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Stephen Morris
and Real Goods

The founder of Real Goods Trading Corporation, John Schaeffer, was familiar with the work of Stephen Morris. Real Goods had been one of California's first dealers for Vermont Castings stoves.
Early in 1992 Morris began working with Schaeffer to more clearly articulate the mission of Real Goods and to develop appropriate marketing communications strategies. Together they developed a comprehensive communications plan that included:
  • The Real Goods News, a lively, sometimes controversial journal for a national audience of alternative thinkers. It was published quarterly for an audience of approximately 250,000 people.
  • The Real Goods Catalog, a mail order catalog offering "Everything Under the Sun" (a tagline coined by Morris), more specifically the products necessary for the livestyle described as "solar living."
  • The Real Stuff, a newsletter designed to relieve overstocks and distressed merchandise.
  • The Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook. This book underwent a complete overhaul during Morris's tenure. As a result it became a best-seller in the book world as well as to the customer base at Real Goods.
  • The Real Goods Solar Living Series, a successful co-publishing partnership between the Real Goods and Chelsea Green Publishing
Stephen Morris and John Schaeffer also developed a roster of activities to more fully engage the Real Goods' customers. First as a consultant and later (1994-95) as the company's Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Morris was instrumental in developing the following Real Goods programs:
  • The Hard Corps, a preferred customer program that grew to over 50,000 members.
  • The Solar Living Center, a physical place where the principles of solar living are demonstrated.
  • The Institute for Solar Living, an educational component (now a non-profit) dedicated to furthering the information related to the lifestyle. The publications, workshops, and seminars offered by the Institute were designed to demonstrate that "Knowledge is our most important product."
  • The National Tour of Independent Homes. Started initially as a National Off-the-Grid Day, this event was broadened to offer people nationwide an opportunity to observe energy independence as practiced by individuals in their community. The event continues to this day, drawing more than 10,000 participants. It is now operated by the American Solar Energy Society.
Real Goods' growth was made possible through three successful direct public stock offerings. Real Goods is now a division of Gaiam, Inc. Morris served on the Real Goods Board of Directors for more than 7 years.

Stephen Morris

One Step Consulting
100 Gilead Brook Road
Randolph, Vermont 05060

Michael & Sienna Potts, websters
updated 26 November 2002 : 12:22 (m) Caspar (Pacific) time
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