As a harmonica player with a band that plays local, environmentally friendly benefits, along with having run a lip-balm business for more than 10 years, Steve Shriver knows something about chapped lips. In addition to lip lube, Shriver puts his passion into eco-friendly projects.
In 2007, he began the Organic Endurathon, running marathon distances every day while stopping at schools and businesses to promote organic education. His company sponsors Team Eco Lips, a group of sports and outdoor enthusiasts, in an attempt to excite younger people about the organic mission.
Eco Lips is solar powered and expects to be completely off the grid by the end of 2008. Shriver initiated the project by working through the Iowa Renewable Energy Association, an initiative that turned into one of Iowa's largest solar-power projects, gaining immediate support from the state and the local energy department.
Shriver is also a supporter of the arts and was a founding board member of New Bohemia, an organization dedicated to building an arts and cultural district in Cedar Rapids. He spearheaded a project called Art Bikes—a kid-friendly bike ride from Eco Lips to an environmental fair at an outdoor center. He is also a consultant for the first "green"house in Cedar Rapids and part owner of Iowa-based Be Green Carpet Clean.
What are the biggest challenges facing the naturals industry? One of the biggest things I focus on is the whole organic versus natural consumer perception. That's one of our biggest industry challenges.
What would you like to see change in the naturals industry in the next five years? More organic education. I'd like to see the momentum stay strong with organic regulations. I fear that as the bigger companies start to sink their teeth into the industry, they'll lobby for looser regulations, which will ultimately hurt the whole industry.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? I'm not sure there's any industry out there that has the amount of good people working for good causes [as the naturals industry].
What's the one natural product you can't live without? Larabars. I munch on those things all the time. I love them.
What keeps you going on a tough day? I try to start every day out with a really hardcore workout and get all my adrenalin out early in the day, so that the things that would normally stress me out don't seem like such a big deal. Also, in our new catalog I put a picture of my wife and kids. So, occasionally I whip that out and see my family smiling at me.
Got any tattoos? I do—Buddha's eyes. After a trip to Nepal and a fairly spiritual experience, I got the eyes of Buddha on my upper right shoulder.
If Ben & Jerry's named a flavor after you, what would it be? Sweet and Sour Organic Power.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 34