Collection of current Avocado products

Growing Your Co-op Through Social Impact Investing

Avocado Co-op researches and sells eco-friendly, member-tested, and better-lifecycle household products. We are seeking your support to help us launch the next phase of the co-op: develop a refill service and expand into Guelph.

For a limited time, we have the opportunity to double the impact of any investments through generous matching funds provided by the Fuel Injection program.

Read More

60% Complete
$10,585
of $30,000
20
pledges
12
days to go

Pledge to Invest
The investments will only be collected if we reach our goal by March 7, 2018 11:59 PM EST.

Rewards

Pledge $35

Small swag pack so you can show you are an Avocado supporter!

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $45

Small swag pack so you can show you are an Avocado supporter!
+ $10 lifetime membership

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $65

Large swag pack including t-shirt and reusable bag

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $75

Large swag pack including t-shirt and reusable bag
+ $10 lifetime membership

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $100

One $100 Preference Share
Investment Terms

Estimated Delivery
March 2018

Pledge $200

Two $100 Preference Shares
+ small swag pack.
Investment Terms

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $500

Five $100 Preference Shares
+ large swag pack
+ 1 small perk
Investment Terms

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $1000

Ten $100 Preference Shares
+ large swag pack
+ 2 small perks.
Investment Terms

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $1500

Fifteen $100 Preference Shares
+ large swag pack
+ 3 small perks or 1 medium perk.
Investment Terms

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

Pledge $2000

Twenty $100 Preference Shares
+ large swag pack
+ 4 small perks or 1 large perk.
Investment Terms

Estimated Delivery
October 2018

The Story so Far

In 2014, a group of friends came together with a shared passion for sustainable living. We agreed that it was understandable that most people weren’t taking more steps to live sustainably. Making sustainable choices can feel overwhelming. It is difficult to gather the information you need to make a responsible decision about which eco-friendly products are the most impactful and effective. Even when the information is available, it is hard to find a reliable source for great products at fair prices, and in large enough bulk to reduce packaging waste.

We felt a social venture in the form of a customer owned retail co-operative could make living sustainably easier, accelerating the shift towards sustainable living. The Avocado Co-op was born with the vision to research and source sustainable products. We work with our members to find the best eco-friendly, member-tested, and better-lifecycle household products, and sell them at fair prices. We offer bulk sizes where possible and provide convenient home delivery and pickup options.

Our products are primarily sold through the Care Package, our monthly home delivery service. Every month, an email notifies you of your prefilled order based on your product preferences. You can always skip a month or modify your order. Confirmed orders are packed and delivered. So far our members have mostly been from Kitchener-Waterloo, but with this project we will be expanding our hand delivery service to Guelph.

A yearly service fee of $48 gives you access to the Care Package service including monthly order reminders, optional $5 hand delivery, and the best prices on all of our products. Free pickups at our partner locations around the community are also available.

The yearly service fee enables us to pay our staff a living wage and focus on providing a service rather than pushing products.

Next Steps

In 2015, the Care Package service was started with 10 people. Over the last 2 and a half years 600 Care Packages have been delivered including more than 6,528 rolls of toilet paper made from the paper you put in your blue box. Relationships have been built with suppliers, products researched, and revenue doubled in the last fiscal year, all without any outside support.

Based on member feedback and interest we have decided our next steps are developing a refill service for our cleaning supplies, expanding to Guelph, and designing ways to improve the information we provide about our products.

To take these next steps we need your help. The Fuel Injection program from Innovation Guelph can match funding up to $30,000 giving the co-op a total budget of $60,000 to support our initiatives.

As a co-op, we have a unique ability to raise the funds we need from you, our members and prospective members. Your investment can be matched dollar for dollar by the Fuel Injection program.

We are leveraging our amazing ecosystem of like-minded partner organizations to provide Partner Perks. Our values point us in the direction of unconventional ideas such as allowing our partners to provide you, our funders, with unique experiences as rewards for your support.

Together we can accelerate the shift to more sustainable living!

Fundraising

Contributions greater than $100 mean you are investing in the co-op by buying Preference Shares. Preference Shares are being sold in increments of $100, and if you are not already a member of the co-op there will be an additional $10 lifetime membership fee.

Read more about Preference Shares

Contributions under $100 are donations, which come with awesome swag!

All funding raised up to $30,000 can be matched by a grant from the Fuel Injection program from Innovation Guelph. This doubles the impact of your support and give us a project budget of $60,000! As a thank you for choosing to support us, we have some unique swag and partner perks.

The Project

The primary goals of the project are to develop a refill service and expand to Guelph. The secondary goal is to improve our member experience by providing more information on our products clearly and comprehensively.

