Episode 15: Green Sex Lube, National Television & Horse "Yoga"

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Ideal Bite, co-founder Jen Boulden tells us how horse "yoga" helped her build an 11 person email marketing organization which sends out "light green" tips to over 130,000 subscribers each week. Learn about how she overcame obstacles to keep the business alive by balancing "no's" from vc's with her unwaivering passion and commitment. Get the inside scoop on the "last minute - save the business" call which culminated in a full page feature in the Green Issue of Vanity Fair. Wonder how you can go from green sex lube to Martha Stewart show? Listen to this episode and her the juicy details about her first live interview experience on the Today Show. You'll "fall down the stairs" with Jen when you learn why she was carrying 2 dufflebags on the New York subway each week in order to "save the planet" and why seeing "tweety" birds all around her head got her motivated to start a new business. This is a sassy, sexy and solid business woman who shares her passion of organic farming, horse "yoga" and daily "light green" inspiration in a friendly and buddhalike way on this week's episode of Living Green.

Transcript

Ideal Bite co-founder, Jen Boulden talks Green Sex Lube, National Television and Horse "Yoga"

Announcer:  This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com

[Music]

Meredith Medland:  Welcome to Living Green.  My name is Meredith Medland and I’m so glad that you downloaded this podcast today.  We’ve got a great episode.  Today I’m with Jennifer Boulden.  Jennifer Boulden is the co-founder and Senior Vice President of an amazing, amazing email marketing company, as well as a website.  And that website is Idealbite.com.  Idealbite.com offers bite-sized ideas for light green living.  These are eco tips in short and sassy emails, and it’s all sorts of fun stuff.  We’re going to talk to Jen a little bit about her company today.  We’re going to learn about an accident that turned into goodness when she fell in a New York subway.  We’re going to learn about LuLu Kachoo and who that is and what role she plays in Jen’s life.  We’re going to talk a little about An Inconvenient Truth and the impact that that’s made with Jen.  And we’re going to start out with some fun stuff, which is what it feels like to get catered to by Vanity Fair, Martha Stewart, as well as lots of very fun filming such as a live show on the Today Show.

[music]

Jen Boulden:  The minute that we got the Vanity Fair call, the next few calls were to the investors saying, “Hi!  Yeah, we’re going to be front and center, full-page feature on Ideal Bite in Vanity Fair.  Are you in or you out?”

Meredith Medland:  Well since you brought it up, let’s talk sex lubes.

Jen Boulden:  [laughs] OK

Meredith Medland:  What do I need to know?

Jen Boulden:  …you’re getting that intimate and putting things in strange dark places, then you wouldn’t want it to be filled with latex and other synthetic chemicals.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  So of all the things that you could do to feel all natural, we say, “Hey, this is a no-brainer.”

Meredith Medland:  All right.  Where do we go buy it?  Uh, I’ll vouch for it, too.

Jen Boulden:  [laugh] Well if you only got it two days ago and you can already vouch for it then you and your boyfriend must have a great relationship.

Meredith Medland:  Oh, well, you know, we listen to the Sex and Intimacy pod casts on personallifemedia.com.  [laugh]  That helps us.

Jen Boulden:  You know when I see animals being hurt in movies I cry, but when I see people getting hurt in movies I don’t.  And that’s just, you know, like how you’re very passionate about the food and the connection.  I’m very passionate about animals.  I really, you know, that’s my thing: speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves.  And I’ve got ten of them actually myself.

Meredith Medland:  You’ve have ten?

Jen Boulden:  It’s a little out of control, but…

Meredith Medland:  So you mention that there was a time that I believe has passed, where you were proposing that people buy organic food but you didn’t have the cash at the time.  You were investing it in your business and not taking a salary.

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hum

Meredith Medland:  Has that time passed?

Jen Boulden:  Yes, thank God almighty.

Meredith Medland:  Yes.

[music]

Meredith Medland:  Welcome to Living Green Jen.  I’m so glad you’re here.  And wow!  What was it like being on the Today Show going live?

Jen Boulden:  Thanks Meredith.  It’s good to be here.  This Today Show was absolutely a trip because you just got this rush and it was,  okay.  You’ve got to do this right because there’s no saying, “Wait!  Pause!  Rewind that film!  I didn’t mean to say that!”  Yeah, so it was quite a trip.  We didn’t have makeup on about ten minutes prior to our airtime.  We’re like, “Yeah, hello?  Over here.  We need some makeup.  We’re about to be seen by six or seven million people.”

Meredith Medland:  Now this is so exciting.  Now one of the things that really shifted and changed your business was when Vanity Fair approached you to be in their green issue in May, 2006.  I just want to let our listeners know that this included lots of fun limos and catering to you.  But…brag a little to us.  Tell us what was that like, but most importantly, as you were at the point in your business, it was a little sink or swim, wasn‘t it?

