UniGuide®: Products & Guides for Sustainable & Vegan Living
Enjoying a lifestyle that’s healthy for you, your peeps, animals, and the planet should be easy and fun. Hooray for Projects of Earth!
UniGuide®: Products & Guides for Sustainable & Vegan Living
Enjoying a lifestyle that’s healthy for you, your peeps, animals, and the planet should be easy and fun. Hooray for Projects of Earth!
Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit UniGuide’s Kickstarter page and for watching our video. My name is Kristen Stanton and I’m the founder and CEO of UniGuide. I'm honored to tell you about our project!
UniGuide’s mission is to make it easy and enjoyable for all kinds of people (like you!) to get information on products and services that are healthy for people, have a minimal negative impact on our natural environment, and do not harm animals. We do this by serving as a guide for consumers and as an ambassador for the thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and established companies who are creating these products and services.
How You Can Help Us Fulfill Our Mission
Your generous donation will enable us to create foundational content to attract more visitors to UniGuide.com.
We are seeking funds in 2017 so we can:
- Create 200 new pieces of original written and video content to inspire our visitors and help them make environmentally sustainable and vegan lifestyle choices. Content will include how-to guides, editorial content, product information and buying guides, vegan recipes, interviews with thought leaders, and more
- Implement technical improvements to our website to improve user experience
We are not asking you to help us build a website; it has already been built! We are asking you to share our vision for what this platform can become, and to help us reach the next level in our growth. As a donor, you have the benefit of seeing a live website that is a hint of what UniGuide will become.
What Inspired UniGuide
Most of us would agree that we are facing some big challenges in our world. In fact, we could be here for days listing them! UniGuide is an endeavor to address a few, which all have something in common: They can be linked to our collective human consumption habits.
These challenges include:
- Lifestyle-related health problems, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and their emotional and financial costs to people, their families and friends, as well as our society
- Destruction of our natural environment and the ecosystems that support life on our planet, such as coral reefs and rainforests
- The extinction of countless wild species with whom we share our planet and the mistreatment of domesticated animals, notably those used in our food supply
The facts and science don’t lie: Those of us living in the developed world need to adjust the way we are consuming or we’ll continue to pay more than necessary for health care, we’ll deal with the worsening impacts of climate change, and we’ll continue to destroy life on this planet instead of nurturing it. You can find detailed statistics related to these challenges further down in this product description, as well as at UniGuide.com. But first – here is where UniGuide comes in with solutions!
UniGuide is about helping people make simple adjustments to our daily consumption habits to make life better for ourselves; for our families, friends, and neighbors; and the other species with whom we share this planet. When written in simple bullet points, solutions seem so simple. We should:
- Eat healthier food and get more exercise.
- Produce and use products that are more environmentally sustainable.
- Cease exploiting natural habitats and animals, and respect their right to exist in the world as we respect our own.
But with such simple solutions, why is that so many of us are making daily consumption decisions that are having negative impacts on our health, on other people, on animals, and our environment? Some might say it’s apathy. But is it really? Most people do care about their health, as well as the health of their family and friends, the welfare of animals, and about maintaining a healthy natural environment. Yet, most of us are so busy getting through our day-to-day lives, and hopefully having some time to enjoy ourselves, that we don’t always make informed or even conscious decisions about what we’re eating, wearing, and buying and what the greater impacts of those decisions might be. UniGuide was created with the belief that most people are open to trying new things, including new foods and products, and even new ways of doing things – it just has to be easy, and even better – fun and enjoyable!
When I personally started to seek out information about making healthier, more sustainable, and compassionate choices, I found I was spending a lot of time doing research. Here I was, a convert who cared deeply about human health, the environment, and animals – and I still found it challenging to change my dietary habits, to know what to wear, and what personal care products to use. I was conducting a lot of Google searches, reading through product details and ingredients labels, looking for certifications and trying to understand what they all meant, and so on. I thought, ‘This is confusing! I wish I had a universal guide to show me the way.’
Let's Accelerate the Groundswell
Today, there is a groundswell of product developers, service providers, thought leaders, and others who are focused on helping people live healthier, more compassionate, and more environmentally sustainable lives. But in my opinion – we need more. The reason I say this is many problems are escalating: health care costs are rising, ecosystems are dying, climate change is underway, species are going extinct, and domesticated animals continue to live lives of emotional distress and physical agony. And this is in no small part because making lifestyle changes can be difficult and inconvenient for people.
Despite these problems, evidence of human ingenuity, compassion, and curiosity abounds. UniGuide is about harnessing that positive energy and helping those product developers, service providers, and thought leaders get the word out faster and to more people.