The refill service will help reduce wasted packaging by selling our liquid cleaning products in refillable glass containers. They will be swapped out every order. The containers will be filled from the largest size container we can source. The eventual goal is for the source to be large enough that our supplier is able to take it back and refill it, completing the cycle.

There has been consistent interest in our service from people who live or work in Guelph. It is the next logical step both to learn how to serve more than one region and to grow our membership to make the co-op a more stable business.

We will partner with SEED at the University of Waterloo to deepen our product research.

Internally we will improve our warehouse space, accounting practices, and bylaws to support a larger member base.

Where the Money Will Go

Budget overview. Exact spending may vary.

Guelph Expansion + Marketing $14,500
Communication + Design $14,000
Perks, Swag, Samples & Materials $12,000
Warehouse, Accounting & Legal $10,500
Refillable Packaging & Research $9,000
Total $60,000

$30,000 in investments from you, our supporters, and $30,000 in a grant from the Fuel Injection program out of Innovation Guelph.

Rewards

We have two types of rewards; swag and perks. We are lining up some great stuff to show your support for Avocado. Perks come from our partners and give access to their services or some unique experiences. We wanted to work with partners because we value experiential gifts instead of stuff—though our swag will be pretty sweet. If for any reason you want to support us but want to forgo the reward or provide the funding directly to the partner, those are options as well.

Avocado Swag

Some will be marketing materials, some customized just for supporters and investors. Working with local designers such as Bearface Design and manufacturers where possible.

Small Swag Pack

  • Enamel Pin of the Avocado Co-op logo only with variations for members and investors.
  • Pen which balances eco-friendly materials with quality and hopefully reusability with easily replaced inkwells.
  • Stickers featuring the Avocado logo.
  • A large reusable bag big enough to take a 24 pack of toilet paper, sturdy enough to bring home a load of groceries, made from cotton or canvas.

Large Swag Pack

  • Everything in the small swag pack
  • Zero Waste Kit featuring hankie, napkin, spork, and straw.
  • Reusable water bottle made by our partner Cupanion, featuring the Avocado Co-op logo.
  • T-shirt featuring men's and women's cuts with the Avocado Co-op logo.

Partner Perks

For larger investments, we are partnering with great local organizations to give you some unique thank yous. A portion of the funding will be provided to the partner organization to cover the costs involved with delivering the perks, so you will be supporting them and us.

Small Perks

REEP Green Solutions

A year of free access to the Sustainable Speaker Series workshops held at the Reep House.

It includes 10 workshops on topics such as energy, water, waste, and transportation.

Together We're Bitter

Certificate for two 2-litre growler fills, one glass growler, 2 glasses & a t-shirt.

Community CarShare

For new drivers
Waived application fee, $20 driving credit, and can apply to casual or occasional plan.

For current drivers
$52.50 in driving credit.

Four All Ice Cream

6 months of ice cream cones (One 4-cone card a month for 6 months, 24 cones total!)

Queen Street Yoga

You plus a friend get unlimited drop-in yoga classes for 30 days, plus 2 guest passes each to bring friends, $10 off a yoga mat purchase, $10 off a 60-min treatment with our RMTs, and more.

Bailey's Local Foods

$50 in gift cards for their year round online farmers’ market.

Spool & Spindle

2 hours of instruction and materials to make a small project with up to 4 people. Examples include throw pillows, tote bags, hankies, napkins, or bow ties, but you can suggest a project as well.

More perks will be added during the campaign. You won't have to make your selections until the campagin is over.

Medium Perks

Together We're Bitter

Brewery tour for up to 15 people with samples, a round of beer for everyone at the end, and one t-shirt to take home.

Community CarShare

For new drivers
Waived application fee, member loan, Regular plan membership for one month, $115 in driving credit

For current drivers
$105 in driving credit.

Four All Ice Cream

12 months of ice cream cones (One 4-cone card a month for 12 months, 48 cones total!)

Queen Street Yoga

You plus a friend join us to learn the basics in our popular 7-week course. Great for brand-new beginners, those re-starting their practice after a long break.

More perks will be added during the campaign. You won't have to make your selections until the campagin is over.

Large Perks

REEP Green Solutions

Initial Energy Evaluation
A 2-3 hour assessment of the insulation and systems of your home by a Registered Energy Advisors.

Includes EnerGuide home rating which allows you to compare the efficiency of your home to others.

Together We're Bitter

Brewery tour for up to 20 people with samples, one 2-litre growler fill each month for six months, a glass growler & 2 glasses, and one t-shirt to take home

Community CarShare

For new drivers
Waived application fee, member loan, Regular plan membership for one month, $215 in driving credit

For current drivers
$210 in driving credit.