Jen Boulden:  Yeah it absolutely was.  You know, Heather and I started this business and tried to lead with our head and our heart.  We came at it with the business perspective.  We wrote the business plan.  We had the financials all done.  But we also really believed in this idea of light green living and kind of merging the environmentalists versus everybody else idea.  Right?  Because we knew everybody would do the right thing if they were given the opportunity.  And so we, you know, like you’ve got to do if you start a business.  Believed in it whole heartedly.  But after about nine months of slogging away and trying to raise a little bit of money to help the company continue and to hire some people, it was a sink or swim thing.  We were about to run out of money and all the investors we had lined up were kind of on the fence.  And the minute that we got the Vanity Fair call, the next few calls were to the investors saying, “Hi.  Yeah.  We’re going to be front and center, full page on Idea Bite in Vanity Fair.  Are you in or you out?  And they all jumped in.

Meredith Medland:  I bet they all jumped in.  And what was one of your favorite moments during that process?

Jen Boulden:  I guess my favorite moment was like a ‘pinch me’ thing when the limo showed up.  The limo driver was with my name at the airport.  And I’ve never had that before.  And I’m like, wow!  It’s kind of like recognition I guess for these last few years of not taking a salary and not having enough money to even afford the organic food that we’re writing about.  And really, again, believing in my heart that we’re doing the right thing and having the reward.  Not that the reward is a limo driver, but all of a sudden it became pretty real and pretty exciting. 

Meredith Medland:  Your efforts paid off. 

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hmm.

Meredith Medland:  Well as you know our show is about effortless ecology for everyday people, and  this show really is meant to give our listeners an experience of either an awakening or a shift in their belief system based on the stories you share. What I’d like to do is talk a little bit about how Ideal Bite started, as well as this whole experience that you had in the subway falling down the stairs with two duffel bags.  And I think it’s important that our listeners understand what in the world you were doing carrying those duffel bags.

Jen Boulden:  Sure thing.  Well, Ideal Bite was started through basically Heather, my business partner, and I were doing some green business consulting.  And we recognized there was a need for this in the marketplace.  And that’s usually how businesses get started.  It’s in a field that you’re familiar with.  But the funny kind of background of that, is that Heather and I did meet in a bar in New York city.  And it sounds a little bit little sketchy, but it’s one of those things where we realized e had a lot in common and we should keep in touch.  And so we did.  And I always think, “Gosh.  What if I’d gone to a different restaurant or bar that night?”  Ideal Bite wouldn’t be here.  And then in terms of my awakening moment, it was in the year 2000 and I was working on Wall Street at a big tech start-up company.  I had done the start-up thing for quite some time in New York.  And obviously that’s seventy hour weeks and really putting your life energy into something that you may or may not be passionate about.  And I wasn’t.  But I  didn’t really have an option.  I didn’t know there was something called green business. 

Jen Boulden:  So I discovered that the cleaning crew wasn’t taking the paper recycling home.  Then I collected it every week and put it in these two big duffel bags.  I was taking it home one night to my apartment building where I knew the paper was recycled.  I was wearing high heels, of course, and I tripped going down the subway stairs.  I bounced on my one knee on the cement subway stairs, and I couldn’t catch myself on the railing because I was, you know, carrying these two bags.  And the paper went flying kind of like Tweety birds around my head.  I just laid there at the bottom of the subway steps, and people kind of rushed over me to get home during the rush hour traffic.  And I was like, “Uhh, there’s got to be a better way.  I’m not going to save the world by recycling and being laid up here now with a bum knee.”

Meredith Medland:  Thank you on behalf of Mother Earth for doing that.  But that sounds absolutely ludicrous to me.  It sounds totally nuts.  What were you thinking as you were going from wastepaper basket to wastepaper basket in your office?  What was motivating you?

Jen Boulden:  Well, basically I felt like I had to do something because in my life it was like I said, seventy hours of working toward creating things that the planet didn’t really need.  There’s got to be something.  I did a lot of volunteering when I could.  I did this kind of armchair activism like writing letters to your senator or whatever.  But the paper thing was just something that seemed like I had to do it to kind of save face for all of my company.  It was a 120-person company, so we created a lot of paper waste.  And it was kind of a trick in my mind in that we all put it in our little paper recycling bins but then it didn’t make it.  So I just kind of wanted to help it make it to where it was supposed to go.  I don’t know.  I didn’t think about it too much.

Meredith Medland:  Are you a savior?  I mean are you a “save the world” kind of woman?

Jen Boulden:  You know, I am but within reason.  Because I’m also like everybody else, fairly self-motivated.  And if it’s going to cost too much, hurt too much, you know, just be too much of an inconvenience, I’ve got limits.  And I figured I could just do this.  What’s the big deal?  Taking home two duffel bags once a week.  So that’s why we started Ideal Bite.  To make things really easy.

