Entrepreneur Profile;   Greg Snowden, Green Fusion


by Emily Francher

February 23, 2007


Title: Managing member and founder/CEO.

What it does: Store, design center, marketing gallery for green building products.

HQ: San Anselmo.

2006 revenue: 1.5 million.

Number of employees: 9

Year founded: 2004

Source of startup capital: personal savings, SBA loan and a friend.

Background: John F. Kennedy University for master’s in management arts, as M.B.A. focused on people side of business.

Age: 47

Residence: Fairfax.

Web site: greenfusiondesigncenter.com

Big Picture

Reason for starting business: I saw a need for it, as a homeowner, father, real estate developer and construction manager. I was interested in sustainability and health. I saw all these products out there people could only find on the web with a lot of hard research. I saw a way to do it beyond where people would think it’s crunchy granola, but with style and flair.

Most difficult part of decision: I tried to start this business in 1990. At that point it wasn’t the right time. When I finally decided to do it 14 years later, I felt completely ready to do it.

Biggest plus of ownership: Any time you go after your own passion, you enjoy it. You’re the creator of your own life.

Biggest Drawback: Sometimes the amount of hours. It’s more than I’ve ever worked before, about 70-plus hours a week.

Biggest misconception: Probably that I could grow the business faster.

Biggest business strength: My project management background. I can do creative collaboration with my team. It’s a real challenge to be in a creative design space with designers and collaborate with staff and clients.

Biggest business weakness: Trying to do too much. A number of things we wind up doing, we could rein in, for example, the number of products and the number of events.

Biggest risk: Putting my personal finances on the line was the biggest risk. I’m just a believer it’ll work. Win lose or draw, it’s like the Frank Sinatra song “My Way.”

Biggest mistake: Probably being under capitalized when I started.

Smartest move: Having partnerships that work with vendors. In our showroom marketing gallery, we market products for other people. It’s probably the smartest move we’ve made being a marketing gallery for people who give us a commission or pay for space. That’s helped us create a destination.

Biggest worry: Competition from around the country. Probably everybody is catching onto it…Home Depot is exploring green; they’re doing it in Canada.

Top source of inspiration: Wanting to create healthier and more stylish environments.

Daily routine

Most challenging task: Having enough personal bandwidth to answer all the things going on. For example, (we’re) expanding to the front of the building, taking another 3,500 square feet, 2,000 of which will be showroom space. It’s a lot going on.

Favorite task: Collaborating with people, designers, developers, community leaders.

Least favorite task: Filling out forms.

Biggest frustration: We’re at the point where we have typical growing pains and need certain key players, but we haven’t grown up yet to afford them.

Source of support in a business crisis: I turn to my wife, who’s our marketing director, and my staff and consultants.


Key goal yet to achieve: We have this stellar gallery space and I want people to drive by and say.” We have to go to Green Fusion!”

First move with capital windfall: I would spend it on building Green Fusion from the ground up, in Northern California.

Five-year plan: To have three to 10 stores all over the country or in other countries.

Inducement to sell: A lot of money, and it would have to be in the right hands.


Most admired entrepreneur: The founders of two companies, Whole Foods and IDEO.

Most interested in meeting: Robin Williams.

Stress Reducers: Biking with my kids.

Favorite pastimes: Being with my boys, playing sports, a lot of electronic media.

Favorite book: Jim Collins “Built to Last” because it really talks about the core of businesses, what their real motivation is. That’s a good book to contemplate.

Favorite film: “O Brother , Where Art Thou/”

Favorite restaurant: Iron Springs Brewery in Fairfax.

Favorite destination: Tulum, Mexico.

Automobile: Dodge Grand Caravan.