The Very Start
I started sailing when I was just 8 years old and always had my heart set on working by the sea whether that was on it or as close as I could get to it. After 2 years of training I was finally qualified to teach and so off on my first season abroad I went. I had an incredible year, met many amazing people and now have some incredible memeroies however my plan to teach and travel the world changed when something hit home with me.
During my year abroad the issue around plastic pollution and the damage to the environment became very apparent. I found it increasingly hard to ignore the sheer volume of plastic water bottles discarded every day and the sight of these bottles littering the beautiful beaches and washing out to sea was unbearable. I felt powerless to make a change in the environment I was in but knew I needed to do something.
I returned home to the UK at the end of the summer committed to living a more eco conscious lifestyle and educating others in the process. Sitting on the plane on the runway in Greece I began to research zero waste shops and was surprised to find none within a reasonable distance of my home. Could this be where I could start to make a difference I wondered. Could I offer people the opportunity to shop in a more environmentally conscious way. I closed my eyes and as the plane climbed my mind started buzzing with ideas and I realised I was about to make a big change in my life. I felt pretty sure that if I wanted to change how I lived, hundreds or even thousands of others would want to too!
Things are starting to take shape! I spent the summer of 2019 (when I wasn't working) sat in coffee shops planning, researching, budgeting and scrolling through Pinterest starting to put together my new business proposal. We visited zero waste shops around the country to get inspriation and chat to other shop owners about their experiences and I finally decided to go for it! We found a little shop in a small village outside Abingdon, put in an offer and in November we picked up the keys. Sea Change Zero Waste was born!
1st November - 14th December
I collected the keys to my shop on 1st November 2019 and then we spent the next 6 weeks building, decorating, collecting pallets from around Oxfordshire and going on countless numbers of trips to IKEA.
Weekends and evenings were spent at the shop ripping pallets apart, building shelving and sanding or at home sat around sketches of what the shop was going to look like whilst I panicked because I couldn't imagine what it would look like. I put my complete trust in Paul and I think he did a pretty good job having never built a shop before, what do you think?
With the help, support and encouragment from my wonderful Mum, Mr Paul, siblings James and Darcy and my boyfriend Nick I opened my first shop Sea Change Zero Waste in Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire in December 2019.
2019 / 2020
Winter - Summer
I'll admit, the first six months didn't go exactly as we had imagined they would. We were three months into the opening of Sea Change when COVID hit! Despite the challenges that this brought, the support we recieved was incredible, and it allowed us to stay open throughout the lockdowns that followed.
The support we got from our loyal customers also meant that, despite the hurdles we had faced, by February 2020 we were in a position to start thinking about opening shop number two! Much like opening our first store just before a global pandemic hit, this had definitely not been part of our original plan; however, we came to realise that we were very quickly out-growing the space we had, due to the increasing demand for more and more products.
Lockdown most certainly slowed down the process, but our determination made it happen! And then the really hard work started...
Ten months after building shop number one, the team and I were back at it and raring to go to start fitting shop number two! Luckily the premises were already in really good condition, and the previous tennant had left loads of old fittings for us to use, which helped save some time. My number one team were amazing; with a bit of hard work we turned the shop around in no time, and Bee Zero came to life! We've been open for what seems like ages now, but I have a feeling it will always feel a bit surreal!
And here we are!
MEET THE TEAM
Hello, I'm Ella!
Favourite eco swap: reuasble cotton pads, natural deodorants and bamboo toothbrushes.
Favourite shop snack: pretzels or pineapple and orange fudge!!
Hi, I'm Laura!
Favourite eco swap: shampoo bars, reusable makeup pads and refillable cordial!
Favourite shop snack: definitely milk chocolate buttons, dried mango and honey cashews!
Hi, I'm Yvonne!
Favourite eco swap: 100% bath bombs, turtle bags and recyclable toothbrush heads.
Favourite shop snacks: ginger and lemon cordial and wasabi peanuts!