Author Archives: Saul Brown

The Art of Appreciation: how to value people in the workplace

06 Nov




Top 5 Tips for Meaningful Appreciation



1) Be public. Always appreciate your team with the whole group present as it makes your statement public and recognized by others. No matter how righteous or private people may be, most people care about how they’re perceived by others. Showing appreciation publicly makes people feel good and creates an open culture where it’s the norm to acknowledge solid team work and achievement. When people feel appreciated, they are more productive, innovative and creative.



2) Be direct and personal. Attribute your appreciation to an individual and call people out by name. Tell everyone what they did and how it helped you personally. Appreciating colleagues and employees can have incredible results. It can help everyone be more productive as individuals and teams.



“Dan, I appreciate your creativity from our meeting yesterday with Acme as it helped me provide assurance to the client that we’re the right team for the job.”



3) Quality counts. It’s all about perception. Recognition through corporate gifts and awards can have a profound effect on relationships. When one receives something of prestige it reiterates the value of the relationship. If a gift is perceived as cheap or of low quality, it can result in the recipient feeling undervalued or at worst humiliated.



4) Business is all about people and relationships. Appreciation doesn’t have to take the form of executive gifts and fancy luxuries, it can be the small tokens of appreciation given in the right way that makes people feel valued by an organization. We all work way too long and hard to not enjoy our jobs. Be good to each other, because it feels good and it’s great for business too!



5) Enjoy the Results! The process of appreciating colleagues and employees can have incredible results helping everyone be more productive as individuals and teams. If done well appreciation can make the recipients feel amazing, acknowledged and empowered. If done poorly it can have the opposite effect leaving recipients resentful and questioning their relationship. Unfortunately, it’s not always the thought that counts, it’s in the execution that appreciation maximizes value within your business.



Growing Our Business via Community & Social Enterprise

14 May


We are excited to share some exciting announcements for Saul Good Gift Co. First of all, we want to thank each and every one of you for your support since our early days in TwentyOSix! Our new mailing address is as follows, please update your records:


Saul Good Gift Co.

#210-128 West Hastings Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8


We’re in the process of transitioning our fulfillment to a 3rd party and found a great fit with the fine folks at Starworks Packaging & Assembly. Starworks is a social enterprise employing adults with developmental disabilities. They have over 10 years of experience in the packaging and logistics business. We are confident that Starworks is in an excellent position to take on this part of our business and we’re excited to be stepping into this opportunity.



The move to 3PL (third party logistics) helps us to focus our core team on customer service, create jobs for local social enterprise and increase the community impact in each and every local Vancouver gift basket that we produce.


Shared Office Space at the HiVE


The HiVE is a Vancouver based co-working space that offers desk space, meeting rooms and event space for small businesses. When we decided to move our office into the HiVE, we were greeted with warm welcomes from all sorts of fascinating folks. This awesome shared office space is part of a larger worldwide movement with office hubs in cities around the world.



We are delighted by the diversity of inspiring organizations, small businesses and entrepreneurs. There are over 100 local businesses that are connected to this collective space! The mission of the HiVE is to “catalyze opportunities for collaboration and innovation amongst a community of change-makers in an actively hosted, shared work and event space.” It seems that their vision has been manifesting quite nicely!



The HiVE has created an environment for members to get to know one another. From movie nights to meet ups to potluck crepe lunches, there are many opportunities to build community. Jamie Bryant (our Director of Happiness) has prepared to bring Chocolate Arts’ hazelnut spread for crepe day! We also appreciate the abundance of indoor bicycle parking! And ‘The Big Lebowski’ screening last Friday evening was a bonus way to end off our first week at the HiVE.



Sharing Growth & Creating Jobs for Social Enterprise

Since the Saul Good Gift Co. was launched in 2006, it was our vision to work with Starworks. This phenomenal local social enterprise is a great fit given the social value they create in the community. Over the years we’ve worked with them on a project basis and are excited to transition all our packaging and warehousing needs to their inspiring social enterprise in the coming months.


Starworks was established by a non-profit organization – The Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA) and they have partnered with the United Way of the Lower Mainland. They do not receive any government funding for the program. All revenue is redirected back into the business to employ more workers and fulfill it’s mission to provide meaningful employment to adults with developmental disabilities.


