Startup Spotlight: The Green Line

Feb 5, 2018

Startup Spotlight: The Green Line

Feb 5, 2018

Meet Sarah Bates, founder & CEO of The Green Line, an online marketplace that offers a curated selection of brands for healthy, environmental and cause-based products.

GH: What is The Green Line?

The Green Line is  an online marketplace that offers a curated selection of brands for healthy, environmental and cause-based products. We help people easily search for and discover everyday products that align with specific causes, certifications and values that are important to them.

It’s no secret that people are interested in living more mindfully — shifting the way they think about their health and the role they play in the health of the planet. From Millennials to Boomers, urban to rural, single to married-with-children, this new lifestyle places value on quality products that put purpose first. This new mindset seeks more options, quality without compromise, and zero complications.

GH: What was your Eureka moment: How did The Green Line get started?

A short while back, I was returning home from a class in sustainability. Sitting on the Green Line train in Boston, I was thinking about my best friend’s search for natural healthy products for her family. Every week, this friend spent countless hours browsing the Internet-saving links to different websites, blogs, and chat rooms. Finding it a challenge to locate the brands she wanted, discover new brands, compile information, and compare product specs, her friend’s online shopping experience itself seemed unsustainable.

Why was there no one central hub that empowered people to shop exclusively toward a healthier lifestyle, filtering their purchases based on values, missions, and certifications that were important to them, and their families? We created The Green Line Market because we believe in empowering people to make a personal and global impact by putting natural, environmentally-friendly, and cause-focused brands at the forefront of their everyday shopping experiences.

GH: How did you build/ are you thinking about building your your team?

We started with a few friends part time on weekends that were passionate about our mission. Going through the MassChallenge program in Boston this summer really helped us to expand out network and find a few key team members and partnerships with organizations that align with our values.  Nowadays, we are a team of 6 core members and expanding. We have been blessed by meeting mentors and people genuinely interested in our  mission that have helped us to expand our team.

GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?

Our mission is to offer a transparent and customized shopping experience that makes it easier to live healthier and reduce the impact of consumerism. We are building a service that will empower people to easily choose products that help them live in a healthy and sustainable way through big data and personalization. We really want to help people buy and sort products based on their brands stories, and people interests based on their lifestyle. This mission has empowered us to live healthier ourselves. We all are buying healthier products and feed from each other’s knowledge and research. As a team, we are diverse and multicultural. We believe that our cultural differences are a strength to the company and drives more innovative ideas.

GH: What did you learn from your first customers?

We’ve very recently launched and have a learned a lot about our customers and their preferences. Some assumptions we had weren’t accurate. We learned that our primary customers are slightly older than we expected. We also learned that our demographics are more spread out than we had initially thought.  Most importantly, we have learned that our customers really need and want a platform like ours and we already garnered positive feedback from our growing fan base. “I like that I can conveniently support charities with my everyday shopping,” says Green Line customer, Shelly McCormick. “I’m allergic to fragrance, so that’s a big deal for me too. Green Line Market allows me to search for and compare options based on product qualities and my personal values, as well as quickly sort for products that have been verified in terms of the health of their ingredients.”

GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?

MassChallenge (2017) was a very valuable program for us to expand our network of friends, mentors and advisors. So through this ecosystem we have expanded not only our staff but have also connected with top advisors that provide us with valuable knowledge, expertise and advice on an ongoing basis.

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?

I had a great experience in Boston.  MassChallenge really helped sharpening our business model and value proposition. There are a lot of events and opportunities to grow as an entrepreneur all around Boston. I did not find there was anything specifically lacking in the Boston ecosystem.

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?

he best piece of advice we had was, talk to as many users as possible and really understand their motivations and what they believe is lacking in this market. So we installed software to track people’s behavior on our site and also have the ability to talk to them. Surprisingly, people were trying to buy from our website even before it was open. So we were able to learn from their actions while using the site right from beginning.  Our product is constantly being tailored for the user constantly in order to facilitate an easy shopping experience. Our goal is to empower people to live better, for their own health and for the health of the planet.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

Last year we were able to expand our team, met amazing mentors at MassChallenge that are still actively involved with the company. Finally, we launched our ecommerce site and have the incredible luck of getting organic traffic.

GH: What does the future hold for The Green Line?

The Green Line Market’s team of entrepreneurs that is working towards using their knowledge of cutting-edge technology to deliver a transparent and customized shopping experience to people wishing to make a personal and global impact. As a Certified B Corporation, Green Line Market curates and promotes the safest, most effective, independently certified products available-from established well-known brands such as Seventh Generation, to emerging smaller brands, such as Attitude and Biokleen.

Share This