to buzz about.