Zero waste store for health and skin care spare parts in KL – Health Guild News


While working with Rip Curl, an Australian surfwear brand, Jon Lee was involved in numerous beach cleanups. While she has never come across sea turtles strangled by plastic straws as often depicted in awareness ads, she has witnessed other scenes she has never forgotten.

“I saw a dead dolphin dragged ashore on an Indonesian island we were clearing. [It was] a beach with more rubbish than the sight could see; you can’t even imagine how this could happen, and you don’t know if it was even possible to clean up, ”he told me during my visit to his pop-up reload. Re {me} dy inside the lifestyle store Vernacle in Bangsar.

Not long ago, he had also mourned the death of a friend. Surprised and incredulous, Jon suddenly realized that the unfortunate incident could have happened to him.

“This is where I decided to do an in-depth research exercise to discover what was really valuable to me; of which I would most regret it if I did not try to do so [in the event] I’ll be there the next day, “Jon recalled.

For an indefinite sabbatical year from his position as marketing director to the laptop brand ana tomy, Jon released Re {me} dy in January 2021 with investments from some friends.

It’s not exactly a waste-free store

Re {me} dy is a store of sustainable health and skin care concepts that offers products from local brands that share the same ideals of becoming ecologically sustainable. Customers can refill Re {me} dy refill products by reusing empty bottles. This, in turn, helps reduce waste dumped in landfills.

Jon taught me how it usually happens to fill bottles in the store

Of course, Re {me} dy comes to a very competitive space, with players like The Hive, Liquid, etc., A little less, i NO already having a presence in the Klang Valley. It’s not exactly a bad thing, as having more options to fight for a good cause is valuable in the midst of our dying planet.

And although the concept of Re {me} dy sounds like a zero waste (ZW) store on the surface, Jon wouldn’t say exactly that.

He perceives ZW stores as the ones trying to sell everything, but with limited options for each product. “[For example,] if you want to buy a body gel, there are only 2 options and that’s it. I felt like I had to sacrifice my life just to practice sustainability and I think sometimes it’s a little intimidating, especially for normal people, ”Jon added.

The name Re {me} dy was chosen because the team believes that its products are, in fact, natural remedies that are beneficial to humans and the planet. The {me} represents how they want to create a personalized experience, such as making your own blend for a face wash or customizing a supplement based on your specific health issues.

“At Re {me} dy, we only focus on health and beauty products, kind of like a pharmacist,” Jon said.

Packaging is still inevitable with e-commerce

The appeal of Re {me} dy is in its retail experience, where customers can go in search of products in huge bottles to fill their own smaller ones. But when it finally opened its doors in January 2021, the nation soon returned to the blockade.

Jon shared: “E-commerce was not what we imagined it to be Re {me} dy. We wanted to reduce waste and e-commerce is one of the biggest generators of packaging waste!

When it comes to e-commerce, packaging is inevitable / Image Credit: Re {me} dy

Selling products online means packing the products into boxes and shipping them, contributing to more greenhouse gases in the process. In addition, Re {me} dy bottles are also made of glass, as they are easier to clean and reuse. Therefore, protective packaging is required.

Brainstorming for an entire month, the team finally got to use recycled bubble wrap; it was the best option they had with the resources they could access.

“While we can’t change the way e-commerce is done right now, we could show people that we can reuse packaging instead of just throwing it away,” Jon explained.

Hopefully, customers who placed the order online would make the effort to refill these products at the brand’s physical store once they run out. Therefore, the supplied glass bottles would be more likely to be reused.

Located in a historic building

Inside the Re {me} dy retail store / Image credit: Re {me} dy

The high-density neighborhoods of KL and PJ are often beneficial to ZW stores due to the high-income demographics of those living in the area. However, the Re {me} dy store is located in Off Kampung Attap, KL, inside the Old Town. Zhongshan Building which has become a kind of art gallery.

When asked about this, Jon agreed that it is a difficult place for a recharge to thrive as it is far from residential areas. But it has a different strategy.

“It’s a fantastic place that trend makers like to visit and that’s exactly what we intended for Re {me} dy, where we want to convert the unconverted,” he justified. “Our purpose was to inspire people who have not taken any spare product to do so, and we hope they will fall in love with it and continue with it for the rest of their lives.”

Jon also admitted that the choice of location was not the most strategic for the business, but he believes being housed in the Zhongshan building is right for his brand.

“It is a pre-war building with the principle of conserving and using the building for a long time. It is very much in line with our concept of waste reduction “, he added.

To arrive business sustainability

The remedy is still in the red, made worse by confinement and the public still wary of going shopping at retail. While e-commerce has helped a bit, the brand has explored other options such as corporate gifts.

All bottles are labeled with the product to be filled / Image credit: Re {me} dy

So far, Re {me} dy has managed to work with BMW to be part of the latter’s package of attention to its car owners. It was done as a #KitaJagaKita campaign to help local brands promote local products.

Although Re {me} dy earned little income from this, the initiative helped make the brand visible.

In the long run, Jon wants to turn the brand into a social enterprise with volunteers running it as a community effort.

“I can’t expect the same commitment to the project I have, but hopefully we can get more help and make it a better reality,” he concluded.

  • You can find more information about Re {me} dy here.
  • You can read about more zero waste stores we’ve written about here.

Featured Image Credit: Jon Lee, founder of Re {me} dy

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