Sheeco is a female-owned sustainability consulting company that helps people and businesses green up their homes and events based in our home town of Nashville. We teamed up to put on our first groundbreaking in Jackson, TN. They thought through every aspect of the event, from waste management to how we were going to power up the whole thing in the middle of a field. We took a minute to sit down ahead of the groundbreaking event to talk with the founders, Nicole and Diana, about their commitment to sustainability.
1. What is Sheeco? And why did you start this company now?
Diana: Sheeco is a sustainability consulting firm helping people make sustainable decisions for their events, offices, and more. Nicole and I worked together in the nonprofit sector and wanted to find a way to combine our experience and passion to make an even bigger impact. We both hold advanced degrees in sustainability and have years of experience in sustainability education and event management. Sheeco helps you not only recycle better but also order better products, rescue food waste, offset carbon emissions, connect authentically with the community, and more.
These past few years adjusting to life in a pandemic, surviving another Tennessee tornado, and tremendous flooding have provided a new perspective and a lot of time to consider how our careers can best support the community and help mitigate climate change, pollution, and environmental racism. It’s always been important to educate people about sustainability, but we wanted to do more. We know it can be hard to just get it done. How can Nashville celebrate music, the arts, and one another, in a way that protects the planet and people? We founded Sheeco this year because it was time to take our passions, knowledge, and talent and help people not only divert waste, but see how a holistic, equitable sustainable approach also improves the lives of everyone in our city and can be a great selling point!
2. How did you first get involved with Clearloop and why?
Nicole: Laura actually reached out to me via LinkedIn as she was working on Clearloop in the middle of the pandemic as a fairly new Nashville resident in the Summer of 2020. She wanted to learn more about the landscape of sustainability in Nashville and hear about the different projects I was working on at the time. We eventually decided to put on our masks and take a long walk around Radnor Lake where we really bonded as women and friends. It’s been great to start a business with an amazing support system of other incredible women in this industry, like Laura.
Once we launched Sheeco, she approached us about planning the groundbreaking. While Sheeco’s main focus is not event planning, we made an exception in this case because of how important this event is. We knew the groundbreaking had to be as sustainable as possible to stay true to Clearloop’s mission so it was the perfect opportunity to partner.
3. How did your expertise in sustainable event planning help make our groundbreaking possible? What are some of the swaps you made to ensure the groundbreaking was as low impact as possible?
Diana: This event was so much fun to plan! Bringing sustainability to every aspect of an event already focusing on renewable energy, community support, and mitigating climate change was the best full-circle experience. A groundbreaking event is unique in that we had a blank canvas to work with and brought in each and every piece. So, we had a great opportunity to consider the sustainability of all components. Most importantly, we sourced a mobile solar generator from Footprint Project so that there were no fossil fuel emissions from using the speaker system and lighting. Also, all of the materials we sourced for the event including the virtual reality goggles and signage are either recyclable, compostable, or reusable, leaving us with zero waste to landfill.
Nicole: I completely agree! We have loved working with Clearloop and are grateful that they understand the importance of investing in sustainability. Making sustainable swaps doesn’t always save money, but business has to be about doing the right thing over saving a couple dollars and the Clearloop team has never questioned this.
We have been very intentional about every vendor we chose to participate in this event. We sourced several vendors from Jackson & Memphis to support the local community. A few items are coming from Nashville, but again we are working with small businesses who we trust and who prioritize sustainability.
4. What is your favorite product that you helped source for the groundbreaking event?
Nicole: Our favorite part of this event is definitely the Kona Ice truck! Clearloop wanted this event to be a fun, end of summer, ice cream social-type event. When we spoke to Kona, they told us that the truck is actually solar-powered! It was the perfect match and I’m so excited about it.
5. What do you hope the Jackson community and the state of Tennessee will gain from the groundbreaking event and the installation of new solar capacity overall?
Nicole: We hope that the Jackson community gets excited about renewable energy! There are so many benefits to clean energy, including job creation, economic growth, and overall community health. We hope that this event helps educate people about the importance of this investment and that others in the state realize that Tennessee has the potential to be a green state.