CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — When P.E.I. native Jessica Wood moved back to Charlottetown from B.C. on Jan. 9, she wasted no time getting to work on her new dream business.
She had business experience, a good idea, a prime downtown location and the perfect business partner – her sister, Helena.
The business model was simple: create a space where P.E.I. residents can bring biodegradable containers and have them refilled with locally made eco-friendly products, instead of throwing them in the trash.
The business, which they call Rosewood Refillery, will be the first in Charlottetown to offer the service, something Jessica said makes her feel very proud.
“I’ve always been very environmentally minded and wanted to really reduce my impact while also looking into the toxicity of products, what we put on our skin, what we put in our houses and what we put on our bodies,” she told SaltWire Network in an interview on Jan. 11.
“There was that hole in the market again, so it just seemed like a no-brainer.”
Jessica had previously owned a business in B.C. called Taylor and Mae Eco Collective, where she offered a similar refillery service.
“There was a lot of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm from the town,” she said.
When she planned to move back to P.E.I., the decision to partner with her sister was an obvious one, as Helena was already co-owner of her own business, Cured Creations, on Kent Street in Charlottetown with partner Jen McKenna.
“My sister had the space, so partnering together was an exciting idea as well and having that family business in our hometown,” said Jessica.
At the refillery, residents can bring empty containers where they can be weighed out and refilled with products such as handmade soap, detergents and cleaning products.
Other locally made biodegradable items will also be for sale, such as wooden toothbrushes, lotions, shampoos and conditioners.
“You can continue to bring in the same containers, so it really is a pretty low-waste lifestyle,” she said.
For Helena, to open the refillery alongside her current business made sense, as Cured Creations not only had the space but a similar mission statement.
“When the idea came to us to create a local market refillery, we thought it was great since we already sell local charcuterie items, local pickles and local breads,” Helena told SaltWire Network on Jan. 11.
“We thought it was a nice mix of both companies,” she said.
Like Jessica, Helena has long been mindful and passionate about environmentally-friendly products.
With the impacts of climate change becoming more apparent in the province in recent years, having more green business models such as the refillery is something the province could greatly benefit from in the long term.
“We’re surrounded by water, so reducing the single-use plastics and things like that we can do to protect how beautiful P.E.I. is, I think, is really important.”
Cured Creations will continue to operate as it does, with the goal to create an inclusive space where customers can have a coffee and sandwich while browsing the locally made products offered by the refillery.
“We want to be able to offer as many things in a comfortable, fun environment. Come on in, bring your laptop, have a seat in our little area, have a coffee and browse,” she said.
For Helena, having the opportunity to run a business with her sister has been an exciting and fulfilling endeavour.
“It feels great. My sister and I have been entrepreneurs our entire lives, we’ve always talked about starting a business together, so it feels great to finally be able to do that and do it in an established business that my partner and I have created over the last few years,” she said.
“I’m excited to be back in the Maritimes, I’m excited to start a business with my sister and my family to see how it grows and what happens,” she said.
The public is invited to the grand opening on Feb. 1, where charcuterie snacks will be served and products will be available to sample.
Rafe Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian