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Green Living!

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Check us out this month in Pure Green Living Magazine!

A Sea of Bins

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Look familiar? If your property looks like this, you might need one of these.

Press and the Royal Wedding

No doubt, this Friday most of you will tune into the broadcast of the Royal Wedding starring William and Kate. An event that has taken over the media and captivated international audiences. This wedding has received more media attention than Tom and Katie, Jen and Brad, and perhaps even Oprah (if she ever married Stedman). Thanks to YouTube, I’m sure we will see endless media attention over Kate’s dress, the style of her hair and her wedding vows for weeks on end. This is definitely the wedding of the century.

When you start a new business, getting press and media attention can be a challenge. After all, you have to compete with all the social noise already buzzing throughout the internet and people question, why is your business/product worthy of generating buzz. When we first launched our company, our strategy was getting people to know about us. Who is ubisu? What do you sell? What makes you unique? These were questions that we had to answer because essentially we were little fish swimming in a very large pond of products.

Early on, we were fortunate to get an article published about us in Dwell Magazine, a publication that we admire and read frequently. From there, people started knowing about us and journalists contacted us about writing more articles. Later, we were extremely pleased to be featured in the Spring 2011 Edition of Design Lines Magazine and on some notable design blogs and local newspapers. But getting media attention is not easy for any small business. We always have to compete with larger brand names and current events (like the wedding of William and Kate). No business would want to launch a new product this coming Friday when all newspapers and televisions will be tuned into the royal wedding. Now, if William and Kate were standing beside one of our URBINS during their wedding ceremony, I won’t lie, I would be quite pleased. But chances are, Friday is not the day to make a big media announcement.

We just wanted to say a special thank you to all the writers who have taken the time to interview us and write an article about our company! And a very special thank you to our customers as well! You definitely make our day!

“Thanks to Ubisu, Garbage goes Chic”

We are excited to be featured in the National Post this week.

Check out the article–>  http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/03/23/arren-williams-thanks-to-ubisu-garbage-goes-chic/

March 26 is Earth Hour

On Saturday, March 26 at 8:30pm, people from around the world will shut off their lights for Earth Hour. Each year, we participate in Earth Hour to show our support for the environment and to take a stand against climate change. It’s a small thing but collectively, we can all make a big difference.

One of our favourite activities to do during Earth Hour is go for a walk and see which restaurants and homeowners are participating. It’s amazing to see the many participating restaurants with candles in the window and their customers, happily eating in the dark. Last year, we ate a restaurant and it had a wonderfully romantic ambiance when the lights went out, cell phones turned off and you could actually just concentrate on dinner conversation and food. It’s really the way dining is supposed to be.

I’m hoping this year more people and businesses will participate in this very important hour. Saturday, March 26 at 8:30pm. Simply, shut off your lights and enjoy the quiet.

Grass Roots Marketing

Earlier this week I decided to do some good old fashion grass roots marketing.

We just purchased a new home and this week, we are starting a complete renovation of the house. We are excited to be transforming this old property into a modern dwelling in the city.  The whole renovation will take about 8 months, if we’re lucky. So on Monday morning, a repair man was scheduled to come to the house and said they would be arriving within a four hour period. If I was living in the house, that would be fine but this house has no heat, no furniture and no electricity so waiting inside the cold dark house for four hours obviously did not appeal to me. Armed with ubisu flyers, I decided to get active and do some local flyering in my neighbourhood. After all, the urbin storage units were specifically designed for city homeowners and I wanted my community to know what we offered.

As I walked down the beautiful streets, as expected, I saw that almost every single house had a garbage and recycling bin either on the porch or visible at the side of their house. It’s as if the bins were just calling out “Please get me an urbin, quickly!” I responded to their call by leaving a flyer in the homeowners mailboxes. I also had the pleasure of meeting some of my neighbours in person and explained to them who I was and about the company. I really wanted people to know that I wasn’t just some person dropping a random flyer on their property. I am their neighbour who has a product that can actually benefit them. After a few hours, I made my way back to my house (thankfully just in time for the repair man to show up).

So if you did receive an ubisu flyer in your mailbox this week, please note they were hand delivered by yours truly, with care and passion!