As we step into this next phase of our business we’re excited by the opportunities ahead while honoring all that we’ve learned. The changes we’re making help us to increase the goodness in each and every gift basket we produce. We hope that you will continue to join us and share our stories on this fascinating new journey. Thank you for being a part of the story!

Women’s Day: Good Gift Ideas that Create Jobs

06 Mar

Last Women’s Day, we had the privilege of coordinating a corporate gift program that told a great story and created jobs for women in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. We wanted to revisit this story to emphasize how much we love this sort of gift program!


It all began at the end of January 2012, when we received a call from Vichy Laboratoires. They wanted 500 unique corporate gifts for an International Women’s Day gift program.


Like many of our corporate clients, Vichy was seeking a way to increase the meaning in their gifts and find new ways to stand out amongst the standard corporate gift baskets and boxes of chocolates.








We were thrilled to step up to this challenge to create customized pens out of reclaimed wood and employ women from a social enterprise in our neighbourhood. The timeline for production was tight and the workshop filled the order with time to spare.








This project shows how a thoughtful corporate gift program can create value in the community while creating a meaningful experience that tells the story of economic nourishment, sustainability and hard working Canadian women. A perfect gift idea for International Women’s Day.







Local BC Gifts

Our Year in Review: Growth, Love, Loss & Recognition

12 Jan


It is with amazement that I look back at all that’s happened in the last 12 months. Since Saul Good was launched in 2006, I often felt the tension and suspense of pushing upward towards possibility. 2012 was the year when we saw this possibility unfold into growth, momentum and recognition.




In addition to the pivotal growth of Saul Good in the past year, there was a lot that happened in my personal life. I got engaged and I walked alongside my partner as she lost her mother to cancer.









Life and business happen fast. Beauty and tragedy can occur simultaneously. As I stand still and look forward to where I want Saul Good to go, I can’t help but think that anything is possible.


Milestones of 2012 


1) B Corp Award 




At the BALLE Conference in Berkeley in the spring of 2007, I witnessed the founding of B Corporations, (a way for businesses to proclaim a new standard for better business). In 2010 we did our due diligence and became a certified B Corp.



When we recertified in 2012, we had no idea that we had come as far as we have. At the 2012 B Corp Champion’s Retreat this past October, we found out that Saul Good Gift Co. improved our score more than the any of the 675+ B Corp companies in the world! We were grateful to receive the “Reach For The Top Award”. It felt really good!


2) Sharing my story at Pecha Kucha




In November, I was invited to present at Pecha Kucha Vancouver and tell a story about what inspires me to do what I do. We were in the middle of our busiest season at Saul Good…and I’d be lying to say I wasn’t nervous to talk in front of a room of 1,000 people at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre.



Thankfully, it was a welcoming space and it ended up being a lot of fun! It was an awesome experience to dig into my family history, share my story and make some new friends! Thank you Jane, Steven and Becki from Cause + Affect.


3) Canopy Award



Our 100% recycled gift boxes have been part of the way we’ve been able to keep trees in the forest. For the 2nd year running, we were grateful to be given the Canopy Ancient Forest Friendly award. Canopy is an innovative organization that is doing incredible work to protect our forests. Each year Canopy recognizes companies doing their part to eliminate the use of virgin forest products used in their paper and packaging. My parents Barbara & Gordon were on hand at the awards ceremony in Toronto to accept this honorable award on our behalf!


4) Buying local became an official movement 



 After 3 years of work on the Board of LOCO BC it was a real pleasure to see the awareness we’ve been building to blossom for the eyes of the many. It was officially proclaimed by the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia that the week of December 3-7th would now be known as ‘Buy Local Week’. The significance of this is great. As we know, supporting locally owned producers and businesses is important for a strong local economy. It also connects us integrally with the people who make and grow the products and food we use and eat.


5) Addition of our newest team members 


In 2012, we welcomed Jamie Bryant (above) to our team. Many of you have experienced her enthusiasm and comforting nature on the Saul Good front lines. The old adage of ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ came to light. Jamie was the 3rd person we’d worked with in a sales and customer service role. She has been an incredibly valuable team member as we transition through this pivotal time.



We also added Christabel Shaler (above) as our Digital Content Manager. After working with us in social media and blogging throughout 2012, Christabel is preparing to launch her own business in 2013 that will help to capture stories from local businesses and local seniors. We are her first client and we are excited for her to publicly launch her business next month.


What’s in store for 2013?