Meredith Medland:  I bet.  So Ideal Bite has 130,000 subscribers and one of your main responsibilities is to market so that more people will subscribe, as well as to tell everyone about Ideal Bites.  I introduced it a little in the beginning, but why don’t you give our listeners a taste of what they can have if they are taking a bite.

Jen Boulden:  Sure.  So I mean, it’s really, really simple. All it is, is Monday through Friday they’ll get a free email that’s a small little bite-sized idea of something they can do to go green.  It might have to do with, if you’re planning on watering your lawn this weekend, why don’t you consider these few things to help save water and reduce the need for pesticides?  Or hey, if you’ve got a hot date tonight, maybe this is our Friday fun tip, right?  Why don’t you get super natural and consider these all natural, you know, sex lubes that we had our friends test because our moms read these tips.  So we just have a lot of fun with it and make sure that we’re never kind of preachy or anything.  Not like, well,  you should bike to work.

Meredith Medland:  Well since you brought it up, let’s talk sex lubes. 

Jen Boulden:  [laughs] Okay.

Meredith Medland:  What do I need to know?

Jen Boulden:  Well our favorite is from one called Collective Well Being.  It’s a great company and the packaging is just always hilarious if you read the side.  It’s kind of like a Dr. Bronner’s, saying fun things that are good for you and good for the planet inside and out.  And obviously if you’re getting that intimate and putting things in strange dark places then you wouldn’t want it to be filled with latex and other synthetic chemicals.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  So of all the things that you could do to go all natural, we say, “Hey, this is a no-brainer.”

Meredith Medland:  All right.  Where do I go to buy it?

Jen Boulden:  Collectivewellbeing.com.  They also have some at Whole Foods.  Trader Joe’s I think has it.  But you know, your typical health food store should carry it and if not you could always order it online.

Meredith Medland:  All right. Do you want to know a big secret?

Jen Boulden:  Tell.

Meredith Medland:  I just realized that I actually bought that lube two days ago.

Jen Boulden:  No way.

Meredith Medland:  I swear to God.  I was in Lazy Acres in Santa Barbara, California.  My boyfriend said, “Hey, we need to get some lube.”  I said I’ll get it, you know?  And we usually go to a sex shop to get a really special kind of lube that we really like.  It’s called Slippery Wet or something like that.

Jen Boulden:  Right.

M.  And since I’ve been doing more ecology things and my life changes on an everyday basis, whether it’s opting out of the caffeine if I don’t have my travel mug with me or…

Jen Boulden:  Right.

Meredith Medland:  …choosing the eco-friendly lube.  I’ve got to tell you I just realized I didn’t look so much at the brand because there were only three choices at the market.  It’s kind of like a Whole Foods.  And I just picked thatmone.  And as you said it I saw the logo in my mind’s eye.  So, I’ll vouch for it too.

Jen Boulden:  [laughs]  Well if you only got it two days ago and you can already vouch for it then you and your boyfriend must have a great relationship.

Meredith Medland:  Oh, yeah, well, you know, we listen to the Sex and Intimacy pod casts on personallifemedia.com.  [laugh] That helps us.  So no more plugging there. I want to know.  You ran a horse farm in Ireland.  And you’ve had a lot of outdoor experience.  And I’m imagining that it’s possible that you are doing your daily riding on your horse, whose name is…she’s LuLu Kachoo, right?

Jen Boulden:  Yep.

Meredith Medland:  All right.  What color is she?

Jen Boulden:  She’s a bay, which means dark brown with black mane, black tail.

Meredith Medland:  How fun!

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hmm.

Meredith Medland:  That’s awesome.  So you’re riding Lulu Kachoo and you’re out on your path, or is it…do you ride kind of all over or is it within a pasture,.  How does it work?

Jen Boulden:  It’s anywhere I want basically.  I’m at a competitive barn, so we have an indoor arena and an outdoor arena.  I can go trail riding when I’m  just leaving straight from the barn.  That’s one of the reasons why I live in Montana is because I was kind of sickened when I was in New York sitting in traffic for an hour to go ride and not really getting the full experience and getting frustrated by the time I got there.  So it takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to get to my barn that’s at the base of the Spanish Peak.  And yeah!  I’ve got free rein and a gorgeous horse and this is my yoga.  How I get balanced and centered.

Meredith Medland:  Yeah.  Well this is fantastic.  Well that’s what I suspected.  I want to let my listeners know that I gave you a question in advance which was, “If you could create three outcomes in the next three months, what would they be?”  So I’m wondering when you are riding Lulu Kachoo do you have some…are you brainstorming about your business and your ideas?  Is it a thinking time as well?

Jen Boulden:  Yes  it absolutely is .  You know one of the beautiful things about riding is it forces you to be in the moment.  So, you know, Buddha and all of the great teachers would say, “ Yes.  This is a good thing for people that have trouble meditating and living in the moment.  Like me.  I’m always kind of, you know, getting anxiety from thinking too far out.  And when you’re riding a horse you have to really truly be there.  Be present.  And that’s a beautiful thing for your mind.  And so what happens is after I’m done with my training, it’s like 45 minutes of thinking where she’s putting each foot.  How her head position is.  Then as I’m walking her out I have these kind of enlightened moments because I have just had 45 minutes of basically meditation.  And a lot of things come to me on our cool out time.

