Hi! I'm the Marilla behind Marilla's Mindful Supplies, a low waste refill store located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. After years of working in the health food industry, I was frustrated that even in my favorite earth friendly shops I still found single use plastic everywhere I looked. Organic snacks were packaged in plastic and I bought the same plastic containers on repeat.
In 2018 I decided I'd had enough and started investigating the possibilities of a shop with little to no plastic packaging. As I searched, I found resources were extremely limited, but I was determined to make it happen.
Taking my experience in the health food industry and a practical mindset with me, I opened Marilla's Mindful Supplies. A place where you can find everyday items without any of the plastic. A place where refilling is simple and sustainability makes sense...for everyone.
I started small. My first plastic free switch was a bar of soap and a cotton soap bag. I thought if I could achieve suds with this system, I could say goodbye to body wash and plastic shower loofahs and that's what I did! Three years later I have many plastic free swaps in my home and more are added to the shop consistently as our society gently shifts towards sustainable options. I make a point to test every product we feature so that I can guarantee it's functionality as well as sustainability.
As much as I love the aesthetic of simplifying your home with plastic free options, I also tend to be a Practical Polly so with every new product we bring in I ask myself, "is this something that is helpful or are we simply trying to reinvent the wheel?" (looking at you, expensive "unpaper towels" that are really just towels that we've been using for eons >.<) It's a funny business to be in because while we need to make sales, we also encourage everyone to use what they have, and to be mindful regarding their buying habits. Perhaps this advice isn't great for our bottom line but it's part of our core mission and I truly believe that by resisting the urge to be pushy we invite more people to participate in sustainable living in whatever way makes sense for them.
In the last few years plastic free and zero waste have become more trendy and we see more eco products popping up in big box stores which is always encouraging! However, where there is a trend and money to be made from it, greed lurks in the shadows. More often than not I find it difficult deciphering whether a product is truly sustainable and ethically made, or if it's just another business trying to exploit a trend for an easy dollar. This is why in the last couple years the hardest part of our job has shifted from simply finding plastic free alternatives, to finding ETHICALLY made plastic free alternatives that have a positive impact on the people and planet from the ground up. It saddens my heart to see some trying to green wash the zero waste movement and exploit other humans in doing so but that's what keeps us doing our homework and learning from our mistakes. I do my best to make sure myself and my team go above and beyond to educate ourselves about sourcing and the ethics of the products we carry so that we can be as transparent as possible. If we don't have the answer? We'll study up and get back to you!
It's my strong belief that planet friendly ethical products shouldn't be hard to get to, or difficult to figure out. At Marilla's my desire is that you can confidently purchase our products knowing that we've done the homework behind each item and feel confident in the ripple effect of each purchase.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know us and support our mission, we are so grateful for the opportunity to get to know you and do what we do. See you soon!
You can always find us at marillas.com, at our storefronts in Geneva NY and Rochester NY, or on social media! Just look for Marillas Mindful Supplies!
If there are any low or zero waste products you want us to stock for you, please let us know! I read every email that comes to firstname.lastname@example.org.