the story

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The Story

  • This isn't your typical "green founder story" because our founder wasn't all that green.
  • BethAnn Lederer, like many people, enjoyed the hunter-gathering of our time, i.e., shopping. She thought the hunt was fun, it was a great way to spend time with friends, and sometimes it felt downright therapeutic.
  • But then she got pregnant with her daughter. 
  • No, she wasn't sick. Quite the opposite; she was gearing up to go shopping for everything to make an awesome nursery.
  • But then something happened. Something that stopped her dead in her tracks.
  • It started from reading an article about some cribs and changing tables making babies sick. From what was being used to make them. Her penchant for research kicked in and before long she was finding the sad stories behind many of the things she was thinking about buying (and also about stuff she had already bought for her home. Toxic chemicals were being used to make carpet, rugs, sofas, the list went on and on... It was a major YUCK moment. Shopping became exponentially less fun after that. It was a rare salesperson who could tell her how the things they were selling were being made.
  • And it was weird to thinking consumer product companies thought it was okay to make their products with materials that either harmed people or harmed the environment or both.
  • All the savvy marketing and upscale advertising in the world couldn't change this sad truth. 
  • So she started channeling her strong impulses for shopping into research to see if she could find companies that were making things in better ways. And she discovered all kinds of product companies, along with what she sees as the unsung heroes who run them, who are making consumer products in (better) ways that protect people and honor the planet.
  • It became her mission to introduce and connect people with these companies and their products.
  • workingwonders was born in 2006 out of that mission. The company launched its first e-commerce website to showcase these better product vendors and their wares in September 2008.
  • Lederer has realized since then that unfortunately, green e-commerce by itself will never be enough to provide people with the widespread easy access they want, and need, to adopt sustainable homes and lifestyles.
  • So workingwonders ultimate mission is to build the first sustainable department store. We've named that mission, and our blog, Greeningdales. 
  • Greeningdales is designed to be more than a store for green products; it will be the hub and messaging center for a business revolution. You can think of it as a bridge to a place that will present a new vision for a better future – one where the role of retail is to present the things we need to create healthy sustainable good lives – and a sustainable planet. 
  • Lederer sums it up by saying, "for most, shopping is a part of life, and much of it involves buying what we want and need to feather our nests. I believe we'll get a lot farther faster if we harness the incredible power of retail for good. That translates into funding the development of a few new home retail brands – stores that operate with new better business models that exclusively carry sustainable products. Greeningdales is the perfect place to start."
  • workingwonders would like to thank you for any support you provide towards putting Greeningdales on the map. It's mere existence in the 3D world will catalyze a sea change by showing, as opposed to just talking about, the role of retail in a sustainable world.  cheers!
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BethAnn Lederer, LEED AP — Founder & CEO

 

Named one of the country's Top 10 Most Sustainable CEOs by Triple Pundit, BethAnn turned a career in healthcare into a forward-thinking business after she embarked on an eco-friendly renovation of her own home. Since founding WorkingWonders in 2006, BethAnn's mission has been to connect the dots of retail culture and consumerism with those of health and sustainability. Her product sourcing and design work is specifically targeted at improving the quality of life and reducing negative human-induced impacts on the environment. Today she holds the vision for a flagship WorkingWonders destination—Greeningdales, the ultimate shopping experience for creating sustainable American homes and lifestyles.

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Dominic A. Lucas — Director of Operations

 

With tasks ranging from web design, marketing, and brand strategy, Dominic pulls together the business, creative, and technical aspects of WorkingWonders. A writer and graphic artist by trade, he's a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College with a double-major in Philosophy and Studio Art, and formerly worked in the legal profession before transitioning full-time into the technical arts. The sustainability initiatives of WorkingWonders fit with his interest in social reform, pushing him to focus on how better marketplace choices can elevate the American standard of living. Dominic is currently a writer and producer for a video production company in Baltimore.

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Larry D. Lee — Lead Technical Architect

 

An entrepreneur in his own right, Larry is the founder of Parallel Threads, LLC, and the creator of Milieu, a social networking app for the Android platform that connects people based on their physical proximity to one another. A graduate of Goucher College with a double-major in English and Computer Science, Larry has helped develop the WorkingWonders technical platform in various incarnations, serving as the lead programmer and architect while playing a role as a key strategist for the company. Larry is a full-time programmer at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs, and also a talented artist specializing in drawing and painting.

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Casey Willson — Lead Business Consultant

 

With a history of fostering successful business development, Casey has been a trusted resource and influential advocate for WorkingWonders. His work includes numerous sustainability and revitalization programs, including SustainableMaryland.com, and Governor O'Malley's OneMaryland Vision Sustainability Policy Advisory Group. In the private sector, Casey has been a part of successful retail development projects through his consulting firm, The Willson Company, winning several awards from the International Council of Shopping Centers. He served as VP of Human Resources for BikesUSA, and was privileged to be COO of the Aga Khan Foundation. Today, Casey heads a business and technology development program through the University of Maryland, College Park.

In the Media:

 

Since 2006, workingwonders has been recognized as a national leader in responsible online shopping: Our Press