Meredith Medland:  Mmmm.  Well that sounds like a good thing to start up our next break from and talk about those enlightened moments.  I’d love to know a few things about… a few moments of enlightenment.  We’re going to take a quick break to thank our sponsor, and then when we come back we’re going to hear about those horse-riding enlightened moments with Lulu Kachoo as well as some of your outcomes for the future.  And we’ll talk a little bit more about your desires around people viewing An Inconvenient Truth.  And we’re going to talk about factory farming.  So stay tuned right after this.  Thank you so much Jen for sharing all your good stuff and we’ll be back right after this.

[commercial break]

[music]

Meredith Medland:  My name is Meredith Medland and you’re listening to Living Green.  We’re speaking with Jen from Ideal Bite.  Jen you were just about to tell us those enlightened thoughts that come to you after 45 minutes of being on the body of your wonderful horse, Lulu Kachoo.  And what do you get at the end of those meditation sessions?

Jen Boulden:  It really depends from day to day, but for the green thing, what I always come back to is, everyone would do the quote unquote right thing if they knew what it was.  And so obviously we are talking about a mass awareness that needs to happen.  And I always think, well how?  How do we plant this little seed into everybody’s head?  So when you did ask me that question about kind of my  ideal three outcomes in three months, I would ask for this kind of mass education and inspiration seed to be planted.  And what would be in the seed would be education that came from the movie, An Inconvenient Truth.  It’s very solid science.  It’s not a fluff piece.  It’s not a political piece.  And then to have, everybody kind of inspired by it. And I think that still people are more scared than inspired by, like, “Ahh,  I don’t get global warming.  I’m just gonna kind of turn my cheek to it for now.”  But I know that as soon as people know and really kind of embrace the fact that we’ve got the power to affect change, they do it.

Meredith Medland:  What do you think is the biggest piece of missing education in the United States population?

Jen Boulden:  You know, it’s…I don’t necessarily think it’s any…you know, it’s up to the people to do everything. Where we can affect change is kind of voting with your dollars.  That’s what you can do on the consumer level.  But where we also like to focus is  looking at our systems that have been put in place like our industrialized economy.  It’s kind of set up wrong.  And that’s no one’s fault, right?  We just have to restructure it a little bit and to reward businesses that instead of creating products that go quickly to the landfill, that they’re creating products with a kind of endless cycle of what’s done with the materials.  And so that’s why I say okay.  It is up to the consumer to vote with our dollars.  But it is also up to the kind of larger powers that be as well to respond.

Meredith Medland:  Mmmm.  One of the things that I love about voting with my dollars is that we have a Tuesday afternoon farmer’s market here in Santa Barbara, which I’ll actually be going to after our interview today.  And I love looking into the eyes of the farmers and having the experience of the connection and the grounding and understanding where my food came from.  And I know when we spoke prior to this interview, you talked a little bit about factory farming versus organic farming as well as CSA delivery boxes.  And so what I’d like you to do is give us your facts and figures on farming and why factory farming is a concern for you.  And then for those listeners who don’t know what CSA’s are, if you could explain that process as well.

Jen Boulden:  Sure.  Sure.  Well, I’ve got to, start with a kind of confession, which is…when I see animals being hurt in movies I cry but when I see people getting hurt in movies I don’t.  And that’s just, you know, like you’re very passionate about the food and the connection.  I’m very passionate about animals.  I really…that’s my thing.  Speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves.  And I’ve got ten actually of them myself. 

Meredith Medland:  You have ten? 

Jen Boulden:  It’s a little out of control but…

Meredith Medland:  What kind of animals?

Jen Boulden:  [laughs]  Factory farms are basically your industrialized farms that pack a whole lot of animals into a real small space.  And they’re just worried about profit margins.  It’s a vicious cycle that’s set up because of course these animals get sick when they’re in these conditions and that’s when they start pumping them with the antibiotics.  And, as you probably know, like about 70% of all of our antibiotics in the U.S. are fed to these factory-farmed animals, the pigs, the poultry, the cattle.  Of course then that’s creating resistance in humans because then we digest their meat.  And there’s just a whole lot of other negative consequences for putting that many animals together, such as these kind of manure lagoons that are creating all types of environmental hazards.  And then of course if you care about the animals and you believe that they’ve got emotions, which I definitely do, they’re in hell.  So I’m not…I am a vegetarian but I’m not against eating meat if it’s sustainably raised.  There are more and more people really looking into that and saying, well, I’d like my cow to have been a happy one and a healthy one.  And come from a place where really it is that kind of that bucolic, idyllic scenery.  Because that exists.  We just have to again, support the farmers that are doing it right. 

