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Spencer Brown, Founder of Rent-a-Green Box

Spencer Brown founded Rent-a-Green Box out of personal frustration. To use the sometimes-overused, yet apropos, phrase, he scratched an itched. He spent $800.00 when moving on cardboard boxes. When he was done, he gave some of them away on Craigslist, but still had some remaining.

He tried to throw them away, but the trash collector told him that he’d have to spend $150.00 in order to have the boxes picked up.

Brown understandably thought this was ridiculous, so he drove to three different recycling places. None of them took his boxes, because there was tape on them. When he finally drove the boxes to the landfill, he saw a sky-high tower of boxes. Where some would have just seen a wastefully high tower of boxes, though, Brown saw opportunity.

Why not take trash, make boxes, and rent them to people?

And so he did just that.

Now, Rent-a-Green Box is not just profitable as a startup, but also as a franchise. Brown believes that the success of the Rent-a-Green Box franchising division shows what makes America the best place in which to start a business. “People want to work,” he says, and Rent-a-Green Box gives them an opportunity to do so.

"I have learned better lessons in failure than I have in success and this conference is key b/c entrepreneurs and fresh new ideas are the backbone of this country”

Bootstrapped and Resilient

Brown bootstrapped his business, which did not have a business plan. He just had a rough idea of what he wanted to do, and he hit the ground running. Through hard work, he turned this simple idea into a dream come true.

One of the reasons Rent-a-Green Box is so profitable is that, although the boxes are more expensive to produce, they get 400 uses each. Furthermore, each new box becomes cheaper to produce due to the economies of scale.

Brown believes that getting marginal costs low is one of the reasons that Rent-a-Green Box has enjoyed such success.

“The Future of America Will Be Green”

Brown firmly believes that the future of entrepreneurship will be green. As America runs out of fossil fuels and individuals understand the consequences of greenhouse gases, those entrepreneurs who develop unique ways of recycling will succeed.

The new aesthetic will be: do more with less. Brown certainly has, and he urges new entrepreneurs to do so as well.


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