What UniGuide Is Today
Today, UniGuide is website where you can find:
1. Information about companies and brands that have missions that go beyond just providing great customer service and quality products. Their missions also include values such as safe working conditions and fair wages for workers, a refusal to harm or exploit animals in any way, and accountability for the environmental impact of their products.
2. Innovative eco-friendly and vegan products, such as:
- Sunglasses made with recycled ocean plastic, wood, and bamboo
- Shoes made with recycled plastic bottles and upcycled tire inner tubes
- Dog collars made from hemp and recycled plastic bottles
- Phone cases made from bioplastic, wood, and cork
- Hammocks made from organic cotton
- Cookbooks by innovative vegan chefs
3. Editorial content on materials used in sustainable products, as well as those that are problematic for our environment
4. Stories about nature and personal transformations
5. Curated content by thought leaders in the environmental, human health, and vegan lifestyle movements
6. Vegan recipes
But this is just the beginning…
What UniGuide Will Become with Your Help
While a great deal of time and sweat equity have already gone into getting UniGuide to where it is today, it is merely a skeleton of what we hope it will become. Here are the near-term and long-term visions for UniGuide.
1. Expand the website with a lot more content, including:
- Inspirational stories and videos from the thought leaders who are leading the charge to help people live healthier, more compassionate lives and who are facilitating a cultural shift in our consumption habits
- A bigger selection of innovative products with the stories behind those products and their brands
- How-to guides, editorial content, product information, recipes, and videos that make it easy and fun for people to make healthy lifestyle choices that are also easy on the planet and do not harm animals
2. Build a business that is cash flow positive by the end of 2017 and poised for even bigger growth in 2018.
UniGuide is a social enterprise. Already, we donate at least 1% of revenue from product sales to animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental protection nonprofits. In 2016, we donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). And this year, we have donated to the Center for Biological Diversity, Farm Sanctuary, and PETA. We also do our best to limit our carbon emissions, and when we cannot eliminate them altogether, we pay to offset those emissions through carbon offset programs. In 2016, we did so through CarboTax.org, and we are evaluating options for 2017. But at the end of the day, UniGuide is a business. We believe business can be one of the greatest instruments for innovation and change in our modern world, and while we are idealistic, we recognize that idealism will only get you so far. The goal is to make UniGuide cash flow positive by the end of 2017. This year we want to establish a track record of healthy key performance indicators (KPIs) to get ready for even bigger growth in 2018.
1. Create a state-of-the-art user experience.
By making it easier for consumers to find information on better products and services, we can serve as an accelerator that facilitates a change in consumption habits. Providing an unparalleled user experience for our visitors is essential. For example, we’d like to create:
- Community and forum features where visitors can share ideas, collaborate, and inspire each other
- Easy access to super high-quality research and media, interviews, professional reviews, recommendations, and more
- A mobile app that makes it quick and easy for consumers to find useful information about products and services that matter the most to them
2. Achieve B Corp certification.
One of our goals is to make UniGuide a certified B Corporation. B Corps are companies that are certified by the nonprofit B Lab for maintaining rigorous standards for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Certifications are important because they make it easier for consumers to make decisions about where to spend their dollars, and they go a long way in winning consumer confidence. In this vein, we plan to feature important environmental, worker protection, and animal welfare certifications on UniGuide that are relevant to the products and services we promote.
3. Become a platform that serves as an accelerator for product and service providers in the sustainability and vegan movements.
When we say we have big dreams and ambitious goals for UniGuide, we mean it. The long-term vision for UniGuide is that it will help facilitate a faster cultural shift in human consumption habits that address our three core values, which are to be healthy for people, healthy for animals, and healthy for the natural ecosystems that support life on our planet. We can achieve this by being a platform, or a “hub,” that is a source of easily accessible resources and information.
While the case for minimalism and lessening the number of things we buy is vitally important, we also recognize that people like having nice things. (And we have to admit that people like to shop.) Most of us are working hard to make a better life for our families and ourselves, and this includes owning “stuff.” We also recognize that people enjoy eating delicious, even decadent foods. We think the key is make better products – those made with sustainable materials, like biodegradable plastic instead of petrol-plastic, upcycled materials instead of virgin materials, and so on; and to give people easier access to appealing, plant-based foods. As we serve consumers, we will help foster the development of entrepreneurs by connecting them with a growing audience of curious consumers.
How UniGuide Is Different
UniGuide is not about reinventing the wheel. UniGuide is about taking the existing wheel and making it better, faster, and more energy efficient. This means we will leverage the existing platforms that do a phenomenal job of reaching millions of consumers at scale, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon, with the focus on providing our visitors with best-in-class content, ideas, and information.