We are bursting at the seams and excited to share some new developments in the works at Saul Good. It feels like its all coming together. Please join us and stay tuned to see what we have up our sleeves. If you haven’t done so already subscribe to our mailing list or stay tuned on Facebook or Twitter. Them good news is what we got.

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Why the 1% is not all bad…

08 Nov


Corporations get a bad rap. I won’t argue, there are corporations out there that maximize profit at any cost. Companies that constantly take for shareholder benefit without a broad understanding of the impact it has on people and the communities, in which it operates. This is not good business and doesn’t have to be the status quo.




As you may know, “incorporated” is not inherently a dirty word. More and more companies are understanding this. Businesses are learning how to thrive while doing good. The landscape is changing.




There is a 1% that’s doing some good. Certified B Corporations are a refreshing international movement building momentum throughout the business world. There are over 650 companies than comprise less than 1% of the business community. These companies include some of the most progressive and influential businesses on the planet. For example: Patagonia, Method and Ben & Jerry’s have declared loud and clear that caring for people and the planet is good for business. This “care” is not a bunch of confusing eco-jargon or greenwashing, it is the real deal. It is the sound of Certified B Corporations walking their talk.




In order to become a Certified B Corporation, your business must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. The certification process eliminates confusion while increasing confidence in consumers.




It’s simple: People like good products that do good. When a company is a Certified B Corporation, you don’t have to spend time scrolling through labels, jargon, seals and itty bitty fine print.  Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment. When you become a B Corporation, the impact of your company in relation to these categories receives a public score, which adds transparency and legitimacy to the movement.




B Corporations in Vancouver




Vancouver is a leading hub for progressive business in Canada and home to a handful of Certified B Corps we’d like to highlight for their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. We appreciate that they see opportunities in the challenges we face in Vancouver. These innovative businesses seek to collaborate with allied businesses, in order to make our city a better place to live and work.




Saul Good’s Vancouver B Corp Top Picks




Salt Spring Coffee has shown how a small start up coffee roaster can influence an industry. I’m not a coffee snob, but I know what I like and what tastes good. In fact, I’ve built my business on it. Salt Spring Coffee makes great coffee. Their Metta Espresso has made a place in my life each and every day. On a community, operational and supply chain level, Salt Spring Coffee is leading the way while making exquisite gourmet coffee. Learn more…




Alterrus Systems (also known as Local Garden). A unique company that has developed revolutionary technology for local food production. By better using vertical space in greenhouse and hydroponic technology, their food systems grow more food and keep it close to home. Their first greenhouse is currently under construction on the rooftop of a downtown Vancouver parking garage and we’re excited to see how they progress! Learn more…




Mills Basics. Our local independent office supply company. In 2006, I got to know Brad Mills and his family business when I was part of an MBA team that helped Mills launch a line of green office supplies. It didn’t take long to realize that the value they created was a lot more than the pens and paper they provided to local businesses. Mills Basics is a landmark on the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and has been committed to employ local area residents for decades (long before anyone was talking about corporate social responsibility). This company is a great example of good business being done by good people, who do good work. Learn more..




Tyze. I recently heard this amazing woman named Donna Thomson speak about how she’s used her Tyze network to improve the efficiency of complex health care provided to her son. Tyze Personal Networks is a technology company rooted in social innovation. The tools they’ve developed help facilitate a private community that is centred around one person. This network can consist of neighbours, friends, families and care professionals. This is the type of social innovation that can significantly improve the efficiency and quality of care in the Canadian health care system and beyond. Learn more…




The Saul Good Gift Co. receives a B Corp Award






Since 2006, the Saul Good Gift Co. has been putting a lot of love into our gifts. We are proud to have brought gift baskets into the 21st century. We are also proud to be one of the founding Canadian B Corporations. Initially, we used the B Assessment as a tool to improve our business and we continue to challenge ourselves to improve. Earlier this year, we re-certified as a B Corp and were thrilled to see our score raise from 88 to 116 ( an improvement of 32%). We were even more excited when we found out that we won the 2012 Race For The Top Award! This award acknowledges the most significant score improvement out of all re-certified B Corps!




The B Corporation movement is worth watching and talking about. You can also become apart of it and “be the change”!  With 650 certified B Corps in the World, the movement is growing strong. As of January 2012, there are B Corporations in over 50 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion dollar marketplace. From South America to Mongolia to Africa, the momentum is building!