Your Urban Pets: The Raccoon

A few years ago, I lived in a small one bedroom apartment with a fairly nice sized balcony. I thought I could jazz up the area by putting a couple pieces of patio furniture outside and enjoy the view with a book and drink in hand.

That never happen.

I had just moved in following a very long city garbage strike. The tenant before me had thoughtfully left all her garbage piled on the balcony during the long strike and I soon realized that I had acquired some unwelcome pets — a family of raccoons. Even after the garbage had been cleaned up, the raccoons decided that my balcony was still a perfect home and made it known they were not leaving. For weeks, I was met each morning with a raccoon banging on my sliding glass door, waving hello and then leaving their mark on my patio chair.

Last week, the CBC television network aired a special on raccoons in the City of Toronto. The program, Raccoon Nation, follows a family of urban raccoons over the course of six months as they live amongst us. The show tells us that the raccoon population has grown significantly over the past seventy years, making Toronto the raccoon capital of the world. It is reported that fifty times more raccoons live in the city than in the surrounding countryside. If you live in an urban dwelling, no doubt, you are familiar with these creatures. They live on your roof, dig in your backyard and knock over your garbage and organic waste bins (You should really buy an urbin!).  These creatures will eat just about anything and just love hanging out in your yard, whether they are invited or not.

If raccoons are a pest for you, here are some tips for reducing your urban pet:

  • Store garbage inside a garage, basement or (urbin) bin until the morning of pick up.
  • Sprinkle strong smelling repellents such as oil of mustard, naphtha flakes or ammonia in or around the composter and garbage.
  • Install lights around garbage storage area.
  • Clean up after barbecuing and eliminate all food sources.
  • Remember that raccoons can carry the rabies virus so avoid human contact. 
  • Source: City of Toronto Animal Services

    The Urbin Meets the Urbaneer

    We recently bought a new house in downtown Toronto.

    After living in a compact row house, I was excited to find a fully detached property on a beautifully quaint street. After six years of looking, we had a specific criteria in mind: we wanted a semi or fully detached house in our specific location, a good sized lot and backyard, and most importantly, the house must be a complete and utter wreck. We wanted to renovate. Over the years, our (very patient) real estate agent, Steve Fudge, showed us some pretty scary properties. There was the house that required a flashlight during viewings; the house with the “bathroom” in the dining room (a stand alone toilet with a curtain in front of it); and the house with the crawl through basement with bedrooms that resembled jail cells. The worse the wreck was, the more we seemed to like it.

    As we viewed each terrible looking house, we imagined transforming the space into our renovated modern dream home. A house with exceptional light and a great air flow, combining indoor and outdoor space as one. Then one day, we found it. Our new home. Only slightly wrecked, moderately livable but very lovable. We saw our new home a mere one time and gave them an offer. Offer accepted and now we are in the renovation process which will take about 8 months. Time to transform!

    And special thanks to Toronto Real Estate Agent, Steve Fudge, for his time and patience! But we still must warn him, we will probably want to find another wreck in the future. Check him out at www.urbaneer.com.

    Ubisu Featured in DesignLines in Month!

    We are excited to be featured in the spring 2011 DesignLines Magazine! If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, check us out on page 32.

    “Inspired to organize the city’s visual clutter, Alana Charles teamed up with industrial designers to create Urbin: a modular storage unit that conceals mismatched garbage and recycling bins.” -DesignLines

    Going Local

    I still remember those mouth-watering apples my parents picked last summer. They were deliciously red, sweet and crisp and I enjoyed them for months. I must have eaten at least two apples a day. The other day, I bought some international produce from a grocery store and it simply wasn’t the same.

    I’m finding that in business, going local is also the way to go.

    We are a Toronto based company and we design our products by local designers using locally sourced material. Going local was equally important to us when choosing a manufacturer. We work with a local manufacturer, just a short drive from downtown Toronto, and we tend to visit their manufacturing facility quite frequently. I like knowing that I can reach my manufacturer within minutes and we can personally check our products for any issues. I like knowing that we are taking an eco-conscious approach to design while supporting local Canadian businesses.

    Many products are made overseas (including this office chair that I am currently sitting in), but I always feel better knowing that products that we make are made right here. Locally.

    Sometimes going local is just better.