This weeks Small Business Saturday featured business is Clean Refillery. Clean Refillery is located in REO Town and is Lansing’s first low-waste shop! What is a low waste shop? Think bringing your own container in to refill with dish soap, or purchasing a shampoo bar to reuse multiple times. The options are endless!
Alexa Hecksel is the founder of Clean Refillery founder-her goal is to help our community reduce its waste and make a low waste lifestyle less daunting. This darling store gets you thinking how simple, everyday changes can make such an impact on our environment! Purchasing beeswax wrappers to use in kids lunches instead of disposable sandwich baggies. Or one of our personal favorites at Clean Refillery-the glass straws! These can be used over and over for smoothies or iced coffee. Such a simple change that helps eliminate the need for plastic straws.
Next time you’re in REO Town, be sure to check out Clean Refillery. You will be amazed at the options Alexa has available to make these simple changes to a low-waste lifestyle. She has also been generous to offer our followers a discount code just for mentioning this article. And be sure to say hello to sweet Winnie, the furry mascot of Clean Refillery ♥
Welcome to Small Business Saturday, Clean Refillery!
Tell us about Clean Refillery! (The who, what, when, where and why of Clean Refillery!)
Clean Refillery was a dream of mine for nearly 4 years now. I spent time thinking about what my impact on the world and people around me was after my dad passed away and realized that my daily consumption and purchasing habits affected people around me. I began asking questions about what I was buying like, who made it? Were they paid a fair wage? What conditions were they working in? I also wondered if the things I bought would affect future generations. Would they biodegrade, or would I just be leaving a big mess for them to clean up when I wasn’t around anymore.
I tried to start reducing the amount of excess and trash that I brought into my life and noticed that it was harder to buy products with less packaging, or eco friendly packaging in the home and personal care categories. I started buying products online and testing out what I thought were good low waste alternatives. My friends and family started asking me for recommendations and I realized that I had a list of low waste products that I liked and could stand behind that could be turned into a shop.
Customers can come to Clean Refillery with their own containers from home to refill their home and personal care items like laundry detergent, dish soap, all purpose cleaner, shampoo, conditioner and more! Our goal is to help our community reduce its waste and make a low waste lifestyle less daunting.
What’s your background? What made you go into what you’re doing now?
I grew up here in Lansing and moved back after going to school in upstate New York for a year. I initially planned to go into a medical field, but after stopping school to help take care of my dad and spending time in hospitals I reevaluated what career I thought would make me happy. I now work as a professional photographer and managing Clean Refillery.
What do you love about having a business in the Greater Lansing area?
Lansing is such an amazing community. It’s full of collaborative people who genuinely want to continue making Lansing a better place to live and work. I can’t express how grateful I am for the way the community has embraced Clean Refillery.
What has been the most challenging part of running your business during COVID, and how did you overcome it?
Clean Refillery was actually born in the pandemic. With less work back in March and April 2020 I was able to start taking steps toward making the dream of a refillery a reality. I had initially hoped to open a storefront starting out, but quickly realized with the pandemic and financial constraints that it wasn’t the best idea. Figuring out how to run a refillery online was difficult, because so much of what helps people understand how a refillery works is the visual factor. We were able to make it work and grow an amazing base that allowed us to open our REO Town storefront in April of 2021.
What are some exciting plans you have for the business in closing out 2021 and as we move towards 2022?
I’m really excited to host events at the shop. At the end of October we’re going to be hosting a mug swap event. So many of us have old coffee mugs that don’t make us happy anymore. This event will be a chance to trade mugs with other people and participants will get 10% off in the shop!
Do you have a few key tips for someone wanting to live a more “low-waste” lifestyle?
Choose one thing and conquer it before adding in more low waste changes. It is so hard to integrate a ton of low waste changes and can be overwhelming. That’s why I prefer the term low waste rather than zero waste. Zero waste isn’t possible, low waste is something that is attainable. My first low waste change was bringing my own container to restaurants for my leftovers, rather than using their disposable takeout container.
What is one of the most unique containers someone has brought in to reuse?
I’ve seen some really gorgeous, old mason jars that people have found in their grandparents’ basements. I also love it when customers just put things in their pockets and don’t even bring a container. I’m still waiting for the container that knocks my socks off though!
What are some of the most popular items you sell? We know one of our favorites – the glass straws!
Our top sellers are our Body+Hand Wash from Oneka Elements, Laundry Detergent and Dish Soap from Fresh Coast Clean.
What is your favorite business or two in the Greater Lansing area ?
I’m a huge fan of Ham Sweet Farm in Williamston and adore Debbie Carlos Studio. My mom and I recently joined Ham Sweet Farm’s CSA program. I can’t say how happy it makes me to eat meat from animals that were treated well. Debbie makes the most amazing ceramic pieces. I also have to plug my mom’s audiology practice MaryRose Hecksel AuD, she’s super compassionate and loves helping people hear the world around them again.
We love your sweet dog, Winnie! Does she get to come to the store daily?
Winnie is a dream. She’s usually at the shop when I am on weekdays. Honestly, it isn’t my shop, it’s hers. I wish that everybody could see how excited she gets when she hears me making my coffee and grabbing my keys in the morning because she knows that we’re going to work.
Alexa has generously offered GLAMom followers a 10% off discount in the shop, just show her this post!