On "Entourage," Adrian Grenier's character Vince Chase and his posse often reveled in the debauched, hedonistic side of Hollywood. But with his latest real-life venture, Grenier and business partner, Peter Glatzer, producer of the "Alter Eco" TV series, represent Hollywood at its most earnest and altruistic.
After meeting through a mutual friend, Grenier and Glatzer decided to take their own eco-consciousness to the next level, starting Los Angeles-based SHFT.com. The site curates cool products that are also green, ranging from a doughnut-shaped iPhone speaker made from recycled paper to felt planters.
"We know consumption isn't going to go away tomorrow, but maybe responsible consumption will take over the less conscientious ways we do things," Grenier said.
Through SHFT, Glatzer and Grenier also highlight small business innovations, such as Bionic Yarn -- a soft, durable material made from recycled plastic bottles (Pharrell Williams is an investor) -- and collaborate with big businesses, including Ford, Virgin America and AOL/The Huffington Post. And they recently started selling their first private-label product, the sustainable SHFT house wine, for $24.99.
HuffPost Small Business found out why Grenier and Glatzer believe consumers making small shifts in purchases can make a huge dent in environmental issues.
Why did you take the route of starting a small business instead of a nonprofit?
Grenier: I see a lot of people indulging in abstract righteousness, talking a lot of big talk but without any real tangible, actionable solutions. We chose this approach because it's accessible and doable. We want to inspire as many people as possible to make these decisions and shifts in the way they purchase and consume.
Glatzer: We don't look at this as a cause. It's a way of life -- the way we need to start functioning in every way, whether energy, furniture, food, clothing, architecture or design. These things are all connected.
How did the environment became a personal concern of yours?
Grenier: It's how I was brought up. My mother always taught me to be respectful to others and to take care of my own personal space, and as I got older, it became apparent that my own personal space is beyond my bedroom, my apartment or my community -- it's the world at large.
Glatzer: For me, it was about seven years ago. Besides driving a hybrid and recycling, there was more I wanted to do, but in the so-called eco space at that time, there was very little that appealed to me. There seemed to be a void in the marketplace.
Since you started your company, have you started seeing the shift?
Glatzer: We have. We see a great deal of change in the private sector -- all these great small businesses popping up as well as very large companies changing the way they do business. But we're not Pollyanna about it. There needs to be a combination of private and public sector cooperation to have a big shift. We'd like to see both parties get on board when it comes to environmental and energy policy and work together on this and make it more viable for clean energy business to thrive in this country.
Grenier: Humbly, I feel we're doing a great job at bringing the megaphone and spotlight to small companies that are making changes. But what inspires me even more is watching big business transform itself to address the new values of new consumers. I'm in awe that the old guard has seen the necessity to make those changes.
We're inspired to invest in a vision, and that vision requires a lot of people to put their dollars, their energy toward finding new innovations. There is no panacea -- there are just a great many shifts contributing to the next discovery.
Names: Peter Glatzer, Adrian Grenier
Ages: 48, 36
Location: Los Angeles
Started: December 2009
2012 Projected Revenues: $2 million
UPDATE: Glatzer clarified an answer about where he's seeing the shift.
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