3 easy steps to meaningful & stress-free holiday corporate gifts

17 Oct


You have listed “organizing holiday gifts” on your office to do list. That’s a great start! However, it is easy to let it wait until the last minute and end up frantic to find the perfect gift for your top clients, partners and employees.


Your boss and team are relying on you! What are you going to do?


Standing in a line at Costco with a dolly full of gift baskets doesn’t need to be your fate on a Saturday afternoon in mid-December. We know you can do better than that! In fact, it is our job to execute your corporate gift basket program with style and grace, so that you and your business look good. In order to help you prepare for this process, it is our pleasure to equip you with 3 steps towards stress-free corporate holiday gifts (listed below)


Step #1 Start with a list of gift recipients


Who do you want to appreciate? Create a list on our custom designed spreadsheet. Are the gifts going to offices for people to share? Or to individuals? Make that clear to your gift basket company of choice. This information is essential to designing the optimal gift experience.


Step #2 Define the message and meaning of your corporate gifts


Everyone has a budget, we understand that and can relate. We want to help maximize your return on your gift basket program. There’s more to value than price and just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s good. The basis behind corporate gifts is to appreciate people and build relationships.

Remember: Thoughtless gifts can sometimes do more harm than good.


Step #3 Download a copy of our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide


This guide is chock full of easy to share gift ideas. (click here to download)  These gift ideas are designed for sending to offices and contain exquisitely curated confections that make the most discerning palettes drool.



We have Gourmet gifts baskets for executives. Craft beer gifts for guys. Awesome holiday gift baskets for sharing in the office.




We wish you the best of luck! If you need any further guidance, please feel welcome to give us a call:










Chocolate Logos: A Unique Corporate Gift Idea

07 Jun


Corporate gifts can create a fun and meaningful touch point for businesses. We love coming up with gift programs to help our clients stay top of mind with their gift recipients. Why not go beyond ordinary formalities and give a memorable experience that creates a conversation?




We were approached to put together a corporate gift program to launch a new brand and website. The company wanted to give a unique gift that displayed the creative pursuit of their new identity. On their behalf, we sent out branded organic chocolates to their top clients and prospects. In addition to being delicious, organic and ethical….These chocolates were a fun and compelling way to create a water cooler conversation about this innovative company.





The gifts were filled with delicious locally made branded organic chocolates, each one hand-made by a local Vancouver artisan and customized with client logos. Using only the finest fair trade organic chocolate, each box is easy to enjoy and share among co-workers.





Customized packaging and greeting cards were used to help tell the story and communicate the new brand identity. Design was done by the Vancouver based agency St Bernadine. We’re really happy with how everything turned about and hope these corporate gifts put smiles on faces throughout Vancouver, Canada and the US.

















Epiphany on my morning commute

11 May

I’ll admit, I’ve been a fair weather rider. After hurting my back a few years ago it’s taken me a while to get back on my bike. I received an amazing birthday gift recently, a new commuter bike and I’ve been getting into the groove of riding into work. This was my first week back and today’s ride blew my mind.

It wasn’t the rush or exhilaration of riding that did it. It was who I met, saw and talked with along the way.

I ride from Kitsilano over the Burrard Bridge and along Pacific, then drop into Chinatown and over into Strathcona where our office is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. If you didn’t hear about it this week, our neighbours at SOLEfood Urban Farm have been building a 2 acre organic farm on the former Expo lands by BC Place on the north side of False Creek. As I was riding by I saw Seann Dory, SOLEfood’s Executive Director and stopped to have a quick chat (and give him a high-5!).

(Image from Vancouver Is Awesome)

Seann laid out their plan for growth. They’re up to 30 employees who they’ve trained and are working on their organic urban farms, all members of Vancouver’s downtown eastside community. This site is big, 4 times as large as their initial site beside the Astoria Hotel on East Hastings at Hawks. As we were talking saw SHIFT Urban Delivery ride by on one of their hybrid cargo tricycles and it hit me. It was just a few years ago when most of what you heard regarding sustainability and greenest city initiatives was just that. Talk. After years of hard work, dedication and community building these social entrepreneurs are doing it. We’re making some really cool things happen in Vancouver and it’s not just about talking the talk. Its good people, doing good work, making good things happen. It feels good to be a part of that.


