Ethical Deal: Groupon for greenies
Six months after opening its doors, Indigo Foods, a vegetarian, raw food cafe in Kitsilano, is bustling.
Owner Lovena Galyide credits her success to the online daily deal site called Ethical Deal, which generated enough new customers to turn her home business into a full fledged cafe and cooking school in mere months.
She said she wanted to go bigger after moving to Vancouver from the Ukraine but lacked the funds.
"I could not afford to take big loans, you need to have some money, some capital," she said.
Annalea Krebs, founder and CEO of Ethical Deal, says it's her mission to make green mainstream in North America through the burgeoning business.
The site is a social marketing platform that works like Groupon -- offering daily deals of 50-per-cent off goods and services -- but her site introduces consumers to socially responsible services and products.
Businesses featured recently include preservative-free chocolate snacks, eco-friendly printer ink and a whale watching getaway in Tofino.
"It can be taking your business suit to a non-toxic drycleaner -- a wet cleaner -- or it could be getting your hair done at an eco-friendly hairdresser," she said.
Greenworks Building Supply in False Creek has already sold about 100 of the online coupons for its eco-friendly building products. It sells everything from chemical-free paint to sustainably harvested wood products.
Moriah Power said about half of the people who bought coupons had never heard of the company.
"That was great," she said. "It got people into the store and I've had a lot of people that saw the deal that didn't buy who came in and bought stuff."
Like Greenworks, all businesses featured on Ethical Deal have to meet strict standards, including being organic, free-trade or Oceanwise.
"How do you care for the planet? How do you respect animal rights? How do you benefit the community -- and how do you promote wellness?" Krebs said of the criteria.
So far, over 500 green businesses have partnered with Ethical Deal and Krebs hopes the concept will go global.
"It's really a worldwide need and want to live a healthy lifestyle and to feel good about your purchases too," she said.
Ethical Deal is already operating in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto and Krebs hopes to expand to the top 25 cities in North America.
The company just celebrated its first anniversary.
For Galyide, going green is a lifestyle decision that has turned into a successful business.
"It's all people who want to go green. They want to be healthy and they want to make right choices," she said.
Watch CTV tonight for a look at the ethical deals you can snag through this unique coupon site, and a full report from Lynda Steele...