You are what you make: Better Place Forests

by Steven Trevathan

Recently I shared some thoughts on how Make&Model’s purpose changed over the years. How developing it required chiseling away at rosy and expansive ideas of how our business would develop. Tossing out many valid directions for the sake of the one most valuable to us. Whittling is important if we’re to survive in the long term.

Our work with CareerVillage served as a catalyst for us in our discovery of our for-good direction, and eventually planted the seeds of what’d become our principles in our work and mission. We want to take care (of each other, and the planet), to leave whatever it is we are working on or for better than we found it, and to always follow that drive for substantive, purposeful commitments to our work and community. To see how that pin-hole focus would expand as a business took time and persistence. We’re glad we stuck it out.

In 2019, we got to work on a new site, a new storytelling, and an improved brand system for a company with an idea we had never imagined possible. How they operate, what they replace, and the environmental impact are all absolutely fascinating and exciting to see in a start-up. That company is Better Place Forests. They provide a natural alternative to cemeteries that is stunning, sustainable, and full of life.

Working with Better Place Forests inspired us in a way we’ll always be grateful for. Their mission touched us with each call; they are working to provide a beautiful alternative to an otherwise dark, difficult, and unavoidable life stage. As we worked together through their digital storytelling transformation, we saw a lot of ourselves in the work. After many heart-felt interviews with customers - where some were moved to tears - we couldn’t ignore the feeling that the environment and facts of sustainable life are where we wanted to focus our attention moving forward.

The experience design, up-cycled brand identity, art, and storytelling now found on Better Place Forests’ website and other digital experiences is exactly the kind of work we love and want to keep doing. If you haven’t heard of Better Place Forests and would like to do more reading, check out this writeup on Forbes.

We owe a tremendous thanks to Matthew Smith and Ryan Littrell for envisioning with us, collaborating, and co-steering our respective teams toward a shared vision. It’s been some time, but I am still proud of what the teams discovered and achieved together. That is what we are about.

Better Place Forests is leaving the earth better than they found it, and that’s something we all should require of ourselves and our businesses.

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