Meredith Medland:  When you’re sharing that, one of the things I was experiencing is I,  now when I go to…and I’ll leave the grocery stores out just to be kind, but when I go down the aisles, the meat aisle, I think about what you just said.  I think about that vision and I look at the meat or the fish and it’s been one of the biggest shifts that I’ve personally experienced.  I still have a lot of pain around it because I…it’s almost as if I know too much now?  And it’s…I find it alarming and concerning.  And then I was in the frozen vegetable produce aisle.  I rarely buy frozen goods, but I like to have a little bit on hand so if I’m traveling I always know there’s vegetables in the freezer.

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hmm.

Meredith Medland:  And, I saw just visually in my mind’s eye a…what it would look like to have all these green beans on this machine kind of going through and these kind of machines making these packaged bags.  And then I fast forwarded to the farmer’s market option.  And it, you know, it concerned me.  I mean there’s the video  The Meatrix.  We were talking about that before this interview.  We should probably give the URL for that.  I think it does a great explanation for that.  But how else does factory farming affect us?

Jen Boulden:  Yeah, well before I forget, the URL for The Meatrix is themeatrix.com.  And that’s M-E-A-T-R-I-X.  And it’s hilarious, kind of,  well, as hilarious as factory farms can be.  But it’s this cartoon kind of animated thing.  It was a spoof on The Matrix.  And I love it because I sat my Mom down who, who…conventional shopper, right?  Just has no idea what the term factory farm means and didn’t really want to know.  And I sat her down and we watched this little five minute cartoon together and she was like, “Oh.  I get it.  I totally get it now.  I’m going to start looking for sustainably raised beef.”  And so I got the chill bumps and was like, cool.  This is effective.

Meredith Medland:  Mmm.  That’s awesome.  I definitely suggest that our listeners check that out.  Listeners, if you got this pod cast via iTunes you can also go to personallifemedia.com.  Click on Living Green which is the name of the pod cast.  And then there’s an episode page that has Jen’s bio, information about this interview, and then there are related links.  We’ll put that link there so if you go to that space on the web you can just click through it.  It’ll be easy for you to find.  But if you haven’t seen it, it’s very funny but it’s also very enlightening as well.  So definitely check that out.

Jen Boulden:  And Meredith, I did forget the other part of what… [laugh]

Meredith Medland:  I wanted to transition you on to CSA’s.  Now I asked you if you shop at a farmer’s market and you said no you get a local delivery. 

Jen Boulden:  Yes.  I mean I am very busy, you know, with being a co-founder of Ideal Bite and then spending a good few hours at the barn every day on top of that.  So the CSA option is a cool one.  It stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  And basically I get a few bags and boxes of fresh produce dropped off every week.  And it’s what’s in season, which is a beautiful way to eat.  And it is basically a concept of buying shares in our local farmer’s farms.  You give them the money at the beginning of the season and you want basically your dividend, you know, some of the produce every week.  And mine comes with recipes because I’m not really the cook at all.  And…but it forces me to say OK well how would you use the strange looking root?  And let’s go ahead and try this funny recipe.  So to me it’s kind of like adventures in cooking as welllas eating what’s in season.  And it’s a luxury.  I don’t have to go shopping.  I don’t have to wake up early on Saturday morning and go to the farmer’s market.

Meredith Medland:  Exactly.  So this is a key piece in effortless ecology  I believe.  They’ve made it easy for you.  Food shows up at your house.  You don’t have to travel to get it.  It’s fantastic.  It’s fresh.  It’s great.  Listeners, you can search on CSA’s and then the name of your city on the web and you’ll be able to find different options.  Many communities have them.  Farmers come together.  They create the boxes.  It’s a beautiful way to distribute food.  If you go on vacation or if you travel a lot you can cancel it for the week.  It’s billed on your credit card.  It’s ingenious.  I love it.  Go go CSA’s.  Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!  Jen, I asked you about your three outcomes, and one of them was that you wanted mass audiences to be watching An Inconvenient Truth.  So the request to the listeners is if you haven’t seen An Inconvenient Truth, please do.  Your second was education around factory farming versus organic farming.  Now we have a little sense of factory farming.  Let’s talk about organic farming and your experience with that.  What do our listeners need to know?

Jen Boulden:  Sure.  So organic…I mean factory farming or factory…we talked about factory farming from an animal perspective, but looking at it from say fruits and vegetables perspective, if you’re Monsanto, right?  Which is like one of the largest agricultural companies.  You’re going to have just a bazillion fields of just corn.  That’s called monoculture.  And so their thought process is:  let’s go ahead and just produce a ton of it because of economies of scale.  And we can spray and use the same fertilizer, the same pesticide and box it all up and send it to the same distributor.  But what that does, of course, is depreciate the soil very rapidly and you’re using a whole lot of chemicals, pesticides, insecticides that you wouldn’t normally have to use.  Also, of course, these seeds are genetically modified because they need to keep trying to kind of overcome the fact that they’re not grown in a diverse setting. So the way that nature evolved is having a true diversity of the ecology, the ecological system.  Organic farming pays homage to having a lot of different crops growing in a lot of different areas, kind of just benefiting from a symbiotic relationship.  And so you’re going to have a more diverse field.  Sure you’re not going to have a gazallion, bazillion tons of corn coming off of it, but isn’t that great that you don’t have to then cut down some more trees to grow your next year’s crop because you degraded the soil?  If anything, organic farming can also kind of regenerate and bring soil back to life.

