by Tamanna Mohapatra
If you’re an eco-minded entrepreneur looking for the next great “green” idea, you may take some inspiration from a trio of local small businesses that hold sustainable values at their core. Starting a business, green or otherwise, has rewards and challenges. Fortunately, there are resources available through New York State, and inspiration from these local business owners that can help in the pursuit of a green dream.
With a name inspired by the intersection of the two streets on which it’s located in Ridgewood, Queens, Saint Seneca is a lovely curio store that sells local artisan goods. Ridgewood local Yuka Anziano founded the business in the summer of 2015, with money inherited from her father. It was a gamble to open an artsy, though reasonably priced, home and lifestyle store amidst the dollar stores and local deli, but it’s a risk that has paid off.
Anziano called on a talented pool of friends in the area to design the logo, hand paint the sign, and build the displays, opening the store in just four months. She believes that supporting small makers and designers is better for the community and believes that operating in New York provides a huge advantage. “There is endless talent here,” she said. “Even within my own neighborhood of Ridgewood, I have makers just a few blocks away. I have lived here for over a decade and it has become quite the creative hot-bed.”
In terms of sustainability, Anziano has found a way to practice the 3Ps – people, planet and profit – by supporting local, socially responsible makers. Her biggest jewelry supplier works with communities in Kenya to bring social and economic change to the Maasai community in Amboseli.
Saint Seneca is presently doing well, but like all new businesses, running out of money was an initial concern. According to Anziano, “If you truly love what you do, you will find a way to push through your fears and not be afraid to fail.” She went on to say that the amount of time dedicated to a new and growing business makes it hard initially to set aside time for family and friends. “You must have a lot of energy and laser focus if you want to be successful.” But she added, “In my opinion, true success is measured by how happy you are.”