Her Green Prefab Business, and How It Once Grew

Entrepreneur Michelle Kaufman’s green prefab home business didn’t survive the economic downturn. Reading between the lines, it seems that supply chain problems and undervaluing the product might have been larger factors in her company’s failure than the bad economy. I’ve heard that entrepreneurs are often busy until the day they shut down…sad, though. The world needs mid-priced, green alternatives to suburban McMansions.

No More Ziplocs: snackTaxi for Green Food Transport

I bring my lunch to work every day, plus two snacks. It drives me nuts to grab a plastic bag from the box only to toss it hours later. Not very green, and a money-waster as well. And I won’t even go into the BPA-leaching properties of plastics (when an organization as slow-moving as the FDA expresses concern, you know you’ve got a problem on your hands).

snack taxi reusable bags

Enter snackTaxi. They can be forgiven for their trendy camel case name because their products are pretty cool–fabric bags that you can wash and re-use, made in a home-based workshop by local sewers.

SnackTaxi’s founders noticed that there was a steady stream of Ziplocs flowing from their home into the landfills and saw an opportunity. Their website says, “We are committed to keeping our business local, and will never outsource our labor.” I love when people, planet and profit come together in one entrepreneurial venture. Thanks to my awesome co-worker Chris who turned me on to them.

Beautiful Christmas Stockings from Antique Fortuny Fabric

Fortuny Christmas Stockings from Bremermann Designs

Fortuny Christmas Stockings from Bremermann Designs

When I discovered these gorgeous Christmas stockings from Bremerman designs I. WANTED. THEM. They were made from fabric designed by Mariano Fortuny, a Venetian fashion and textile designer who worked from the turn of the century until the 1930s.

Not only are these stockings gorgeous and affordable, but they remind me of one of the main characters in my very favorite novel, In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. Odette de Crécy, a beguiling courtesan who is also referred to as the lady in pink, was one of the most fashionable women in Paris and always wore gowns by Fortuny.

Fortuny Gown from VintageTextiles.com

Fortuny Gown from VintageTextiles.com

I have been obsessed with Proust ever since I was assigned to read In Search of Lost Time during my first year of college. Sounds pretentious to admit to being a Proust fanatic, but there it is. Since college, I have read the circa 1920 Scott-Moncrieff¬† translation twice more, and all of the volumes in Enright’s 1992 translation that are currently available in the US.

Proust’s treatment of memory, space, time and desire is absolutely brilliant. He captures petty social interactions like no author I’ve ever read. I once heard an interview with director Charlie Kaufman on the NPR program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. In the interview he describes a great artist as someone who is able to rearrange the furniture in your head so that you are different from having experienced his or her work. Proust is like that, too!

Incidentally, when I visited the Frick Collection in New York I was thrilled to get a chance to see Whistler’s Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux. Proust references the painting when he mentions “this harmony in pink and grey”; I can’t help but imagine that Odette looked something like this:

James McNeill Whistler, Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux (1881) Frick Collection, New York

James McNeill Whistler, "Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux" (1881) Frick Collection, New York