28 Dec 2023

When Life Inspires You

When Life Inspires You
Who doesn't want to make the world a better place, except … how?

Keep your eyes open, for inspiration may find you when you’re not looking!

In 2024, may you find your inspiration to make the world a better place. Here’s 3 founder stories and what inspired them, respectfully duplicated, in their own words. 

1. Eutree: forest free wood lumber & products from repurposed urban trees

Sims Acuff, Eutree

Sims Acuff, Eutree

Sims Acuff, Eutree founder, grew up working with wood. As an arborist in Atlanta, he often witnessed trees being sent to the landfills, or being grounded into mulch, and this never really sat well with him.

“I got tired of throwing away logs" recalls Eutree's founder, Sims Acuff, who for a decade ran Tree Tailors, an Atlanta tree service.

Sims knew he wasn't alone. Tree service workers tend to revere the trees they cut down, particularly the grand, healthy oaks, pecans and hardwoods that are removed because they've become nuisances or stand in the way of construction.

So, he decided to create a better way of handling all of the wood that was being discarded. “It's so important that we stop neglecting the treasure of old-growth trees around us and begin utilizing the timber that is being removed from people's yard", Sims explains.

PC: Eutree

PC: Eutree

In 2010, Sims, a skilled sawyer and craftsman founded a new kind of mill. Eutree is changing the supply chain for fine hardwood lumber by interrupting the journey of hardwood trunks from urban tree services to waste. Because so many hardwoods are felled in metro Atlanta each year, we can be very picky about the quality of timber that we ask our tree service partners to divert to our lumber mill just outside the city.

Eutree's execution is as solid as our flooring. We work directly with local tree companies to source wood that is kiln dried, planed, molded and sorted. It is then transformed to a variety of standard and custom products, including floor planks, panel boards, structural lumber and slabs for furniture material.

At the same time, we're fulfilling a market need for sustainably produced hardwood flooring and other products, at an affordable price. The local sourcing fulfills a common goal of green-building certification programs. And our Forest Free supply method is a step beyond sustainable forestry practices – because we don't even set foot in the forest to find our wood.

Source: https://www.eutree.com/about/ourstory

2. Ozeano: Biodegradable sunglasses + 5% of revenue donated every year

PC: Ozeano

PC: Ozeano

Driven by a desire to make a difference

Ozeano is more than just eyewear, it's a global family bound by a love for experiencing the natural world and a deep passion for protecting it. We started out as two travellers left horrified by the sight of a heavily littered beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and our desire to make a difference led to the forming of an environmentally-friendly eyewear brand headquartered on the east coast of Sydney, Australia. Our core objective is to encourage people to see the natural world, whilst ensuring we help to protect its future. We seek to achieve that with our unwavering commitment to provide the highest natural quality eyewear, with the lowest environmental impact.

Over 80% of the Western population wear sunglasses, yet traditional plastic frames take upwards of 450 years to decompose. That's hundreds of millions of virgin plastic sunglasses that are discarded in to our ecosystem and contributing to the pollution problem our planet is facing. We're here to offer an alternative. All Ozeano sunglasses are inspired by (and named after) the beauty of the natural world, are designed in Australia and ethically handmade using a 100% biodegradable plant-based bio-acetate in our ISO9001, ISO14001 and SA8000-certified facility. All accessories are either 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton or FSC-certified Portuguese cork, and all our products are PETA-approved vegan. Our shipping is carbon-neutral, and courier packaging is 100% biodegradable.

PC: Ozeano

PC: Ozeano

With every sale, we fund the removal of 6kg of marine litter from our oceans and waterways (equivalent to over 500 plastic bottles). We're proud to be a certified B-corp and gold-standard members of the '1% for the planet' organisation, and our circular economy offering means you can return sunglasses at any time to receive 25% off your next purchase, ensuring our products never go to waste.

That's where we are today. We don't claim to be perfect, and are constantly evolving in pursuit of finding better ways in everything that we do.

Ozeano's ability to make a difference is only made possible by your support, and for that, no words could possibly portray our gratitude to you.

Thank you for visiting, and we look forward to welcoming you to the family!

Ozeano ~ Experience nature, protect its future.

Mark & Nicola
Ozeano Founders

Source: https://ozeanovision.com/pages/our-story

3. Freedom Hill Coffee: Every purchase supports Veteran + First Responder mental health & wellness

PC: Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters

PC: Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters

Scott here, founder of Freedom Hill and the one pictured on the left. It was late 2005 then, I was 22 years old, less than 6 months out of boot camp and riding out a sandstorm on a shooting range in Kuwait before my unit rotated north to Iraq. I didn't know it then, but in less than 5 months I'd be medevaced to Germany then the east coast after being injured during an intense dusk attack on our base west of Baghdad. My physical wounds were minor and healed not long after, but like many of my brothers and sisters who've fought in America's longest wars, the mental stress of what I experienced created some difficulties transitioning back to civilian life.

My childhood friend Brian, pictured on the right, is somewhere in Afghanistan. It was around 2004 when he was with the Army's 10th Mountain Division. Brian and I played football shoulder to shoulder through high school.

When I moved back home after the service, I moved in with Brian and some other friends of ours. We spent many late nights talking about what we had gone through during our deployments. Conversations about the chaos of combat, losing friends, maimed enemies, asking ourselves if we could only go back and do things differently. We had completely different experiences, but shared many of the same challenges coming home. After our lease was up, I moved out of state and Brian was there to help me like he always was. We drove cross country together in my pickup towing everything I owned in a small U-Haul trailer behind us. He helped me unpack for a couple days and I dropped him off to catch the Amtrak train home. Brian and I saw and talked to each other less and less as the years stretched on, but we kept in touch as well as we could.

On an early February morning in 2013, I got a call from an old mutual friend that I'll never forget. It was the worst phone call I've ever received. Brian had taken his own life the night before. Alone, without reaching out to anyone for help. He was gone. There was nothing I could do to bring him back or tell him how much he meant to me and everyone else in his life. Not a day goes by I don't think of him. I miss Brian but I am also proud of him. Proud of who he was and proud of his service to our country…

Jill & Scott Thomas, Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters

Jill & Scott Thomas, Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters

In the years after losing Brian I was able to finish college using the GI Bill. I studied business and learned about some great companies out there that use business to make a difference. When I asked myself what I wanted to do if I could do anything with my life, I knew it was help as many other Veterans like Brian as I could. His story is tragically all too common amongst Veterans and our First Responders who endure so much on our behalf. There are incredible organizations out there helping Veterans and our First Responders manage Post traumatic Stress and build fulfilling lives, but they need our help. That's why with every purchase you make, we give back to organizations supporting Veteran and First Responder mental health, wellness and camaraderie after service. When we say, “Your support is making a difference and saving lives." We mean it.

The Freedom Hill team of Veterans and Veteran allies work together everyday in honor of all our Veterans we have lost to combat and the war within. We honor their legacies of service and friendship and are proud to share a message of healing for all our warriors that are out there struggling in silence.

We need your help to make our mission of service a success. Every order, big or small, puts Vets to work and saves the lives of our Veterans and First Responders in crisis. Our Coffee Club Subscriptions are the foundation of what we do. Please consider starting your day with Freedom Hill Coffee at your home or office or picking up some apparel and gear today.

Thanks for supporting America's Heroes, thanks for sharing our story.


Source: https://freedomhillcoffee.com/pages/our-story