What's Old Is New: The Story behind the jar!
Faced with a rebrand and the job of reworking our logo, I've been thinking a great deal about what our logo means, what our mission is, and what makes us unique. Something that is unmistakably prominent in our logo is our jar so I wanted to take a moment today to talk about WHY that jar is front and center when it comes to our shop's identity. Before we get into why it applies specifically to our situation lets talk a little bit about why jars are such a big deal in general.
Canning jars. What a rock solid invention. They've stood the test of time as an airtight storage solution through the ages, (In case anyone is curious, the Mason jar was invented in 1858 so if that's not "Ages" to you than don't come for me) and in the past few years, jars have become a symbol of the low waste/zero waste movement. Recently, it's as if a light bulb lit up in our heads as a society as we realized that those dusty old boxes of jars in our grandmothers basement were actually sustainable useful tools as WELL as being totally aesthetic to boot. Many a barn wedding has featured mason jar centerpieces, and during the pandemic, as people filled time at home, canning saw a comeback and there were moments where a good quality jar and canning lid were a hot commodity!
All this to say the jar is here to stay regardless of trends and that's partly why we chose a jar for our logo.
Here's the personal part:
Before opening The Waste Not Shop, I worked in a Geneva health food store called "Mother Earth" for the better part of 10 years. This shop had opened in the 70's when health food shops were as few and far between as low waste shops are now and the people of Geneva held it close. All the crunchy granola hippies that were teenagers and young adults when Mother Earth opened still shopped there loyally when I worked there. Most of our customers were 50+ and they spent DECADES of their lives diligently taking care of our planet. This group wasn't always as loud or as trendy as the new wave of climate activists we see today, but they were consistent. Determined. Disciplined. Seasoned. They had cultivated sustainable habits themselves and passed them onto to their children and (in some cases) their children's children. They had stood up for the climate for years and continued to put their money where their mouth was by shopping small and living sustainably.
Once the owner of "Mother Earth" retired and I began preparing to open my low waste shop I began to notice a sort of divide between young and old in the low waste planet friendly movement. I came across a younger crowd who assumed "old people/boomers" didn't care about the planet and couldn't learn new tricks, and older folks who assumed "Kids/Millennials" were to lazy and apathetic to take action for the planet.
Of course there are exceptions in every category but for the most part I saw that perception was incorrect and simply getting in the way of progress globally and locally. So I began to think about what we had in common and after some time the jar came to mind. A jar is something that is recognized by almost every age group as a symbol of sustainability. Maybe to our older customers it signifies preserving food and gardening and taking care of the earth so that it can bear fruits and vegetables, maybe to our younger crowd it signifies saying no to a single use iced coffee cup or bringing a bag lunch. Whatever you specifically think of when you see a jar, overall I have found for most it comes down to: Reusing, repurposing, preserving, and taking care of what we have.
Regardless of our differences, if our goal is to keep our earth clean I believe the most effective way to achieve it is to come together and move forward on what we can agree on. At the Waste Not Shop we see that happening everyday in real time. People of all ages gather and connect and learn about how each and every one of us can do SOMETHING to reduce waste and be good stewards of this beautiful planet.
One of my main priorities at the shop for our corner of the world is to leave fear, shame, and assumptions at the door and tirelessly search for the common ground that moves us forward and to me, our jar symbolizes that intent with simplicity and clarity.
I'm not sure what our new name will be yet, we are CLOSE but the waiting truly is the hardest part, but I DO know that our jar is here to stay and the idea of coming together as people who care about the planet will remain first and foremost in our mission.