In addition to being a content and information company, UniGuide will also be a tech company. As the founder of UniGuide, I will apply everything I know from my career working for fast-growth tech startups to making UniGuide the best tech platform it can be, which is one that delights our visitors and provides a superior user experience.
How UniGuide Makes Money Now and Will in the Future
Today, UniGuide makes a commission (4-10% of the purchase price) when visitors to UniGuide.com click on products and then purchase them from Amazon or Etsy. (You can read more details in how we are compensated in our Disclosures.) For a new Web publisher, affiliate marketing is simply the easiest way to generate revenue with very limited resources. Etsy has broken new ground in the way it has brought cottage industry artisans to the masses, and Amazon is the greatest e-commerce platform the world has ever seen, yet both companies sell a huge variety of products. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to research products presented on these sites and others to make it easier for visitors to UniGuide to find the ones that are sustainable and vegan. We may also present products on UniGuide for which we will not earn a commission simply because it provides a better experience for our visitors. (In fact, Kickstarter is a gold mine for such products!) Eventually, we would like to have direct relationships with select product vendors. We may consider advertising on UniGuide with carefully selected vendors on a very limited basis, as long as it does not interfere with creating a rewarding user experience for our visitors and in providing them with easy access to information that is useful to them.
What Drives Us
There are easier ways to make money. But in the modern world we live in, business as usual doesn’t cut it anymore. We believe that every big challenge presents amazing opportunities, and that human ingenuity has enormous power to come up with practical, creative solutions. Here are a few of the reasons why UniGuide is focused on helping people make sustainable and vegan lifestyle choices. You can find more details on these statistics at UniGuide.com.
People who eat a vegan diet:
- Have a 57% reduced risk of death from heart disease. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
- Have 68% lower rates of diabetes than meat eaters. (Adventist Health Study 2, VeganHealth.org)
- Have lower rates of cancer than meat eaters. For example, vegan women have 34% lower rates of cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)
- Can save the world $1 trillion per year in healthcare costs, unpaid care, and lost working days. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and NBC News)
People who choose eco-friendly and vegan products help keep trash out of the landfill and from polluting our oceans, and lessen the suffering of animals:
- 11 recycled plastic bottles can create 1 pair of shoes. (Adidas)
- 5 recycled plastic bottles can create enough fiberfill for 1 ski jacket. (Recycle Across America)
- 1.5 plastic bottles can be used to create 1 dog collar. (Dublin Dog Co.)
- Purchasing vegan clothing, shoes, and accessories instead of those made from leather could save 1 billion animals annually from enduring a lifetime of suffering. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and PETA)
Why UniGuide Needs Funding from Kickstarter Supporters Like You
To grow quickly, we will most likely seek additional funding in 2018, and we will explore the option of equity crowdfunding. However, right now, building an audience and better understanding what resonates with them is our core focus. We are shooting for reaching a critical mass of visitors – around 100k uniques per month in 2017. The best way to attract visitors to UniGuide will be to provide top notch content and a fantastic user experience. This is where you come in!
How Your Donation Will Be Used
Your donation will play a critical role in helping us reach our 2017 goals.
Immediate Goal: $19,000
We are seeking to raise $19,000 by September 20, 2017. These funds will be used for the following:
1. 200 pieces of original written and/or video content: $12,250 (64% of funds raised)
- Product, brand, and product category research and write-ups
- Editorial content, such as the newest eco-friendly materials in clothing, shoes, and accessories, how environmental certifications work, etc.
- Vegan recipes, including photos, videos, and interviews with innovative vegan chefs
- How-to guides, such as the latest environmentally-friendly cleaning tips, how to transition your family to more plant-based eating, and how you can help endangered species
2. Technical upgrades to UniGuide.com: $2,000 (11% of funds raised)
- A substantial investment has already been made in UniGuide’s technology, including website security, hosting, and speed, but we want to improve upon our speed and performance even further. Notably, we need to do some coding for website speed on mobile phones.
- We would also like to make further improvements to front end features and page layout on our site to improve user experience.
3. The balance of funds: $4,750 will be used for the following:
- Rewards for our donors: $2,850k (15%)
- Kickstarter fees and payment processing: $1,900 (10%)
Stretch Goal 1: $38,000
If we are so fortunate as to double our immediate funding objective of $19,000 and raise a total of $38,000, in addition to the goals outlined above, and assuming 25% will be earmarked for rewards for our donors and Kickstarter fees and payment processing, we will:
- Create wiki-style community sections on UniGuide.com where visitors can share ideas, opinions, and content, such as lifestyle tips and recipes: $2,000.
- Increase the amount of UniGuide-created original content by another 200 pieces to a total of 400: $12,250.
