Diane Pasley and Lisa Clinton
Are out to save the world, one pot of coffee at a time. The two sisters are
showing they are serious about the environment .Mary Cantando recently chatted
with them on behalf of Enterprising Women magazine to find out more about their
business success and why green products are so important to them.
Enterprising women: As sisters, you've been successful business owners for some
time now .How did you get started in business?
Diane Pasley and Lisa Clinton: When we were about 17 and 18 years old, we
Working in our family business, Manufacturers Components Incorporated (MCI).
We've been working side- by- side now for over 20 years. Growing our
woman-owned business is a real labor of love for us.
EW: During those 20 years, what has been your most exciting moment?
Pasley/Clinton: Well it's all been pretty exciting…Having our own business and
building strong relationships and friendships all over the world, has began a
great experience. To provide products for companies like IBM, General Electric,
Motorola, Wal-Mart, Krups, Mr. Coffee, Conair…working with companies like that
is really exciting.
EW: What do you think is the best decision you've made in relation to your
Pasley/Clinton: Our decision to move into providing green products by pursuing
the Gold Tone Coffee Filter line has been very important. It gives us real
satisfaction to know that we're making a meaningful contribution to our
environment. To know there are fewer trees being cut to produce paper coffee
filters and our waste refuse sites are not being filled as much as in the past
with used paper filters. It may not seem like a lot, but we feel that we're
making a real difference.
EW: What's the story behind your decision to manufacture green products?
Pasley/Clinton: A business associate contacted us and said he was having a hard
time getting coffee filters from his vendor, a company located outside the United States. He said that no one in the U.S. was interested in making this product, and asked if we were
interested. We decided to pursue this venture, and we developed two models that
we were needed. This got us started in the permanent coffee filter business? We
soon realized that the two models that we developed were used in less than 10
percent of drip coffee makers. The majority of drip coffee makers were the Mr.
Coffee "basket" type of filter. So, we became the first company to
develop a basket permanent coffee filter for the remaining 90 percent of the
market. We now hold three U.S. Patents for these models, which are still our
highest selling models. If consumers recognize the advantage of these filters
in terms of favor, aroma and the environment, we could save a 30 acre forest a
EW: How has your business benefited from providing green products?
Pasley/Clinton: The benefits have been tremendous. The permanent coffee filter
opened up a whole new enterprise for us. Because our Gold Tone filters were so
widely accepted in the market, we had the opportunity to provide other
filtration products. We're currently developing a new water filter out chlorine
and other chemicals. The application is for drip coffee makers, and it will
dramatically improve the taste of coffee, making it much more enjoyable. This
product is targeted to launch a whole new line of filtration products for us.
EW: Let's talk dollars. What is the market reaction to green products? Are
consumers willing to pay a premium for these products?
Pasley/Clinton: There is definitely a market for green products today. It seems
that almost everyone is conscious about the environment, and people are
becoming more interested in what they can do to help protect it. If the product
is a true, green product, we believe people are willing to pay a premium. But,
the public is very cautious about companies jumping on the bandwagon with
products that have little or no true effect on the environment.
EW: What advice would you give to a woman deciding whether or not to develop
market green products?
Pasley/Clinton: First, she needs to do adequate research; she should take the
product idea to companies that may be interested, and get their feedback. Then,
she needs to determine whether or not that company is the right one for her
particular product. Also, there might be opportunities for her to partner with
other women -owned business like ours. For example, if she's got the concept
and maybe a customer who is willing to buy the product, but she's not sure how
to get the product produced, she could approach MCI, and we could work with her
to get that product manufactured.
EW: What plans do you have for future green products?
Pasley/Clinton: Well, we're excited about the development of our water filters
for drip coffee makers; we know that they'll make a real difference in the
aggressively seeking organizations that have an idea we can help them with.
Like most women business owners, we wear lots of hats in our business. One of
our strengths is developing products for other companies. We'd especially love
to work with other women -owned business to help them developed green products
for their own line.