It was during the summer of 2009 that I made a sketch, the first step on a long road that led to Blue Patch: an online marketplace for the UK’s small and sustainable businesses. Many have contributed to Blue Patch. There’s a bee-like quality to our work – it’s the product of a true ‘hive brain’. The result, we hope, is a promising new community business – one with a difference.
How Blue Patch is funded:
It’s simple. When we discover a business that meets our criteria, we invite them to become members. Membership dues ‘crowd-fund’ core costs like the website and a marketing budget. Fast forward to 2016, Blue Patch is a flourishing community of over 300 members – please look for yourself.
Blue Patch – The marketplace:
Blue Patch makes it easy for customers to find good quality, local and sustainable products from the British Isles.
We’re celebrating small businesses (and some fairly large ones too) who design, manufacture and make to an exceptional standard. Our members are mindful of their supply chain, foster the circular economy and adhere to ethical employment -they may use seasonal ingredients, organic fabrics, sustainable timber, offer apprenticeships or ethical banking – all these things revolve around the Blue Patch community. We’ve solitary weavers from the Cumbrian Hills to ‘state of the art’ green technology – Blue Patch is brimming with diverse and ambitious businesses – it’s quite simply ‘the best we can do’.
Customers can browse products on the website and easily make direct contact with members. For those interested in low carbon miles, the simple act of adding their postcode to the search box will produce their nearest local supplier. We put no wall between our members and customers and would love them to get to know each other.
Blue Patch – The new business ecosystem:
There is a second layer to this Blue Patch cake – We want the local green economy to burst into life AND we want to set in motion our new business model, one that enables money to flow in a useful way. We’re working round-the-clock to build our Blue Patch business and communicate what motivates us, and it’s not what people are used to.
We’d love to reach that point where Blue Patch, with no shareholders to pay, is big enough to generate a surplus income, beyond what’s needed to promote our member businesses – in other words, money left over! The mission is to invest 100% of our surplus income into cooperatively owned renewable energy companies.
Shopping V climate?
The subject of climate change is by turn tedious, annoying or frightening. Like a nervous reaction, we turn away, climate change is simply too big and let’s face it, how many people are prepared to give up flying? Solutions that deny freedom and pleasure are not readily adopted by the majority and governments may have to defer to the status quo.
Blue Patch is about the pleasure of shopping. The Blue Patch marketplace is a fledgling commercial business, it’s aim is to eventually make a profit. The surplus profit – 100% of it after we’ve served our Blue Patch members, paid UK tax and core costs (Blue Patch wages are capped at the national average) will be used to purchase shares in cooperatively owned renewable energy companies – every penny Blue Patch makes in profit will help make fossil fuel a thing of the past.
Notes on Sustainability:
After conversing with many, many businesses, we understand that sustainability is about frame of mind. A business may be an established local manufacturer providing employment, use biodegradable packaging or organic fabrics, they could have installed solar panels on their factory roof or taken on an apprentice. Every single step forward is cause for celebration. Businesses can have a positive impact on the environment and local communities, and let’s face it, that positive feeling is in short supply just now. Our Blue Patch members take different routes towards sustainability and they do so because their communities, the natural world and their children are counting on them – and us – to combine our best intentions and every bit of energy and deliver a low carbon economy for the next generation.
To round it off
Our mission is to celebrate the achievements of our members – they are great, every one of them and we’re so proud to have them on Blue Patch. Our beneficiaries are our members, their communities and the natural world – the planet actually. Please help Blue Patch to scale up this positive new model. Buy from Blue Patch members when you can and encourage them – they may not deliver the product 2 hours later by drone but it could be delivered by a local person. Who knows, you may even know them.
We recently made a podcast about the Blue Patch model (with the help of Luke from LimaCharlie.TV). Take a listen.
Sign up for the newsletter. Please contact Blue Patch Team for more information on Membership. Blue Patch is a social enterprise.
Our Blue Patch infographic was created by Verynice a design consultancy based in LA who ‘give half’ a pro-bono programme for social enterprise and other not-for-profit organisations.