Instagram is a funny thing. It comes up in a lot of conversations with friends, colleagues, customers... it's a mood-board, a portfolio, it's a LinkedIn, a social calendar. It is, in some ways, fascinating, and I genuinely learn from each conversation. But whenever we're in doubt, it has a way of reminding us of the true meaning of a 'social media'; we've made some of the most brilliant connections via the platform. One of which, is Megan, founder of packaging free shop, Re:Store in Hackney Downs Studio. Also one of our most favourite customers; supportive, game to try all sorts of circular economy models, and source of the best customer review, possibly, to date.
Through Re:Store, we found Glasbin, makers of the beautifully handmade glass dispensers we proudly display at our Borough Market stall ready to dispense into all of your reusable packaging. We also saw the power of Solo Wood, and finally took the leap to expand our stall, thanks to the hard upcycling work, that is Solo Wood. And thanks to Megan's parents, we have one of the best customer reviews we could have asked for:
Cat-nip granola. It's like cat-nip, for humans!
- Megan's parents.
We are grateful to Instagram, for Megan, her wonderfully pulp-granola-loving parents, and all that we've shared and learnt.
1. Can you give us an introduction - what is Re:Store about?
Re:Store is a refill shop with zero single-use packaging. Customers bring their own containers to refill and pay by weight for store cupboard essentials, cleaning products, treats and much more! The overall aim is to reduce the use of plastic, as well as waste in general.
2. Where did the idea for creating a bulk, packaging free shop originally come from?
I started my own plastic free journey at the beginning of 2018, swapping out items such as deodorant and toothpaste for the natural plastic-free versions. During this time I was shopping at the two zero waste shops that were in London at the time, and after speaking with the owners I was inspired to open my own.
3. What is one thing you wish people knew about Re:Store?
That it's not expensive! There is a view that zero waste or eco-friendly shopping is more expensive but I've consciously made my pricing accessible.
4. Describe your workplace in 3 words:
Positive, Welcoming, Natural
5. What's the long term, big picture dream, for Re:Store?
The next stage is to look at deliveries to get plastic-free and eco-friendly products out to a wider audience and those that can't access the shop.
6. How do you hope to make a difference?
By helping to convert people to shopping without packaging where possible, and choosing natural planet friendly products. It's been the most satisfying part of opening the shop, helping people who have never shopped this way, to becoming regular customers buying their staples and essentials here every week!
7. What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
In the early stages of running your own business you are your most important asset. Look after yourself because if you burn out, there is no business.
8. What's your favourite Autumn meal?
I find it hard to resist this year round, but a warm comforting daal made with red lentils, lovely spices and coconut milk - plus a good hit of chillies to warm you up!
9. Where would we find you on a Sunday morning?
More often than not I'm at the shop, but if I'm not i'll be in my dressing gown making brunch and watching cooking programmes.
10. What's your number one food waste fighting tip?
Use as much of the vegetable as you can - broccoli stalks in a curry, cauliflower leaves in a stir fry or pasta bake, there's no excuse for throwing away perfectly edible food.
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Photography © Re:Store