We are delighted to feature Cathie, owner of ‘A Little Bit Eco’ as our next Sustainability Spotlight. Cathie is flying the flag for sustainability on the Isle of Anglesey, off the coast of North Wales. ‘A Little Bit Eco’ is one of our newest stockists and we are so impressed by what Cathie is doing for her community. We asked Cathie some questions about running her wonderful store.
Q: What made you start A Little Bit Eco?
A: I think the main driving force for me opening was my sister and my Mum. I'd still be sat dreaming if it wasn’t for them. At the time I was in a bad place, I didn't have a job, I didn't have any confidence, my mental health was at an all time low and I was just existing day to day. I'd been a full time carer for two adults for years and had lost myself somewhere along the way. In 2019 we were suddenly thrown for a loop when my husband's PIP was removed. I didn't have work, and I had nothing on the horizon. My Mum asked “what do you want to do?” and I said I wanted to open a shop.
When Mum asked what was stopping me, and when I said that I had no money, she told me that she’d borrow £1000 for me, and to see what I can do with it. So with my Mum’s £1000 and £384 from my own savings, I opened a shop where I built up my business and myself. I honestly thought I'd fall flat on my face and be washed up and out within six months or less. Even now, over 3 years later, I still think it was a hairbrained idea! So I opened up in May 2019, just weeks after deciding to do it. The ethos of the business being to supply products that were sustainable, eco friendly, and pocket friendly.
Fed up with all the chatter online that suggested you need lots of money to be eco-friendly, I wanted to prove that regardless of your budget, it is possible to be sustainable. Despite what we are told on forums and media, it isn't expensive to make better choices and it's perfectly fine to do a little bit. There is no such thing as not doing enough. You don’t have to be a full-on eco warrior, fitting a year's worth of landfill waste into a Kilner jar, to make a difference. You can just refill one bottle, you can swap just a couple of things. Everyone can do something ‘a little bit eco’ and make a difference.
Q: What is the easiest swap for someone to make?
A: It has to be something that fits in with your life and with your budget, if it doesn't fit then it isn't sustainable; if it's hard to do, it's hard to maintain. I always suggest washing up liquid as a starting point as everyone has a bottle already and dishes are a constant in everyone's day.
Q: What sustainable swaps are difficult to make?
A: A lot don't want to change their shampoo and conditioner. I find many have spent years finding a product they love for their hair that they aren't keen to swap. Other difficult ones that come to mind are deodorant and cloth pads, these are among the most expensive swaps, so a considered purchase as well. I can understand the reluctance to try these things.
Q: What is your favourite part of running your shop?
A: My customers! I've met some really lovely people along the way. I love it when a customer tells me how much they have learned and what a difference it's made to them to be able to refill their bottles. How they feel they are really making a difference both to themselves, their family and to the planet. They say that they have learnt ways of being more sustainable at home, reusing and repairing things and generally making positive changes.
Q: What is the most popular product in your shop?
A: Washing up liquid is my most popular product sold.
Q: What do you and your customers think of ekologik products?
A: Having used most of them at home I am a huge fan of the Floor Cleaner, it smells lovely and is really effective. Same goes with the Multi-Purpose spray, it’s tackled everything I've thrown at it. The Toilet Cleaner is also very effective and has been a winner with my customers as well. I've already had people come back for more and most customers who have bought other items in the range said that they will be back for more in the near future!
Thanks Cathie for giving us an insight into your business on Anglesey. We are lucky to have you onboard!