Meredith Medland:  All right Jen.  So we’re going to transition just a little bit here.  We’re going to take a break to thank our sponsors, but when we come back we’re going to hear a little bit about why Instant Messenger is so important to you.  And we’re going to hear a little bit about a touching subscriber story from Ideal Bite.  And then we’re going to hear about a request that you have for Oprah Winfrey.  Does that sound good?

Jen Boulden:  Sounds great.

Meredith Medland:  All right.  So stay tuned.  We’ll be  back right after this.  Thanks again for listening and here’s a special thanks to our sponsor.

[commercial break]

[music]

Meredith Medland:  All right.  We’re back.  You can go to personallifemedia.com and click on Living Green and find more information about this show and other shows on the Personal Life Media Network.  And right now we’re going right into some goodness.  So tell us why Instant Messenger is so exciting!

Jen Boulden:  We definitely owe our business, at least, to instant messaging.  I live in Montana and it’s by choice because I need to be inspired every day to fight the good fight.  And Heather, my co-founding partner was in New York city.  We had to recruit a whole bunch of interns to help us launch this company.  And they were as far-flung as San Francisco to Romania.  We did all of our business through instant messaging.  We even concocted the idea for Ideal Bite over IM as they call it.

Meredith Medland:  I think this is awesome.  So there’s eleven employees at Ideal Bite and we said earlier there are 130,000 subscribers.  And the fact that you’ve saved your IM’s and that you’ve created this successful business that’s been featured in Vanity Fair.  And you spent two days filming with Martha Stewart for a fifteen minute piece.  And you had all that great exposure on the Today Show, and you’ve been in tons and tons of press.  This is just awesome.  Where do you think technology is taking the ecology evolution.

Jen Boulden:  Well, I mean it’s kind of back to that one wish in terms of education and inspiration.  It can happen at a quicker, much quicker level, right?  Fifteen years ago we couldn’t have told our listeners about The Meatrix.com.  And it’s just, you know, all these sign-ups happening quicker and getting people inspired that much faster.

Meredith Medland:  Now I’ve been subscribing to Ideal Bites.  I’ve been enjoying it.  I have to say that sometimes I read some of the tips and think, “Good God!  There’s so much more to do.”  And so, for myself and my own personal ecology,  I’d love to know a story or two of subscribers who’ve really enjoyed Ideal Bite more than just having it be kind of a daily email that they get in their box.

Jen Boulden:  Yeah.  I mean that’s how I look at it, too, Meredith.  Wow.  Can we ever do all of this?  And that’s really not the point of Ideal Bite.  It’s saying here’s some well-researched information and if you want to try it here are the links.  We’ve made it real easy for you.  And then what happens is you kind of get dated, especially like you and I kind of going around in our green world at the center of the vortex.  But we’ve targeted more kind of mainstream consumers for our subscribers.  And we call them light green or the eco-curious, right?  They’re not already living in yurts and such.  And so…

Meredith Medland:  Organic wine and yoga I believe it says on your web site.

Jen Boulden:  Exactly.  Exactly.  We kind of modeled it after how we live our lives.

Meredith Medland:  Well can you give us a few of those.  You’ve got about ten kind of,  they’re this but not that.  Will you share those?  Because they’re just so fun and sassy.

Jen Boulden:  Yeah.  Well, they drive their SUV to Whole Foods.  They voted for Kerry and Schwarzenegger.  They do drink their bio-dynamic wine after yoga.  And they just look for ways to live richly while saving the world.

Meredith Medland:  Excellent.  Yeah.  All right.  So tell us what’s working about Ideal Bite.  A little sample subscriber story please.

Jen Boulden:  Yeah.  So we did this call out to our subscribers and said, “You know, let us know.  Just let us know how it’s going.  Let us know what you think.  Here’s a place to submit your stories.”  And we were just overwhelmed.  I bookmarked this page because I read it every now and then for inspiration to remember that what we’re doing does matter.  And the one story that stands out to me is this woman who is a recent divorcee and is kind of down on her luck money-wise.  She was working two jobs, has two children and didn’t have any time to spend with her children because if she wasn’t at her jobs she was needing to clean the house.  And we did a tip on non-toxic cleaners.  The best ones and why it’s important.  So she went out and replaced all of her cleaning products that have the bleach and the real harsh chemicals that get into your skin, your eyes.  They can, of course be really dangerous to kids if they ingest it.  And then it goes down into our water table.  So it’s…the vicious cycle continues.  And so she replaced all of her cleaning products and wrote in that now she spends time with her children cleaning.  They have fun talking about, “Hey, doesn’t this smell better?  And, isn’t it fun to be doing something small that can effect a large change?”  And why it’s important to respect Mother Earth.  So I read that story and I kind of got all misty eyed.