Stretch Goal 2: $76,000
And if the heavens open up and our wonderful donors help us reach our ultimate stretch goal of $76,000, in addition to the above (and assuming the same percentage will be earmarked for donor rewards and fees) we will:
- Build a mobile app to enhance the UniGuide experience for our visitors. While UniGuide.com has already been optimized for mobile phones, a mobile app will provide a quick and easy way for consumers to access content that is important to them: $5,000.
- Expand upon the community features for users on UniGuide.com: $2,500
- Develop more written and video content: $12,250
- Invest in select paid placements, including social media and search engines, as well as giveaways for visitors: $8,750
The Promise: What You Can Expect Once We’re Funded
Even as UniGuide’s Kickstarter project is underway, we will continue to add content to the site and work on providing a great experience for our visitors. Our Kickstarter campaign is relatively short – 28 days – because we are eager to raise funds and reach our 2017 goals. Once funded, we will kick into high gear to send you your rewards and add new content to UniGuide.com. As a donor, you can expect regular email updates from us on our progress and about new features on the site.
August 23 – UniGuide’s Kickstarter project launches! Promotion of UniGuide.com begins!
September 20 – Project closes.
We will order the rewards for our donors.
We will accelerate content production!
Technical upgrades to the site begins.
October 17–24– We hope to ship rewards to our donors.
October 31 – We will have at least 67 new content pieces live on UniGuide.com.
November 30 – We will have at least 134 new content pieces live on UniGuide.com.
December 31 – We will have reached our goal of 200 new pieces of content on UniGuide.com!
Rewards to Show Our Gratitude for Your Support
Like Kickstarter itself, UniGuide supports new, innovative products, but we do not produce them ourselves. By Kickstarter’s rules, we could not provide as rewards the products we promote on UniGuide unless they were in some way co-created by us. Thus, our rewards for you are UniGuide-branded promotional items, which are both eco-friendly and vegan!
Once we are successfully funded, we will reach out to you to get your color preference, size, and mailing address for your rewards. We will do our best to send you your rewards as quickly as possible, but please keep in mind that it may take a couple months to receive your reward because of vendor turnaround and shipping times.
In addition to receiving physical rewards, as a donor, you will also receive:
Your name, or the name of someone to whom you’d like to dedicate your donation, on the UniGuide Gratitude Wall. The Gratitude Wall is a unique page on UniGuide.com that will be exclusively dedicated to our Kickstarter supporters. It will be accessible from the very top menu on our site.
The opportunity to help a fledgling enterprise that wants to help the world be healthier, kinder, and happier to get off the ground! We promise to work hard and to work even smarter to fulfill our mission.
- Our unflinching commitment to do everything within our power to make UniGuide a raging success.
Here Is Our Rewards Gallery:
(Please use your imagination here as these are just mock ups; the final products will be very much like these, but could be slightly different.)
Recycled and Recyclable UniGuide People Planet Animals Frisbee Disc
UniGuide People Planet Animals Grocery Tote Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
UniGuide People Planet Animals Organic Cotton Baseball Cap in Your Choice of Navy Blue or Black
UniGuide People Planet Animals Organic Cotton T-Shirt in Women's and Men's Styles in Your Choice of Navy Blue or Black
UniGuide People Planet Animals Klean Kanteen® Co-Branded 20oz. Vacuum-Insulated Tumbler in Matte Black
We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks in advance for your generous support!
Risks and challenges
As with many early-stage companies, UniGuide’s biggest current challenge is adequate cash flow to support our growth. Your generous support will go a long way in helping us address this challenge.
If we are adequately funded, the risk of technical problems with our website goes down because we can pay for experienced professionals to keep things running. UniGuide’s success is dependent on website uptime, speed, and performance.
While competition should always be on the mind of any business person, we are more focused on creating a superior experience for our visitors and on the big challenges we are trying to address. There will always be competitors, but we are firm believers that all boats rise with the same tide and that we stand to benefit as more consumers, celebrities, businesses, organizations, and others promote sustainable and vegan lifestyle choices.
Another risk we face is tied to the fact that we are still a small, young company. Conducting detailed audits of all the vendors and products we promote on UniGuide is dependent on our available resources. We rely on our own research, on certifications, the vendors themselves, and our users to help us ensure that products promoted on UnGuide fall within the parameters of being either sustainable or vegan or both.
And finally, just as UniGuide is a new, young company, so are the majority of product creators that we promote on our site. When dealing with small, younger vendors, the risk is greater that the vendor will not be able to deliver consistently high-quality products and keep pace with consumer demand. To date, we have had to remove one vendor from UniGuide that could not deliver products to our visitors in a timely manner and one that we learned ships its products in non-vegan leather cases.
Every organization will face hurdles. We are intent on facing every one head on and succeeding despite them!
Thank you again for believing in us and our mission!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)