This week, meet Sharon Rowe. Sharon is the Founder & CEO of Eco-Bags Products, which she started back in 1989. She’s also an award winning pioneer of the reusable bag movement and has been featured in media outlets like Time Magazine, Glamour, and the Oprah Show.
I first met Sharon when she gave a talk at Woodstock BYO. That’s when I learned about her passion for the zero/less waste movements. Of course, you know me. That merely whet my curiosity. There was so much more I wanted to ask this thought-provoking, social entrepreneur.
Not only is Sharon passionate about reducing waste, she is also passionate about entrepreneurship. She recently condensed all of her business knowledge into a book called The Magic of Tiny Business. I ripped through the book in one afternoon and loved it. I'm not the only person who loved the book. Seth Godin had some awesome things to say about it, too. (Yes, that Seth Godin.)
When Sharon's not running her company, she is speaking to rid the world of single use plastic bags and promote sustainable, tiny business. She’s also active in The Social Venture Network, BCorporation, The Women's Presidents Organization, and the Governing Board of Westchester Collaborative Theater. Whew. She is one busy lady who holds it all together with poise and grace.
In this episode, Sharon talks about the power of making simple a switch over time, the death of single use plastic bags (YESSS!), and getting comfortable with discomfort. We also talk about turning tiny ideas into tiny businesses, how regrouping can help you move forward, and the importance of being intentional and incremental in life and in business.
One more thing: Before you dive into the interview, I want to remind you to subscribe to Le vital corps Salon wherever you listen to podcasts. Please, please, please (yes, that’s a triple please), share this podcast with at least one human who you think might dig this episode. Not only will it help grow this podcast, but it's going to help amplify all the great work that Sharon is doing in the world. Now here’s that bi-monthly dose of sonic comfort and conversation with the amazing Sharon Rowe.
Selected link love + resources from the episode:
The Magic of Tiny Business, Sharon Rowe (book)
Creative Confidence, Tom Kelley, David Kelley (book)
Roz Chast, Cartoonist, The New Yorker
Bridget Jones’ Diary (movie)
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All of this wisdom is from Sharon Rowe herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:08:20] We all share a lot of the same hopes and desires. But what we don't all share is where we decided to say yes or no to something. We can only absorb so much stuff.
[00:15:57] You can't know it all when you start because, if you know it all when you start, all you're really doing is bringing your past into your present.
[00:25:52] [Getting comfortable with the discomfort of asking for the business] You're really nervous, but when you do it a lot, you lose the nervousness because you're building a skill. You're building a skill of walking in, assessing your surroundings, understanding what you're asking for, what you're there for, and understanding that it's not about you, it's about them. That's Sales 101. You need to become really comfortable being uncomfortable because there will always be some level of discomfort.
[00:29:27] You can learn a lot talking to someone face to face. I think more than you can learn from emailing and texting.
[00:32:46] I think there are certain things that should be available to everybody - no matter their status. I have a core belief: Clean air and clean water for everyone.
[00:41:08] [On structuring your work day and taking time to recharge] Stick to your work schedule. Create your work in those hours. When you go home, you're really only draining your battery if you're sitting there doing more work. Make it the exception [to work after hours], not the rule. I say if you can stick to your schedule about 80% of the time, you're good. 20% of the time, there's going to be major disasters.
[00:54:33] Women are shock absorbers. We absorb from our kids, from our spouses, from our partners, from our parents, from our employers. You’ve got to go somewhere to recharge. Even shocks run down, and you have to get them repaired.
[00:55:42] It doesn't need to be perfect. It needs to be good enough, and then go.
[01:01:52] [On the importance of taking tiny steps] I always like to get quippy and say, “Go incremental, not mental.”
[01:11:52] Find what will work for you in possibly the tiniest, smallest increment. I like using tiny. Tiny is all about this intention. Find the tiniest thing you can do for you. Commit to doing it as a practice, which means you do it every day, every other day, whatever you decide to do. If you decide to do it every day, and then you don't do it every day because you feel like that's too much pressure, make it once a week. But make it the intention of doing it. Then, the intention of making it a practice will create a shift - guaranteed.
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