Meredith Medland:  I love that.  Well the education of the planet lies in the children that’s for sure.  I mean that’s…

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hmm.

Meredith Medland:  I’d love to see our school systems offering more education around food and cleaning supplies and just those basic…it really just comes down to the basics.

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hmm.

Meredith Medland:  I think that’s just a great place to start with greenness right in the home.  We’re getting ready to come up on the end of our fantastic show, but it’s been awesome speaking with you.  You mentioned that you have a request for Oprah and I’m curious what that is.

Jen Boulden:  [laughs]  Well I think that if she knew about us that we’d be one of her favorite things. 

Meredith Medland:  Why doesn’t she already know about you?

Jen Boulden:  You know, I think she’s a busy woman.

[laugh]

Jen Boulden:  I’m not sure, but I think she’s, you know,  back and forth to Africa and stays a lot.

Meredith Medland:  Well she definitely should.  But in the meantime we’ll make sure that our listeners check out Ideal Bite and I wish you the best of luck with getting access to Oprah’s subscriber base and all her listeners and viewers and all sorts of stuff.  I definitely think that’s a high probability for you and you’ve got a great email marketing strategy. It’s really beautifully executed.  So thank you for that.  Before we go I have just a few more questions for you.

Jen Boulden:  Sure.

Meredith Medland:  I’m wondering why you do what you do and what happened to you?  Whether it was as a child or before you had this experience in the subway.  I mean, clearly you’ve been exposed to something that changed your belief system. 

Jen Boulden:  Yeah.

Meredith Medland:  And I’m wondering if there’s a specific incident or…

Jen Boulden:  There was.

Meredith Medland:  How did you get to be you?

Jen Boulden:  When I was a junior in high school, so I think that was about 1987 or something.  I’m 33 now for those of you who don’t want to do the math.  I picked a topic for my research paper.  It was the destruction of the Brazilian rain forest.  Back then no one really talked about it, and I was on my microfiche, you know, getting all this data together for my report.  And then I realized…

Meredith Medland:  Maybe you’d better explain what microfiche are, maybe for some people.  I remember those days.  That was the way you got information when we were young.

Jen Boulden:  Yes.  Right.  And you didn’t have Google.

[laughs]

Jen Boulden:  I don’t know how we did it, but we survived.

[laughs]

Meredith Medland:  God…

Jen Boulden:  And I had this “Aha” moment where I was thinking wait a second now.  We’re burning the trees, which releases more carbon into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas, which causes global warming.  And then to make it a double whammy, we’ve removed the sink for the carbon because live trees actually breathe carbon in.  Where we breathe carbon out and take in oxygen, they actually breathe in carbon and release oxygen.  So we have such a symbiotic relationship with trees.  And a lot of it was being done for things like ranching and non-sustainable farming.  And it just didn’t make any sense.  So that’s when I was like, whoa.  This is dumb.  This is short-sighted.  Something’s got to be done but I don’t know what.

Meredith Medland:  Very nice.  Thank you.  And I’ve got one more of these personal questions for you.  So you mentioned that there was a time, that I believe has passed, where you were proposing that people buy organic food but you didn’t have the cash at the time because you were investing it in your business and not taking a salary.

Jen Boulden:  Mm Hmm

Meredith Medland:  Has that time passed?

Jen Boulden:  Yes, thank God almighty.

Meredith Medland:  Yes.  Praise God!  So tell us a couple stories about what that was like to have this desire to choose organic food or to participate in activities that you would call more eco-conscious, but not be able to due to restraints, due to financial restraints.  And how did you deal with those?

Jen Boulden:  Yes.  I mean it’s hard because it’s the core of our business and what we espouse everyday.  To do things we’ve tried that we like.  So that’s kind of like your girlfriend at the cocktail party that you think looks savvy and knows her stuff and you are going to ask her opinion on what to do if you don’t want to wear leather but you still want some killer boots.  So what we ended up doing was kind of begging and borrowing from people.  For example, there was a kind of four hundred dollar, like, insta-composter thing.  I’m like, I can’t afford that, you know.  So we’d call them up and say, “Just send it for five days.  We’ll test it out.”  You know we did a lot of that creative stuff.  But it was hard because you do want to be very authentic and you know, walk the talk.  Recently I finally saved up enough money to get rid of my standard car and I bought a diesel car and joined our cooperative and now I fuel it with biodiesel and it’s, you know,…every time I get in I’m like, cool.  This money to buy the car came from something that I’m very proud of. 

