Noah Johnson is part of a growing cadre of eco-conscious entrepreneurs who are trying to change the way consumer goods and global commerce are produced. He is an eco warrior of sorts, collecting anything from used banners to billboards for his Encinitas, Calif.-based company The Progress Project. Noah launched the company in 2010 with his wife Jolene. Using recycled materials, The Progress Project makes everything from messenger bags to laptop sleeves, iPad wallets, surfboard bags, tote bags, and even custom orders. Below, Noah talks about the passion behind The Progress Project and how the family-run business is moving full-speed ahead.
Hobbies: Work, painting, ocean, and family.
Favorite Quote: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” ~Albert Einstein
Materials Matter: We get our materials for The Progress Project from all over. We are grateful to have partnerships with Revolt in Style magazine, which has been donating its RSSS banners from the very beginning. Also a great relationship continues to be with Sustainable Surf, which has produced tens of thousands of square feet of signage from companies such as Rip Curl, REEF and Hurley. The list of businesses that donate their old signage is long. We also purchase used billboards. I buy the rest of the materials from a distributor that carries American made products.
Eco Education: Unfortunately, I know there’s still a lot of green washing going on, so while consumers are becoming more conscious, it is becoming more challenging to decipher which products are actually eco-friendly, and even more, businesses that are actually owned and run by people who are eco-friendly themselves. For example, some companies promote themselves and their products as being eco-friendly, but unfortunately, it’s just marketing.
|Noah in The Progress Project workshop|
|The Progress Project Assistants-Noah and Jolene's twins|
|The Progress Project keeps it in the family (Noah & Jolene's teenage daughter)|
*I originally wrote this article for the San Diego Surf Film Festival blog.