We spoke with the founder of Refilled Chichester, Esther, on why she and her husband Harry set-up a zero-waste shop.
This is their inspiring story of travel, love and business...
What inspired you to start Refilled?
We got married in November 2017, and decided to go travelling to New Zealand. We were both a bit “stuck” in our jobs and what we wanted to do and how to move forward so we thought we would go and enjoy ourselves and work in New Zealand as well as exploring.
Harry was a sail maker and I (Esther) was the catering and housekeeping manager at a sailing Centre.
In New Zealand we found that they look after their country and wildlife so much better than us English and are far more aware of shopping local and without the plastic.
We hadn’t really thought much about it at all until we realised how much damage we humans do to the planet! We came across a shop in Auckland called GoodFor and shopped there for all our dry goods, we enjoyed the fact the you of course didn’t have the plastic but also you could buy what you needed. Another perk being you don’t need to waste anything, you buy the amount you need or if you are trying a recipe out you just buy the amount you need for that recipe and then if you don’t like the recipe you don’t have loads of plastic packets of things you aren’t going to use! Also of course supporting a small business who does their best with ethical and green suppliers I like.
When we left Auckland after working there for 3 months we both said how lovely it would be to have our own shop where people of Chichester could shop like this! We had big dreams and chatted in length about how we could do it on all our walks and climbs up beautiful mountains!
How are you finding running Refilled?
When we arrived back in the UK in July we set about it and managed to be open by mid October. It was a fantastic start in a small unit in Drapers yard but we soon found we were so busy we needed more space so in June we moved to a double until and added a shed for all the liquids. August time we felt we wanted to add a tea and coffee shop too as so many people kept asking for loose tea and loose coffee! That’s were you guys come in so by November we opened our little cafe in the same just another until for people to come in for the best tea around and locally roasted coffee too. We love the ethos of Leaves of the World and are proud to stock their beautiful spot on tasting teas. Organic and fair trade is so important to us and Sam and Jason clearly care about the world and great tasting tea!
What does the future hold for Refilled?
Now it’s June 2020 and we are expecting our first baby any day now and with the café closed due to covid we changed how we did things in March and moved to creating an online store for people to order online and have it delivered or make a collection from us. All change but it’s all fun and we hope to open the cafe again in July once we have had a little time off with our new family member. The shop of course is still open and you can see what we do at www.refilledchichester.com all the tea of course is on there for our customers to enjoy at home!