At a time when people are struggling with economic strains and trying to find ways to save their money, Renee Sweany, the owner of Green Indy, launched her first Green Savings Indy coupon book in Indianapolis on Earth Day 2009.
This Green Savings Indy coupon book is an annual book that contains tips on living healthy and green, along with 69 coupons from 45 advertisers. All products in the book are environmentally friendly, and the discounts will be valid until April 20, 2010.
"When I started working on the book, my first goal was to provide an outlet for green businesses to promote their businesses," Sweany said. "Then after the book was created, my main mission is to spread the word about what's going on in the community. I want people to know that there are a lot of great people doing green things."
Sweany said her inspiration came from a Chicago green coupon book that she got from a friend during her visit there last December.
"Our local green businesses were growing tremendously in the past year," she said. "People are getting to care more about the environment, and because of the economy, people are getting to be more interested in coupons, so I thought Indianapolis might be ready for it."
According to Sweany, she made 5,000 green coupon books this year and the sales have been slow but steady. Each coupon book costs $15 and contains more than $800 in coupons and discounts. All green books are available at the Green Savings Indy Web site (www.greensavingsindy.com) as well as in many retailers.
Sweany also mentioned that she is building up a page of her Web site for coupons and discounts that she missed getting in the book. Everyone can visit and get those special web offers.
"I made 5,000 copies because I know there are more than 5,000 people in this town that are interested in this book. I'm confident," she said. "Right now, most of advertisers are just really excited. The energy and excitement were just so positive."
According to Sweany, she will donate a portion of the profits to local non-profit organizations that are helping Indianapolis to be greener. The organizations that she is working with now include Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Indianapolis Recycling Coalition and Hoosier Environmental Council. She also expressed her willingness to hear from other organizations and more opportunities.
Sweany said she is excited to start working on next year's book.
"I think the book is going to be twice the size next year. Since the book has been printed, I've already met so many people that think it's a great idea and are interested in being part of it," she said.
Sweany said the biggest challenge for her is the limitation of time.
"There is so much that can be done around this book concept, so I have to be selective about how to use my time," she said.
Apart from the Green Savings Indy project, Sweany has been doing another green project, Green Piece Indy, since January 2008. Besides that, she is now working on a couple of new projects: starting a coupon book in Bloomington and beginning a green fundraising program for schools, churches and other nonprofits in Indiana.
"To me, I feel like I'm educating and spreading awareness about green business," Sweany said. "I want to let people know that there are green options right here in Indianapolis."