Zola GoodsBy Jenn Ballentine

It all began in the mid-1940’s with Brownie Wise, a self-made woman, who saved Tupperware products from disintegrating on the shelf. Because she was the creator of the widely successful home Tupperware party, Wise’s legacy lives on in the many home parties now held today.

Following the “green” trend, the newest home party idea features eco-friendly products and was created by yet another self-starter, Beth Remmes.  Remmes, a resident of Lilburn and mother of two young children, founded Zola Goods in 2007 with the idea that she could help people learn about the simple ways they can make changes to improve their lives and the environment.

Meaning “ piece of earth,” Zola is committed to offering solutions to environmental challenges and empowering those who want to make a difference in their community. To this end, Remmes has engaged 27 coordinators in 15 states to host home parties where they educate guests about the environment and offer them an opportunity to purchase environmentally friendly products from socially responsible companies.

Unlike other direct sales companies, Zola Goods is single level and there are no recruiting or sales requirements. Zola does not manufacture the products itself, but rather supports green businesses.  For Remmes, the green movement is “unilateral; not a hierarchy. I don’t think we can be green if there’s pressure to sell,” she said.

Instead, Remmes is motivated by her desire to live in a greener world and be a good example to her children and others. “I was always interested in environmental issues, but I felt disempowered to do anything about it. When I realized that one person could make a huge difference just by changing out light bulbs, for example, I knew I had to do something about it. The changes are often easy to make; it’s just that people don’t have the knowledge or the time to research it. So I do it for them,” she said.

Remmes attends green conferences and events around Atlanta and the country, gathering more information on new products and green companies. She partners with Southeast Green, a local online clearinghouse for all things green – events, businesses, communities and municipalities. Sandra Cummins, the founder of Southeast Green, likes the idea of home parties that sell eco-friendly products. “It’s nice to have products that are made from recycled materials,” she said.

Reay Schloss, a puppeteer at the Center for Puppetry Arts, agrees. Schloss became a Zola Goods coordinator a year ago with the idea of bringing the company’s affordable products and educational messages to the arts community. “Zola’s whole mission is to bring awareness to people. The selling of goods is secondary. I want to make environmental products more accessible to people and help them figure out what they can do to live healthier,” said Schloss.

Zola offers a variety of products including reusable water bottles and bags, green cleaning products, compact fluorescent light bulbs, recycled gift wrap and bags and non-toxic candles. For more information on Zola’s products or how to host a party or become a coordinator, see www.zolagoods.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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