If you’ve ever decried the littering of the world with cigarette butts and despaired of any end to the blight, TerraCycle has discovered a use for them if they have filters. “TerraCycle has now launched in five countries programs to collect and recycle cigarette butts [filters],” announces Albe Zakes, global vice president of communications. “They are the No. 1 most-littered item in the world. We’re the first company to offer global solutions to collect and recycle cigarette butts.”
What possible reuse could there be in smelly cigarette butts? They are made from cellulose acetate, which is a fire-retardant plastic. “Because it is resistant to fire, it is an ideal additive to new plastic decking and lumber,” Zakes notes. “We have partnered with the second-largest plastic decking manufacturer, TimberTek. We are now producing millions of pounds of recycled plastic lumber and decking that has the cellulose acetate as an additive. It’s actually providing a trait that will make a superior product. Now an environmental improvement isn’t coming at the cost of efficiency but is in fact increasing the efficiency.”
Read more: Terracycle
Not many people say they have fun at work, but Robert Berman, the president and CEO of Rasta Imposta, does. “I think every day is fun, even if faced with challenges – I love coming to work and my job,” he says.
That is not surprising, considering Rasta Imposta’s business. Based in Runnemede, N.J., the company manufactures costumes for adults and children. “We put the happy in Halloween,” Berman says.
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While designers flood the saturated albeit profitable women’s clothing market, Oved Apparel is proving that there is great success to be had in the menswear market. In 1981, brothers Isaac, David, Ronnie and Mike Oved created an original line of four men’s shirts. The enterprising group went door to door to specialty stores in the New York City area.
David Oved says in the beginning it was a hand-to-mouth business, but as Oved Apparel began to gain traction, it developed new in-house brands and became a licensee for existing brands. Eight years ago it brought children’s wear into the portfolio with the help of kidswear expert Albert Pardo. Two years ago they took on the license for Ecko Cut & Sew and RocaWear and started a big and tall division. Now, 32 years later, the brothers run a successful men’s, children’s and big and tall apparel company representing 14 lines with a 50/50 split between in-house brands and licensed brands.
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The keys to building a successful fashion house are: step one – captivate the audience, and step two – always leave them wanting more. The concept itself is easy enough to understand, but the execution is an entirely different story. Many brands have gone the way of deep discounting – luring customers in with the promise of savings. The mode of thinking has become so standard in the marketplace that consumers rarely bat an eye at even modest discounts. A percentage-off sign is now expected rather than appreciated. But then there is the old-fashioned way of doing things. Unfortunately, it involves constant innovation, which can be tough on the psyche, but very rewarding when all the stitching comes together so seamlessly.
Read more: Nicole Miller
NibMor’s co-founders and employees know their core consumer so well that they’ve given her a name: Lucy.
‘We’ve spent the greater part of the last year really connecting to Lucy and understanding what she wants, how she wants it and how we can deliver it to her,” says Jennifer Love, co-founder and CEO of the chocolate company. “We believe we understand how she feels and can speak to her like she’s one of our best friends.”
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When Rob Paul, founder, CEO and chief science officer of Nawgan, created a functional beverage to improve brain performance, it was the science that came easy. Paul, after all, does have a science background. His standing as a university professor with a Ph.D. in biopsychology and a specialty in neuropsychology matched perfectly with his vision to create a functional brain improvement beverage. It was all of the other stuff, however – business operations, marketing and even flavor – that posed the greater challenges.
Paul was settled on the science – an anchor combination of Cognizin, also known as citocoline, and caffeine met all of his thresholds for the functionality of the beverage. The Cognizin contains choline – which is available in many foods, such as potatoes, and cauliflower – as well as cytidine. In his research, Paul found that people who consume 250mg of Cognizin daily experience improved performance on a test of attention. So he made sure that every can of Nawgan would contain 250mg of Cognizin, as well.
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The grocery business has changed a lot since the first Mourelatos Supermarket location opened in Montreal in 1956, but if anything has kept the company thriving for more than 50 years, it’s the fact that the company itself hasn’t changed much at all. According to CEO Efty Mourelatos, the company has kept its loyal base of customers and attracted new ones even in the face of increased big-box competition by holding true to the values that were there when his father founded the company.
“I think that the retail landscape in Montreal is definitely changing,” Mourelatos says, adding that recent years have seen major chains such as Walmart and Target making their presence felt. “There are a lot of players that have come out here. I don’t think Montreal has ever been this competitive.”
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Many of the toys topping kids’ wish lists for Christmas or their birthdays this year will turn out to be fads, but some have the potential to become classics that could join Barbie and G.I. Joe in the ranks of the industry’s greatest brands. MGA Entertainment believes it may have one of those soon-to-be classics in the form of its Lalaloopsy dolls, thanks in large part to the company’s new emphasis on its entertainment division. Executive Vice President of Sales and Licensing Bruce Morrison says the recent debut of an animated Lalaloopsy TV series on Nickelodeon is a glimpse into the future of how the company develops its brands.
“You’re going to see some really interesting stuff from us,” Morrison predicts.
Read more: MGA Entertainment Inc.
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