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From hurricane-ravaged to winter-hardened, New York City has experienced some of the worst climate change effects in recent years. We’ve seen flooded subway tunnels, shuttered schools and a completely dark (and totally eerie) Lower Manhattan.  Despite its status as the Greatest City in the World (that's right, we said it) at the end of the day NYC is still just another island susceptible to whatever changes in ocean levels or storm patterns that come to pass.

Meanwhile, the city continues to churn out motivated entrepreneurs looking to make a mark and showcase their diverse set of skills.  We found 3 upstarts hellbent on delivering products as good-looking as they are good for the environment. We also secured an exclusive interview with Brooklyn Brewery to learn how they’ve made their brewing process sustainable and scalable. Every little bit helps and we’re proud to call these NYC businesses neighbors.

NYC Change Makers

Meet three makers who are changing sustainability in NYC.

Caru Skincare

Dominique Caron
Astoria, Queens

Your ultra smart packaging contains seeds that can actually be replanted, any suggestions on where to plant them in the concrete jungle that is NYC?

Unless you are one of the lucky ones with a backyard, you have one of two options in the city. The first is to plant the soap labels in a pot on a windowsill. If you want to take this approach, I highly recommend sprouting the paper in water before planting it in soil. The second option is to make seed bombs out the paper (little balls filled with seeds). Since the paper already contains the seeds, you just need to soak the paper in water to soften it, and then mold the pulp into little balls (or whatever shape you want). Then go ahead and beautify your city!

We here at Purible admittedly have a bit of a Brooklyn bias - give us your best pitch trumpeting the virtues of Queens.

I used to live in Brooklyn and adored it. I've been in Astoria, Queens for about 3 years now and I just love it—it’s quiet, clean, and has tree-lined streets. The food selection is AMAZING. Queens is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world, so you can find just about any cuisine you can think of, and usually at an affordable price. Plus, the neighborhood here feels like an old fashioned neighborhood, if that makes sense. I actually know my neighbors and I am on a first name basis with my postman!

You take great care in your selection of every Caru ingredient. Talk about your process for maintaining such high standards and how you find and source these diverse ingredients from all over the world.

Finding my ingredients can be really challenging. Sometimes I have a great idea for a product, but I just can't find a reliable source for the raw ingredients that I want to use. There is a lot of secrecy when it comes to where people source their raw materials, so dealing with distributors can sometimes be really frustrating. They often won't tell you where the product is from or when it was made. This is a huge issue when making sustainable, organic, and 100% natural products. I need to know the origin, year and month of production, and all my raw ingredients need to come with paperwork that proves their certification but also has information about the quality and chemical composition. So I sometimes create products based on where I can source ingredients. If I can't buy directly from a farm or from a small distributor that buys directly from the farmer, I do sometimes use larger distributors, but only the ones that provide me with the appropriate paperwork and adequate transparency to ensure that the product is fresh and sustainably produced.

Osborn Footwear

Aaron and Carla Osborn
Brooklyn, New York

We see elements of many different styles, both old and new, in your footwear. What are some of the influences behind the unique, vibrant look of every Osborn shoe?

We collaborate with teams of traditional weavers, embroiderers, block printers and dyers in the handcrafting of custom textiles, so our weavings and prints really become the voice of the product. Because that is the case, we try and keep our shapes on the simple, more classic side. We also have an ongoing up-cycled collection, so if we see a vintage fabric we like, we have no problem making it into a great pair of shoes.

Your Osborn shoe of choice for a business meeting? For a boozy night out on the town? For a lazy Sunday brunch?

Our oxfords are a great choice to make a business meeting that much more fun, dance floor chukkas are perfect for a night out and sweet flats that come off in a flash for a lazy brunch.

What fashion trends shoe-wise do see gaining steam at the moment?

Shoes that are comfortable, or at least attempt to be. We are relieved that people’s feet will be less achy.

What are your favorite shoe stores in NYC?

Local to us, Shoe Market on North 6th. They not only always welcome our dog CC to shop with us, but they also give her a biscuit.

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. How do you respond?

We are not going to argue with Sinatra.

Well Rounded Sound

Jerry Cmehil
New York, New York

What is your favorite music venue in NYC and why?

This is New York - mecca of music! I definitively have more than one. Two of my favorite venues closed down: Manny's Car Wash on the Upper East Side and CBGB's in the East Village.  However one of my remaining faves is better than ever: Village Vanguard in the West Village. This small, intimate venue has seen some of the best jazz musicians ever to walk the planet. It might be the oldest jazz club in New York and it is always a treat. I'm always taking my visiting friends over there.

Is the noisiness of NYC distracting or can you actually draw inspiration from the cacophony of urban sound?

I guess I got used to the sounds of New York since I've lived here for the past 23 years. I always enjoy the little intermissions during the day that are provided by the street and subway musicians. It is very energizing.

Your speakers are powerful and crisp. How does this affect your upper east side neighbors?

So far we are friends. The first speakers I built in New York 22 years ago did not work well with my neighbors, as they had 12 inch woofers. WRS speakers have very good detail: You simply don't have to play them that loud to appreciate the music [Ed note: we've heard them, and we concur]. 

As an expert of acoustics and sound, what qualities do you listen for in a speaker? How do you achieve these qualities in WRS speakers?

See through transparency, musicality and texture of the instruments. It is important that particular instruments have the tonality and range of the live [performance.]  Dynamics and transients are extremely important, especially today when the music is flattened by compression and recording techniques. We respect and use natural materials that enhance sound quality and we use the very finest components/drivers in our products. Our design ethos is very simple: achieve the purest music reproduction possible.