I don't know the answer and I don't think it is the same for everyone, but here are a few things I have heard from those closing their doors to their zero waste sustainable refill stores.
'People aren't buying'
'I have put all of my time, money and heart into this and I still haven't been able to pay myself'
'The people in my community say they want my services, but they don't follow through and I am not making enough to keep my doors open'
There's more to every story and I am sure it is a heartbreaking decision to walk away from your dream of providing such meaningful work and something you have put everything into. It makes me second guess opening a store front in Key West and trying to manage the overhead in a town where prices are outrageous.
At the same time, there are amazing success stories where refilleries are opening secondary locations, creating their own products, offering more services and thriving in their community. So is it the community, the products, the mindset, the marketing, the variety or options available or the local competition?
The last two stores that closes reached out to our low waste network Facebook group and asked if other stores would consider buying inventory at cost to help reduce the loss. Keyfillery is tiny and I am still storing my inventory in my living room and loft. But I decided to do what I could and placed an order of a few items I already carry and a handful of items I had been meaning to try out. It wasn't much, but I hope it lifted a little weight off their shoulders.
We will be offering limited quantities of these items online as well as at the upcoming Sunday Artisan Markets. If there is interest in these products we will consider carrying them full time. Creep on over to our online store to check out what has been added. Here's a quick highlight:
- Huppy Toothpaste Tablets
- Herb & Root Dry Shampoo
- Mini Dip Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
- Palo Santo Sticks
- Marley's Monsters UNpaper Towels
My goal is to reach out to those refilleries who are closing or are considering closing as well as those who have found success and are growing a successful business. I would love to hear from those who are reading this now, because you are the customer, you are the ones showing up and supporting this movement. We all know that there needs to be a shift in our we all purchase and reuse our waste. A refillery is a logical answer but not everyone is on board. If you find a couple minutes in your day, shoot me an email back with answers or just some of your thoughts about the questions below:
Do you shop at sustainable stores like a refillery?
If you haven't jumped on board yet, what is holding you back? (access, easy of refilling, time, product selection, it requires yet another stop when running errands)
Do you consider the ethics that go hand in hand with a sustainable shop like a refillery? When purchasing items do you look at where the products are made, how they are made and by whom they are made by, as well as how those people are treated?
Is your community actively supporting this type of mindset or is it still a foreign concept?
Is it easier to purchase online or do you prefer shopping for things you need in person? Would you be more likely to refill your personal care products and cleaning products if you had the ability to come into a store?
Where do you buy your personal care products and cleaning products now, if you don't purchase through a refillery?
Is there anything you would like to know more about: closed loop, composting, product selection, ingredients, how to get started on your refill journey - reach out I would love to chat.
I could go on and on, but these are all questions that run through my head daily and I wholehearted am interested in what you think. You're reading this because you believe our world needs a pivot and to redirect towards a more sustainable way of functioning.