Paper business cards, really? In the XXI century?! Paper has evolved, so let’s do the same. Squiqr is a funky brand and platform where savvy, eco-conscious professionals can make the switch from old school, outdated, wasteful paper business cards to digital business cards. How does it work? Meet new people and share your contact with them quicker with Squiqr. Share your contacts from your mobile phone. Squiqr will be your digital business card. No more typing in names, numbers and all that jazz. Time to stop printing 10 billion business cards a year.
We interview co-founder Mark, Chief Paper Saver at SquiQR! The team of this digital business cards brand is on a mission is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with paper waste. They have combined today’s digital technology with the traditional art of exchanging business cards. It’s the art of networking and building authentic relationships in a modern, eco-conscious and impactful way. He shares the impact we could make: saving 120,000 trees per year. Ready to take your business to the next level?
Hi Mark, tell us a bit about yourself and where this passion to deal with deforestation as well as the all-digital world come from?
Hi! I’m the creator and co-founder of Squiqr. I really enjoy being in natural surroundings, especially in the ocean as surfing is one of my main passions in life. I’ve always been an outdoorsy person who cares about the environment. I’m a firm believer that each of us can make the world a better place to live just from the simple choices we make every single day.
As I became more aware of climate change, I learned just how much deforestation affects so many people’s lives. Taking a stand against deforestation became a passion for me after seeing the detrimental effects it continues to have on wildlife, our oceans, our ecosystems and the overall health of our planet and our future. And it’s not just about saving forests and protecting plant and animal species. There are human rights abuses frequently associated with logging, pulp and paper mills, mining and other extractive industries. People living in forests communities throughout the world are unjustly losing their land and their way of life.
Before starting Squiqr, I was working with another social enterprise working to decrease CO2 emissions with the use of Tesla electric vehicles, which helped me to become more educated on global warming. While researching for business cards online, I became dissatisfied because it was all the same and I knew there was a better way. I brainstormed various ideas of exchanging and sharing contact information that wouldn’t require the typical, generally wasted piece of the paper business card. We all have smartphones that we can’t leave the house without so coming up with a digital business card concept was the obvious alternative.
Why did you start SquiQR digital business cards and what is the mission of the brand?
From my personal experience, I felt that business cards were such a waste in so many ways – time, money and our natural resources, of course. Squiqr was started to help solve a lot of its pain points such as ordering cards, carrying them around, and handing out and receiving them. The innocent, little pieces of paper just end up in piles and ultimately, into the trash can. The whole networking experience is just not efficient when it comes to exchanging and storing someone’s contact information. Not to mention, it can be pretty impersonal and disconnecting dishing out a static piece of paper. It’s why we’ve created a platform where savvy, eco-conscious professionals can make the switch from old school, outdated, wasteful paper business cards to Squiqr Business cards.
One of Squiqr’s main mission is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with paper waste. We also want to spread more awareness on the social and environmental impact that people can choose to make. As socially conscious Millennials and Gen Z’ers continue to grow up into the workforce, it’s important to share that they have an eco-friendly alternative. A simple decision of refusing to contribute to unnecessary deforestation will make a positive impact on the future of our planet, and on millions of people and animals all over the world.
Our mid and long term goals for Squiqr is to become a platform where individuals can unite for the common good and elevate humanity altogether. In addition to attracting and connecting with like-minded people, Squiqr will be a place where socially and environmentally conscious individuals can promote their personal brand and inspire others by sharing their life purpose. We’re building Squiqr to become a social network for the socially good.
The name behind “Squiqr” is really just the concept I came up with to describe the simple idea and smooth act of “scanning quicker.” The last two letters spelled with “q-r” represents the fact that QR codes are used in the process. Our trademarked tagline and it’s unique spelling, “Smooth’r, Smart’r, Quiq’r™” was created in a way that would lead one to figure out the correct pronunciation of our funky brand name, Squiqr!
For those who’d never thought of its impact, can you please share with us why replacing our paper with digital business cards is better?
Yes. Most people (including myself before I did my research) aren’t aware that approximately 10 billion business cards are printed every year. Over 27 million business cards are printed daily in the USA alone. What’s even more shocking is that 88% of them are tossed into the trash within one week. This turns into a massive amount of paper waste that ends up decomposing in landfills. Here is where they emit methane, a type of greenhouse gas that is roughly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. This, of course, contributes to global warming.