Four All Ice Cream

6 months of ice cream cubes. 1 reusable, Four All branded cooler bag. Refill with 4 cubes once a month for 6 months, at the Tasting Room.

Queen Street Yoga

You plus anyone you like to practice with get to share a drop-in yoga pass that never expires -- or, use the pass just for yourself!

Spool & Spindle

4 hours of instruction and materials to make a large project with up to 4 people. Examples include t-shirts, leggings, or pj pants, but you can suggest a project as well.

More perks will be added during the campaign. You won't have to make your selections until the campagin is over.

Timeline

March 2018Fundraising concludes. Preference Share issued and funding collected if we reach our goal. Funds need for Fuel Injection application process
April 2018Fuel Injection funding decision. If we are unable to access Fuel Injection funding we will redeem shares and refund the other funding.
June 2018Project starts, marketing consultant hired, swag designs finalized
September 2018Rewards, swag and perks distributed. Service to Guelph begins.
December 2018Project timeframe concludes.

Preference Share Terms

The main return on investment is the growth needed to make the co-op stable enabling us to accelerates the shift to sustainable living.

The par value of our Preference Shares starts at $100 and is increased by a yearly premium equal to the Consumer Price Index to attempt to account for inflation.

To hold Preference Shares you must be a member of the co-op. A lifetime Membership Share is $10. If you pledge to buy preference shares and aren't already a member of the co-op you will be charged a membership fee.

As a co-op, Preference Shares do not come with additional voting rights. Your Membership Share gives you one vote at meetings of the members.

Holders of Preference Shares will be eligible for dividends of up to 5% a year when the co-op is profitable. During the initial growth phase, the emphasis will be on reinvesting. It could take several years to become profitable. The board determines the dividend on an annual basis. When sustainably profitable, the board will begin share buyback program.

Preference shareholders cannot request that the board redeem their Preference Shares for 2 years after they are issued.

If required, a notice in writing must be sent to the board 6 months in advance in order to redeem. An additional option would be to have shares redeemed to store credit. We hope that most investors will help us grow by keeping their investment until we start the buyback program.

Meet our Board and read more about the co-op include our Articles of Incorporation and our Bylaws.

Additional information about the co-op including recent financials and projections will be provided in the coming weeks. Pledgers will be notified by email, and pledges can be altered at any time.

Risks and Challenges

As with any investment, there are risks. As a start-up social venture focused on growth there are significant risks. The biggest risk is the rate of growth. We do not yet know the relationship between marketing investment and meaningful customer growth as this will be our first significant marketing investment. Our goal is to grow membership 5 fold over the next 18 months.

We do know that members, once using the Care Package service, tend to keep using the service and will expand what they buy. Over the last 3 years, we have only lost 8% of our Care Package service subscribers including those who have moved out of our service area.

Another risk is costs. As we have grown we have been able to keep our costs in line, and individual product sales are profitable. Some costs related to accounting and warehousing have additional overhead which the investment will help cover initially, and the growth will cover long term.

The last risk to highlight is the potential that the application for matching funding might not be approved. If the matching grant funding does not come through, we will redeem your Preference Shares to cash and refund your pledges.

The board has been working on the project for over 5 years and are committed to the co-op and its vision. Each current board member has invested money, time, and mentorship to get us to where we are today.

Additionally, we have built a community of like-minded partner organizations with whom we work on a regular basis. Our values point us in the direction of unconventional ideas which help to increase our sustainability and allow us to stand apart. One example is a focus on experiential rewards for this fundraising campaign rather than more stuff. We value engaging with our community and hope that the opportunity for experiential rewards allows our members to connect with some of our awesome local partners. We believe our community and our values gives us a unique advantage.

We will do our best to respect your investment in us, mitigate risk where possible, and learn as much as we can throughout the entire growth process.

Q & A

When will the pledges be collected?

If we reach our funding goal, your pledge will be collected in March. The Fuel Injection application requires us to have the funding in our account before they will match it.

How will pledges be collected?

Where possible we would prefer cheques or e-transfers to allow us to save money on transaction costs.

What if the Fuel Injection doesn't come through?

We will redeem your Preference Shares to cash and refund your pledges.

When do I pick my perks?

Final perk selection will take place when the pledges are collected after March 7. Additional perks may be added during the campaign, and you will be able to make your selection from all the options.

Do I have choose a perk?

Nope. We will provide additional options including foregoing any perk if you prefer the co-op to benefit from the full amount of your funding.

If you would prefer to donate the cost of your perk instead of receiving it, you can have the value of the perk donated to the Avocado Co-op or to the partner organization itself.

Have another question?

Ask us by email funding@avocado.coop. We will do our best to answer with in 24 hours and if needed, we will add it here.

More Q & A will be added as we receive your questions