“Zero waste could definitely be franchised; the trick is having smaller boutique stores pave the learning curve for big companies.” Remarked Dinsmore. Cassidy Dinsmore is the owner of the Daisy Market and Gather, two sustainable living stores in the Collingwood area. The Daisy Market is a lifestyle store and refillery for household products. Her goal is to provide customers with the products they need to reduce waste in their everyday lives. Gather follows similar values while creating a waste free grocery shopping experience of bulk goods and fresh produce.
Dinsmore’s takes a holistic approach to sustainability and is guided by the principle that we must be able to maintain a way of life in both the short and long term without creating a negative impact on the planet. She then applies these values to consumerism when choosing vendors for her store. Dinsmore critiques each product on how it was made and how it will end up post consumption. However, she identifies two barriers while trying to reduce the waste of her store. The main barrier she faces when curating for the Daisy Market is that companies with similar values to hers fall short on their packaging. Producers are now starting to make the shift towards products that are free of chemicals and strive to be zero waste but then are ship their products wrapped in plastic. Dinsmore approaches this type of barrier with transparency in order to fuel conversation. When a mason jar pump arrives to her store in plastic packaging, she will put it on the floor that way with the hope that consumers will see what’s going on, acknowledge the problem then work towards finding a solution. Dinsmore’s second challenge is convincing people to move away from brands they are loyal to in order to try a new brand that is package free. This is where the learning curve comes in. She claims that it’s about changing people’s ways and teaching people that zero waste and package free doesn’t mean no name. Switching to these brands means supporting something that is doing more than just fulfilling the need to maximize profit.
At the end of the day both Gather, and the Daisy Market are businesses and like everyone else Cassidy needs an income. So, I asked her about the financial aspects of choosing to run her stores the way she does. Unfortunately, the refillery aspect of the Daisy Markey does not pay the bills. Instead, it is her higher end skin care products that allow the refillery to work. However, this may be different if her store was in a large city rather than a small town. There is opportunity for a bigger margin as consumers are still looking for a cost-effective product. As a store owner it is less expensive for Cassidy to order a 20-litre container of shampoo rather than multiple 50 millilitre bottles. As a consumer, it is cheaper to buy a container once rather than paying for packaging every time their shampoo runs out. From which, you have probably deduced that shopping in a refillery style store both increases profit margin for a business owner and increases savings for the consumer. If this is the case, you may be wondering why larger firms are not jumping at the opportunity to shift towards waste free shopping. It could be the fact that such large-scale change may deter consumers out of convenience. Or possibly that higher end markets don’t bare the need to supply their target consumer with a cost-effective product. Either way, the Daisy Market and Gather are setting a great example for what sustainable shopping could look like in years to come if larger companies take the leap towards sustainability.
For more information on the Daisy Market and Gather check out their Instagram page @thedaisymarket and www.daisymarket.ca for more information. Their online store is in the works!