In addition, paper production is one of the most resource-intensive and polluting of all manufacturing industries. The process includes the release of other harmful emissions to the atmosphere and water bodies, such as carcinogenic bleaches and dioxins.
Deforestation is devastating communities and their livelihoods and driving species like the Sumatran tiger toward extinction. Protecting our forests, which provides habitat for 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people including 70 million Indigenous peoples is also a huge impact people can make by making the switch to Squiqr Business cards.
We’re combining today’s digital technology with the traditional art of exchanging business cards. The act of scanning one another’s Squiqr card is purposefully made this way to help maintain human interaction. There’s eye contact, genuine conversations and interpreting body language. It’s the art of networking and building authentic relationships in a modern, eco-conscious and impactful way.Protecting our forests, which provides habitat for 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people including 70 million Indigenous peoples is also a huge impact people can make by making the switch… Click To Tweet
How can people create their digital business cards on your platform?
Anyone can have their digital business card created simply by filling out a short form on our website. They can click, Squiqr Business on our navigation bar, which will lead them directly to the form. We ask for a photo of their current paper business card so that we have a good idea of their branding including their logo and color scheme. We will also maintain communication with each person if needed. We’re happy to help anyone who decides to make the switch from wasteful paper business cards to positively impactful, paperless ones!
You don’t have to be a business professional or even have your own business card. We offer a free version where anyone can sign up on Squiqr’s homepage. It’s a great way to experience how the Squiqr process works. Plus, it’s a slick way of sharing your contact information with someone you first meet. People are usually amazed when they first see the smooth, swift scan of our Squiqr codes in action.
Squiqr is all about personal branding and representing one’s style and purpose. Our Squiqr Styles allows people to choose different designs that reflect who they are. One of our popular styles includes “V Gang” designs that Vegans really love. For example, Vegans can introduce themselves as “Cruelty-Free” and show what they stand for. Flashing their personalized Squiqr card sparks the conversation about the benefits of being Vegan, which can lead to an engaging and educational chat. The various Squiqr styles give everyone the chance to introduce themselves in a memorable and more meaningful way. It’s an ice breaker representing what each individual is all about. A few other fun styles include Sweet Succulents, Grl Pwr, and Rainbow Radness.
And once created, how can they actually share their contact using the QR code?
Sharing your contact information is as simple as showing someone a photo from your Photos app.
The best way (for now) is to add/create a new album in your Photos App. You can label it Squiqr Cards (or whatever else you want to name it). Save your Squiqr card to this album. When you want to retrieve it, just open Photos and click on this album.
Some users have it set on their lock screen. We can design it in a way that it doesn’t interfere with the time display.
If you’re at a networking event, it’s best just to have it open and ready for some swift scanning action!
Why is creating digital business cards with you Smooth’r + Smart’r + Quiq’r?
Adding a new contact usually requires someone to type in names and numbers. With Squiqr, there’s no need to type in a single letter or digit. It’s so smooth because a swift scan gets all your pre-selected contact information to appear right into someone else’s Contacts list. We can also include email addresses, additional phone numbers, company name, title and even location.
It’s smarter because it saves people and companies money all the while protecting our planet. Also, when people change jobs, titles, phone numbers or any other contact details, there’s no need to reprint new business cards and no need to throw away unused ones either. We’ll just update your Squiqr code. The beauty of it is that we can create multiple Squiqr cards for your multiple networks. Share your business-related info with business professionals and keep your personal info within your social circle.
It’s way quicker simply because there’s no more data entry involved. You get a lot more info into your prospect’s phone without having to type a single key. It allows more time to engage in a conversation that matters to you and your personal brand.
What kind of people in the digital or non-digital business think should start using your business cards?
Squiqr is not just for those who work in a traditional business setting. Everyone has a personal brand whether they think they do or not. Each of us has our own unique skill, talent, purpose or cause we live by. We’re encouraging everyone to embrace their uniqueness, share their individuality and inspire others to carry out their own purpose in life. It’s for anyone who stands for something, especially if they’re advocating for positive social and environmental impact.
From a business perspective, we have found that network marketers, freelancers and sales representatives find great value in our Squiqr Business cards. It has helped them better connect with others and has even helped many achieve more sales.
