For our latest homegrown business we chatted with eco+amour’s founders Sarah Marcus, Laura Craig and Julianne Robicheau about their sustainable living beauty boutique that focusses on product refill in the bath, body and home categories.
What is your business called and what does it do?
eco+amour is a sustainable living beauty boutique with a focus on product refill in the bath, body and home categories. Customers can bring in any clean, dry containers, fill up and pay based on weight- making it easy to buy only what you really need and enjoy a zero-waste victory! The store also carries a selection of eco-friendly, pre-packaged items for you and your home.
What made you want to do this work?
Between the three co-founders, we manage two green beauty brands and are hyper-aware of the amount of packaging waste created in our industry. Prior to opening eco+amour, we were already refiling our products for friends and family which made the transition to a retail space an easy one.
Zero-waste stores are quickly popping up throughout Canada, but Toronto is quite behind with dedicated refill destinations, particularly in non-food categories. We knew the demand was there, and we had the industry connections to get other brands on board. eco+amour is the first refill boutique in the GTA to really focus on beauty and personal care items.
What problem does this solve?
It’s estimated that the global cosmetics industry creates 120 billion units of packaging per year and in Canada, less than 11 percent of all plastics are recycled. These are insanely frightening stats, and we wanted to contribute to a solution that most people will find easy to incorporate into their daily lives.
By reusing bottles and jars that would otherwise be thrown in the bin, our customers are contributing to the solution. Change is happening.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
It’s so inspiring to see the range of customers at eco+amour. From health + wellness buffs to new moms; millennials to a grandfather wanting to make a difference in his grandson’s future. Some customers are just starting a clean-living journey, while others are highly invested in a zero-waste lifestyle. We welcome everyone and enjoy meeting new people every day.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
By selling a curated selection of eco-friendly and sustainable goods for you, your family and your home. Customers can visit the store to refill products or they can shop our pre-packaged goods in store + online at www.ecoandamour.com.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
Our shop is located at 30 Bertrand Ave, Unit B106 in Scarborough. And online at www.ecoandamour.com.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?
How green are the products?
Bulk refill is always great from a zero-waste perspective, but it’s also incredibly important to ensure that what you’re refilling is natural and gentle. Greenwashing is a big concern in the beauty sector and, more than ever, consumers are taking control by thoroughly reviewing ingredient listings. Watch for things like hidden fragrance or ingredients that are known irritants. We take great pride in ensuring that all of the brands we feature in the store are truly green and that their corporate ethos is in line with that of ours.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
Hands down, the best part is the reaction we’re getting from our customers. People walk in the shop for the first time with so much enthusiasm. We also feel very lucky to love what we’re doing; there is definitely a sense of fulfillment at the end of each day.
The most challenging part of our business, is getting the word out. Because this is a new way to shop beauty, people don’t necessarily even know it’s an option– we’re working hard to change that!
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
We’re not sure there are any… yet. But this joke always brings a smile. How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? (wait for it…) TENTACLES! *Groan*, we know, but admit it, you laughed. 🙂
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
We are so lucky to collaborate with many incredibly talented entrepreneurs in Toronto, these include:
Graydon Skincare who was so quick to embrace the refill concept with her plant powered skin + hair care
Siima Handmade who makes beautiful + organic hand sewn clothes and more.
The Urbivore Sisters who make cork-based, eco-friendly yoga mats.