The Refill Goodness story began in 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Two women, living 6 hours apart, simultaneously recognized the increased amount of waste being created at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown. Joining forces, we focused on the goal to help reduce single use plastic and pollution in our respective locations. To make Refill Goodness unique, we leaned on strong influences from our lives, including my Grandmother and the Girl Scouts. We incorporated family recipes, ingredients and life hacks into our company. While the basic model is simple, using your existing containers to refill home and body care staples, launching during a global pandemic and quickly adapting to the rapidly evolving economic landscape required more strategy.
To address shopping concerns during a global lockdown, we created a delivery service in Cleveland, OH (home of co-owner Jenn Szalkowski). Customers ordered delivery through our ecommerce platform and we dropped their orders on their front stoops. As people returned to their pre-Covid routines, we added an event schedule where loyal customers could visit us to refill in addition to offering delivery. Rooted in outdoor events like farmer’s markets, we learned to pivot and adjust to meet our customers at their level. Forecasting traditional shopping patterns would return, we opened a pop up space for our refillers to visit, at the historic Screw Factory in Lakewood, OH. We found a foothold in Kent Island, MD (where co-owner Jennifer Vedrani lives), at a weekly farmer’s market. Building on the momentum of the market, we opened our Stevensville, MD location in 2021.
Our mission to address the environmental concerns associated with the abuse of single use plastic were being heard. We found a niche that was not bound by traditional buyer personas but crosses a diverse demographic span. As we built out additional community activities and partnered with local zero waste and plastic free non-profits, we strengthened our position as an advocate for our local communities and partner in efforts to reduce litter and waste.
In 2022, disaster struck when our warehouse and original pop up location caught fire. Our insurance company determined it was a total loss. For less determined business owners, 2022 might have been the end of Refill Goodness. Instead we pivoted and routed all refills through our ecommerce platform and shipped them out of the Maryland location. In 2023 we joined forces with a collective in Ohio and reopened in January of 2023. This model allows us to expand while minimizing overhead. In Q4 2023 we brought production of our top selling products in house to reduce COGS and increase gross margins. We recently rolled out a referral program in February and created a class schedule to attract new refillers. We are clear that to succeed we must continue to innovate products and programs that support our local communities, keep our customers coming back for more and allow us to stay true to our mission.
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