Small businesses to large corporations can include Squiqr Business into their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives too. By choosing to go Squiqr Biz Pro, they help decrease greenhouse gas emissions, save our rainforests to support our future generations and show their compassion for millions of people who are affected by the destructive effects of deforestation. They are the ones who can make the greatest impact. They also cut major costs on buying typical business cards. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved.
Do you work alongside any organisations on your mission to “Save our Trees, Busy Bees and Our Planet”?
Yes! Our budding partnership with One Tree Planted allows us to plant one tree for every Squiqr Business card purchased. Forests are critical to the survival of every living thing on Earth. Forests clean the air, absorb greenhouse gas emissions, and stabilize the climate—both globally and locally.
Our ecosystems and livelihood are at serious risk. Adverse effects of deforestation have affected the population of bees who have been shown to be valuable pollinators of crops including apples, almonds, kale, and blackberries just to name a few. Without bees, there would be a massive decline in the destruction of crops. Extinction of bees would affect plants, animals, availability of fuels, topography, clothing and of course, human life.
By going paperless with Squiqr Business, people contribute to environmental restoration by protecting forests and defending wildness and biodiversity. Not only would someone be saving trees, but they would also be helping to plant trees and contribute to our purpose of global reforestation throughout regions in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
It’s widely known that our planet is heating up from human activities and scientists agree that we humans are putting too much carbon in the atmosphere, like when we choose to extract and burn coal, oil, and gas or cut down and burn forests.
There are many different ways we can all do our part to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change. Our daily choices will be the limiting factor in reducing emissions and providing our future generations with a sustainable world.
When it comes to the SquiQR positive impact, could you share some data on how many trees we could save for every specific amount of printed business cards?
93% of paper is made from trees
1 sheet of paper = 10 business cards
500 sheets (1 ream) = 5,000 business cards = 6% of a tree
16.67 reams of paper (16.67*500) = 8,335 sheets of paper (8,335*10 cards/sheet) = 83,350 business cards = 1 tree
10 billion business cards are printed every year.
We can save about 120,000 trees per year. The social and environmental impact is even greater when you consider all the associated effects of deforestation and the pulp and paper industry’s manufacturing process.
You are based in all over the place, digitally! How does the social and eco-entrepreneurial venture look like there? Are there any exciting things and change for good happening in the country AND local area? Do you see people becoming eco-conscious?
We work remotely to serve all corners of the world. I am based in Los Angeles, California and our co-founder, Tun is located in Phuket, Thailand. We also have team members in Barcelona, Spain and in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Here in LA, there’s been a massive movement around environmental and social progress. We’ve become among the greenest cities in the US and the state of California certainly sets the standard for environmental legislation and regulations that promote sustainability and good stewardship of natural resources. LA has been called the Silicon Valley of Social Impact and has become the mecca of socially conscious companies. More influential green organizations have been founded in L.A. than in many other cities. It’s a great place to get started and connect with the socially impactful and eco-conscious business community.
Yes, Angelenos are becoming more and more eco-conscious. From sustainable fashion brands to a growing number of electric vehicles on the road, solar energy and clean tech, to ban all single-use plastic straws by Oct 1- Los Angeles is paving the way for a cleaner, greener planet.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to other businesses trying to make a difference for good?
I would say that it’s really important to understand how it feels to have compassion. Make sure your whole team can appreciate this essential quality too. This will help sustain your desire to carry out your mission while feeding off the positive energy that surrounds you. Flourish authentic relationships with those who truly align with your values. Help as many people as you can along the way, and most of all, enjoy every moment the journey.
If you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
Seek within to discover your life purpose and love your full evolution.My advice for those #socialenterprises trying to make a difference for good is that it’s really important to understand how it feels to have compassion. Make sure your whole team can appreciate this essential quality too. Help as… Click To Tweet
Finally, where can we find you? Shops, online, worldwide…?
Anyone can get their free personalized Squiqr code and card at www.squiqr.com. It’s where you may also shop Squiqr styles and start promoting your personal brand. We’re social on Instagram (@squiqr), and Twitter (@HeySquiqr).
We’re also working to develop our app to improve user experience and provide greater functionality features. We want to enhance the entire networking and personal branding experience by making it more efficient for the purpose of flourishing more social and environmental good around the world. We’ll be sure to let you know once our first iteration is released.
We’re always looking for like-minded people to join our remote team and I’m always open to any feedback or suggestions on how we can do more good. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a business we’d like you to go full-equip, planting trees and doing good. Do you need tissue and compostable mailer? NOISSUE!