Meredith Medland:  Mmmm.  Thank you for that.  Well I’m convinced through personal experience that the world is looking for connection, an intimate connection.  Whether that is saying it straight about what kind of sex lube you’re buying or looking into the eyes of farmers or being part of your cooperative, whatever that is.  It’s a connection between each other.  And so my experience is that if you go to the farmer’s market and you’re down on cash, that the farmers will barter.  Farmers will notice that you want their food and they’ll give you a discount.  A lot of the excuses around not buying, or not taking action that are more eco-savvy based can be solved through your desire.  So listeners, I really encourage you to seek what you want.  Create the outcomes you’re moving toward and make them happen.  And Jen thank you so much for sharing things with us.  Ideal Bite.com.  Make sure you go ahead  and check that out and subscribe to that.  And Jen, last question.  If you could speak to an audience of three million people or more, and ask for something, what would that something be?

Jen Boulden:  That they just think each time before they buy something or take action.  And say,  “Hey.  Do I really need this bottled water or can I refill the thermos that I have?“  Is that four sips of water is going to be worth it sitting in the landfill for a thousand years?  Why don’t I save money and save the earth.

Meredith Medland:  Mmmm.  Thank you.  And I know you know some specifics on water bottles, so why don’t you give us that before you go.

Jen Boulden:  Sure.  A quick statistic is that bottled water actually takes 1.5 million barrels of oil each year to make.  So there’s the kind of oil derivative of the plastic.  There’s the fuel of shipping water around the world, which makes no sense.  And you know here we are in a state where possibly a war is being fought over oil, and we’re drinking bottled water like it’s going out of style.  So even if you don’t…if you like the convenience, fine.  I get it.  But just fill up your existing water bottle and realize you’re saving money.  If you’re not motivated by saving the earth, get motivated for saving money.

Meredith Medland:  [laughs]  All right.  Makes the outcome even better.  Thank you so much.  Remember you can always buy a stainless steel bottle.  Call Arrowhead or another water distributor and get a cooler and fill your bottle up and you’ll be all set.  So, Jen, thank you so much.  It was a pleasure to have you on the show.

Jen Boulden:  Thanks for having me, Meredith. It was great to be here.

Meredith Medland:  You’re welcome.  For text and transcripts of the show, literally what that means is we write out the whole show.  Someone listens to it and writes it all out.  If you want to read it it’s on the website.  It’s personallifemedia.com.  I also have a blog and I do a fair amount of blogging.  It’s short paragraphs to give you guidance:  places to go, different ideas, information that’s been given to me, sort of secrets that I hear at the Lohas Conference that of course are not embargoed or confidential.  But it’s great stuff.  It’s not tips. It’s not really environmental tips, but it’s future forecasting of what I see coming in the future.  So I’d love for you to check that out.  I’ve gotten some great emails from all of you.  Thank you.  You can email me at [email protected]  Those emails do go to me and I do answer the emails.  It’s been great to hear the praise and the excitement and the suggestions for guests.  I’m really excited about our next pod cast, which is going to be with the other podcasters in the universe.  America The Green will be featured.  Their podcasters are coming on the show.  So we’re going to team up and talk about how we can make green grow.  Jen, thanks again.  Idealbite.com.  My name is Meredith Medland and it’s been great having you here on Living Green.

[Music]

Announcer:  Find more great shows like this on PersonalLifeMedia.com

[Music]

Announcer:  And now please enjoy this entertaining clip “Recyclable Comedy” from our sponsor Plenty Magazine – www.plentymag.com.

Man 1:  Welcome to the global warming Winter Olympics.  It’s going to be an exciting season.  Everyone is coming out for this one.

Man 2:  That’s right. Because unlike previous Winter Olympics, the temperature outside for this one is a comfortable seventy degrees.

Man 1:  People are wearing shorts and drinking Pina Coladas.

Man 2:  Hence this year’s theme for the Winter Olympics:  Tropical Pardise. 

Man 1:  A few other changes. For one thing, the giant slalom.

Man 2:  It’s going to be a particularly exciting competition because the last 200 meters of the course don’t actually have snow.

Man 1:  And for anyone skiing after the sun has been up for a couple of hours, the first 200 meters won’t have any either.

Man 2:  Another difference.  This will be the first Winter Olympics biathlon that includes swimming.

Man 1:  And finally.  For the first time in history the Jamaican team is favored to win the bobsled race.

Man 2:  A dream come true.

Man 1:  But first, the ski jump.  Russia’s Dimitry Vassiliev is at the gate.  He’s off.  Down a great slope of recycled tires.  And hits the ramp.

Man 2:  The awesome arc in winter sky.  A flightless bird feeling liberated and triumphal hue.  I stand in awe as

[crash]

Man 1:  oooh…right in the rocks.

Man 2:  Not a bad landing.  The judges have given him a score of “as good as could be expected,” which this year counts as a ten.

Announcer:  For more recyclable comedy go to www.plentymag.com.