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Noelle McCarthy and Anne Damphousse, Virescent Co-Founders, are long time friends. Their individual inspirations, and their combined interests and passions led to Virescent and their eco-friendly products that blend style, sustainability and social responsibility in the fundraising marketplace.

What inspired you to start Virescent? What's the back story?
Noelle's children and the environmentally conscious school that they attend initially inspired her. She would always forget to bring a reusable bag to the grocery store and the kids would be so disappointed. Her oldest daughter would spout off how bad plastic is for the environment — from killing sea life in oceans to landfills. She was also a mom that wanted to return to the work force but not back to the corporate world where she came from. She threw her energies into volunteering and fundraising and couldn't believe what communities were asking kids to sell to make money for educational purposes.

Around that same time, Anne's graphic design business was in its 18th year, and she was looking for a new challenge and ways to feed her passion for art and design. Inspired by indie designers like Angela Adams and Lotta Jansdotter, Anne started working on some textile designs initially hoping to create a line of kitchen towels. Knowing that Noelle was looking for a new business challenge, Anne sent the designs to her and asked for help exploring sustainable fabrics. The designs were beautiful and the rest is history.

Why are you committed to making the bags "grown, woven and sewn in the USA"?
We spent our first year pricing and trying to source fabric and product overseas. It was a struggle and it revealed the fact that we knew little about what was happening overseas in those facilities. Additionally, there wasn't enough information about the woven and non-woven polypropylene material that many reusable shopping bags are made with.

Once we made the decision to work with organic and recycled cottons made in the usa, we felt that our product offering was a socially responsible solution with short and long term advantages for schools, communities, and the environment.

We are committed to continue manufacturing in the US as long as it remains competitive. We find that supporters are willing to pay a small premium for a high quality, US-made product but we know there are limits.

Are there any future plans for Virescent that you can share?
On the design and product side, you'll see some new vibrant Shoppers! Our most popular designs have lots of color so we are continuing in that direction. We will continue to expand our line of sport sacks as these bags are washable — perfect for kids and sports. And we are also considering a few more styles to expand our product line—but can't say what those are yet!

We are also anticipating that our custom design business will continue to grow. Schools and organizations want to brand or design their own eco-friendly totes at low minimums. It's a niche we didn't expect but certainly embrace.

Most importantly, we are looking at 2011 to build key partnerships with companies that share our goals to benefit schools, communities and the environment.
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Virescent Co-Founders Noelle McCarthy
and Anne Damphousse.
 
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Contact us. Sales@virescentshopper.com | 917.903.1669 | Virescent, 88 East Main Street , Suite 456, Mendham, NJ 07945