|A Visit to Fellow Co-ops in the Midwest|
By Mariah Rose Dahl,
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Midwest and attend a co-op marketing conference in Milwaukee, WI that included folks from over 80 different co-ops from around the country. It was so powerful to hear stories from such a wide range of co-ops with different sizes, member bases, and socio-economic locations. I found it inspiring to be connected to so many people
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:30
By Kristie Snyder,
Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste are all too familiar with the predominant image of Haiti in the US media: poverty, destruction, and desperation. But that's not how the owners of beauty-product company Kreyòl Essence see it. Their Haiti is a land of beautiful mountains and beaches, a culturally vibrant Caribbean nation with vast untapped potential. Their company aims to connect eco-conscious consumers in the US with traditional Haitian products that have fabulous health and beauty benefits, to create jobs and markets, and to empower Haitian communities along the way.
Kreyòl Essence was born following a "hair catastrophe." While straightening Yve-Car's hair, a stylist applied too much heat, causing permanent damage. Yve-Car and Stéphane, both Haitian-American, remembered that their families used to turn to Haitian black castor oil as an all-purpose, traditional remedy for hair and skin troubles and a host of other ailments. Living in Philadelphia at the time, Yve-Car sought out the product to strengthen her hair as it grew back, and came up lacking, even in the Haitian neighborhoods. She expanded her search to New York and Boston, but still found nothing like what they both remembered — high quality, hand-pressed, additive-free, and unrefined castor oil. She called on her mom in Haiti to ship her an emergency bottle, and the ensuing conversation led to a decision to bring the product to America. From that beginning, Kreyòl Essence now manufactures hair pomades and milks, body soufflés, soaps, and candles using the black castor oil along with other high-quality and responsibly sourced ingredients.
The couple relocated to Ithaca around two years ago when Yve-Car was offered a job as Cornell's Director of Diversity Alumni Programs. They brought the fledgling business with them, and have since left their jobs (Stéphane worked in Ithaca College's School of Business) to run the business full-time. With combined backgrounds in marketing, communications, activism, business consulting, development, and non-profit management, they have sought to create a new kind of business — commercially viable, but with core social tenets. Rather than donate profits back to Haiti, Yve-Car and Stéphane followed a different path. They sought out Haitian farmers to grow the castor beans and hired local people to process them into oil and manufacture beauty products.
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:46
By Alexis Alexander,
If you've been thinking about getting more involved in the Co-op, you couldn't pick a better time! We currently have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities available. Of particular note is a large number of weekly in-store super-worker shifts that need to be filled in order to adequately support our retail departments. For those looking for monthly committee work, occasional event work, or volunteer options to help with GreenStar Community Projects, our nonprofit affiliate, we've got opportunities for you, too!
Volunteering is an important co-op tradition that provides member-owners the opportunity to become actively involved in supporting GreenStar's mission. It's a great way for us, as member-owners, to connect with one another while supporting the business that we mutually own and help govern. Volunteering also provides a great member-owner benefit, earning each participant a higher discount at the register.
What is the commitment and what do I get in return?
In-store super-workers are assigned a regular weekly two-hour shift in a specific department. The shift is scheduled for the same day and time each week. For every two-hour shift worked, super-workers receive a 17.5 percent discount, good for one week.
Generally, we ask for a four-month commitment for super-worker shifts out of respect for the time it takes department staff to train super-workers. However, during the summertime, we sometimes accommodate shorter commitments for certain shifts, so it's worth asking us if you can take a shift for just 2 to 3 months.
How to volunteer?
All available super-worker shifts are posted at the Member Center in both the West-End and Dewitt Mall locations. To request a super-worker shift, simply choose one or two shifts on the board that work for you and fill out a Member Labor Request Form. You will then receive a call from the relevant store. We fill super-worker shifts on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, it's a good idea to request more than one shift since other member-owners may be in line before you for a given shift.
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