What inspired you to start your business?
I went from room to room in my house and recorded the number of single-use plastic items, and the list for 2 people and a cat was astonishing. I knew there were some places to refill a few items, but nothing that offered enough. I realized that Durango, with our conscientious residents, would be a great place to experiment with a refilling station.
What is your business' mission?
Future generations of all species are depending on us...our mission is to reduce single-use plastic consumerism by offering a refilling station for personal care and household products, including bath, body, facial, laundry and cleaning supplies. We are brick and mortar and will not offer online sales, to further reduce packaging waste and the carbon footprint of excessive shipping.
How do you support the community?
Part of my business model is to carry many locally-made products, such as shampoo, conditioner, shaving, and soap bars by Passion Flower Beauty, reusable bowl and casserole dish covers by Well-covered and Green, laundry detergent by Mineral Rain, and several others. WeFill is a member of the Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce, and Local First. We have donated products, time, and money to charitable organizations and neighbors in need. Our products are clean, many are organic, and therefore not harmful for the wastewater that enters the soils and waterways in our area.
What keeps you going and inspired each day?
My motivation is to help people reduce their plastic waste, not just from the products I sell, but in changing shopping habits. The first step is to refuse plastic if possible, then to reduce, reuse, and refill. My customers are what inspire me, encourage me, and keep me going day to day. WeFill provides positive reinforcement for every small act of the 5 "R's", Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Refill, and lastly, Recycle.
What was your biggest challenge or risk? How did it work out?
I assumed everyone knew about the insurmountable, worldwide dilemma of plastic waste; therefore, I believed everyone would want to begin making changes for the better. I was wrong. Educating the public has been and will continue to be an ongoing part of WeFill. I had a wonderful intern from Animas High School speak at most of the elementary and middle schools about plastic pollution and what we can do as individuals to help. Giving these talks, collaborating with other businesses, numerous radio shows, and hosting a beautiful, yet terribly sad film, “Albatross”, has helped teach Durango not just about the problem, but more importantly, what we can do about it.
What is the secret to being a successful business in a small town?
Exceptional customer service is key to being successful in a small town. I may not remember everyone's name, yet I do my best to remember a child's school project, a sick loved-one, or an upcoming adventure. We are all on different paths on how we can live a cleaner life; and it is crucial to always commend people on the steps they are taking, even if it’s just one bottle refilled at a time.
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