The Vancity Movement: Local Banking as an Ecosystem

22 Mar


In the Spring of 2011, I was at a LOCO BC party watching game 1 of the Stanley Cup in Vancouver. During the game, I was asked what I was going to do to shift my behaviour to purchasing local. As a locally owned and operated business, I have spent many years building community around local purchasing and featuring local products in our gifts. I have also been working to help establish LOCO BC since 2008. The only missing piece was our banking.


It became clear that the Saul Good Gift Co. needed to move to a local Vancouver credit union where our business banking supports our community. Vancity is instrumental in most of the social and environmental initiatives that are interconnected with the Saul Good Gift Co. From the Strathcona Business Improvement Association to the SOLEFood Urban Farm and LOCO BC.


Our local economy is an ecosystem. Money is like the sun. Vancity is like water.



Deserts vs. Rainforests


The sun shines all day in the desert. It is powerful and hot from morning to night. There is no soil or vegetation to absorb the sun’s energy. When the sun tucks down behind the mountains, all the energy dissipates leaving you cold and waiting for those first rays of light. There is emptiness and loneliness.


Buying from locally owned stores keeps money in your community and creates a diverse economy. The money touches many different hands and creates a diverse web of rich relationships.


The desert is like a big box store. All day long consumers buy up goods at the lowest price. The money does not absorb into the local economy. It dissipates and profits shareholders elsewhere.






Rainforests are rich and diverse


A diverse local economy is like a mature ecosystem where the sun shines on the forest canopy of the tall trees. Within this canopy, there are birds and animals eating the fruit and seeds created by the trees. Plants and animals collaborate and compete in order to disperse resources where they are needed. Energy flows through the ecosystem and spawns diverse forms of life. Medicinal plants grow in these systems. The interconnection exudes beauty and richness.


Vancity functions like water in an ecosystem. It connects us and supports us.




Last week, I was honoured to speak to a group of bankers as part of the GABV conference in Vancouver. I spoke about the interconnection between local businesses and social enterprises in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. The Saul Good Gift Co. had recently put together some gift baskets for new homeowners at an affordable housing development (60 West Cordova Street). These local Vancouver gifts included organic fruit and veggies from SOLEfood Urban Farm, a social enterprise that trains inner city residents to grow organic food. The urban farm and the affordable housing are both supported by Vancity Credit Union.


Community is the story. We are all connected. I am proud of the day that I decided to switch my banking to Vancity and I am proud that the work we do is helping to build the Vancouver we want to live in. Not only for today but also for our grandchildren.


Local Food Made Easy: Vista D’oro Gourmet Gifts are Deliciously in Season

15 Mar

Vista D'oro

Eating locally and in season is a Utopian dream. Who doesn’t want the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious food to eat? I love growing food in my yard and shopping at the local farmer’s market down the road. Eating local is a great ethos to move towards…but in reality a hard thing to do 100% of the time. 


At the Saul Good Gift Co., we love helping people discover easy ways to enjoy local organic goodness as much as possible. We’ve written about our friends at Vista D’oro Farms before and we think that this local BC farm creates some of the best artisan products on the market. Patrick and Lee grow bountiful delights at their beautiful Langley farmstead. With their crops, they create artisan fruit, nut & wine preserves using ingredients that are in season. They make the locavore lifestyle easy and fun! Patrick came by this past week with a few jars of what’s new at Vista D’oro and I wanted to share a bit from my tasting experience.



1. Green Heriloom Tomato with Garam Masala

Made using tomatoes from their fall harvest this preserve is actually from their fall line. I enjoyed it on savory crackers along with some mild goat feta. The spices are subtle and complimentary, not overwhelming.


2. Spiced Apple & Gewurztraminer

Made using apples from their farm this sweet preserve is full of fruit. It looks like there is a whole apple in there. You can’t make this kind of product in a factory!


3. Green Walnut & Grappa

Made using walnuts from their farm and an Italian liquor. This preserve has a unique taste that’s surprisingly good. Usually, when I think of grappa I imagine a swift shot that I put it back as fast as I can. Vista D’oro did a lot better with this. It is a flavour experience that you do not want to rush. This preserve was nice on a cracker and also works well in Parisian Macaron gift baskets made by local confectionist Kitchening With Carly.


Vista D’oro preserves have made a comfortable place in our gourmet gift baskets and a warm place in my heart as well. Patrick and Lee are the type of entrepreneurs that we need more of in this world. I admire how they live with the seasons in the farm fresh air. Thanks for sharing the fruit of your labour with us!