As a stay-at-home mom, Kerry Jones Steil of Shawnee was troubled by reports of extreme weather and temperatures caused by global warming.
“I just felt a little like, I wish I could do something, but I’m just one person in the Midwest,” she said.
So what did she do? Jones Steil lacked the following of celebrities and influencers, she said.
- But then her mother, Barbette Jones of Lee’s Summit, came up with an idea: why not start a pop-up business selling eco-friendly soaps and lotions from containers you could refill?
Catch up quick: That was last May.
- Now Jones Steil and her mother have a downtown Shawnee store (and a blue van for pop-up events) doing the business Barbette suggested after reading about it in a Colorado magazine.
Suds Refillery, at 11111 West 59th Terrace just off Nieman Road near downtown Shawnee, offers a gamut of low-impact cleansing and personal care products – toothpaste tablets, bath salts and bamboo toilet paper to name a few – with a different sort of business model.
- Customers can bring their own containers, choose from a few free recycled containers at the store or buy a container from the shop.
- The products are then sold by weight, after subtracting the weight of the container.
- You can visit their website here.
Key quote: “Our whole reason for starting this store was to show people there is a different way to consume – a way to consume products with less waste,” Jones Steil said.
Backstory: The business started out of a blue van at various locations, she said.
- She and her mother at first had hoped to locate at farmer’s markets but were turned away from some because the two didn’t make the items they were selling.
- Jones Steil said many products are locally sourced or from producers that offer them as refillables.
- Not getting into farmer’s markets was a “bummer,” but she said she still has hopes that will change.
State of play: In the meantime, Suds Refillery had some successes at events at McLain’s Market in downtown Shawnee.
- As time went on, she realized the business needed to be more convenient to customers who wanted to find them easily when they ran low on soap, she said.
- Suds Refillery has been in the 59th Terrace storefront since September.
- Besides the soaps, the business encourages recycling in other ways, Jones Steil said.
- They dedicated a recycle bin for Halloween candy wrappers and also have a drop-off point for prom dresses and undergarments to be donated to a church that has a prom boutique, she said.
A final thing about Suds Refillery
People can also swap buckets of compost there, or sign up for Food Cycle KC, an organization that collects food waste for composting.
- The store also offers a sign-up for Food Cycle’s curbside service.
Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist who reports frequently for the Post and other Kansas City area publications. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.