UNLESS someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing’s going to get better.
— Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)
There once was a girl who loved summer camping trips with her family, where they’d explore the forested wilderness of Northern British Columbia. However, one part of their adventures filled this usually carefree and joyful young girl with sadness and heavy emotions that she was too young to name. From the backseat of their family sedan, she could see huge “scars in the earth”– vast clear-cuts of missing trees where “Once-lers” had been at work, leaving destruction in their wake.
It wasn’t until little Nikki saw Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax for the first time at six years old that she began to understand. The short-sightedness of greed-driven natural-resource destruction, consumerism, and once-used products created immense damage to the earth and caused her great anxiety.
As a young woman, she set out to live in a way that was better for the world. Serendipitously, fate delivered her a life partner who was just as passionate about sustainability. After years of learning how to live an eco-conscious, zero-waste lifestyle, they realized that they could make an even bigger impact by launching a purpose-driven business focused on providing eco-safe products and reducing the amount of single-use plastic going into landfills.
In 2016, Nikki Self and her partner Christian von Seydlitz launched Saponetti, Toronto’s first zero-waste store for life’s essential products and eco-living methods, knowledge and inspiration. Saponetti provides a one-stop solution for the eco-safe products you use daily to achieve cleanliness, wellbeing and joy.
Their goal was to help channel people’s anxiety and desire to do something about waste, emissions and planetary exploitation into positive action and empowerment by adopting eco-conscious living. Continuously working towards a zero-waste lifestyle themselves, they understand the roadblocks and challenges that exist when making this shift – so they designed their business not only around helping people reduce their environmental footprint but around making it effortless and enjoyable to do so.
While electricity powers the vehicles that deliver weekly refills to their loyal customer base, positivity is the fuel that keeps Nikki, Christian and the team at Saponetti running. The business’s bricks-and-mortar refill station allows customers to come into direct contact with that positivity and provides Nikki and Christian with the chance to connect with the people who feel the impact of what Saponetti offers. So, when a customer says, “I’m so glad to have found you and am thrilled that you’re doing what you’re doing,” a loop of positivity is boosted into its next cycle.
You see, Saponetti is more than a retailer. It’s a community. It’s a movement. Saponetti is committed to transparency and truth, empowerment, wellbeing, and elevating collective consciousness. As they grow and expand their business, Nikki and Christian are also leading the way in further developing the circular economy and move humanity back into a symbiotic relationship with planet earth. Their customers are people who share their beliefs, as are their partners and suppliers. While Saponetti aims to help their customers make more sustainable choices, they hope to facilitate similar shifts in how the businesses operate. The goal is to ensure quality and integrity at every point along the Saponetti supply chain. As the company grows, they will continue to seek community-based makers and entrepreneurs to collaborate with, increasing their global impact while pursuing a business-to-neighbour model of operation.
Saponetti’s refillables are an invitation to trade anxiety and paralysis for joy, celebration and to be a part of a movement. When we, as individuals, realize what we can achieve by reducing household waste, we will be inspired to work with others to grow our impact. We are not beholden to an exploitative economy, and we do not need to continually accumulate more “things.” Instead, we need to show up and step up for what’s right, find the inspiration to keep going and build a better future for generations to come.