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Member guest blog: Why it's the right time for change for Harriet's of Hove

This week’s blog post is written by long-standing Co-Women member Harriet Dean-Orange, founder and manager Harriet’s of Hove – The Plastic Free Pantry. She opened her refilling store almost 5 years ago, keeping the doors open to the community during the pandemic. BYO containers into HoH and get refilling, she’ll always be delighted to tell you why it’s so great!

From someone like myself, you are probably wondering where I might go with this article! Whether it’s a new hair style, business innovation or the big SYSTEM CHANGE – I’m here for it all.

I simply love change! It’s exciting, it’s emotional, it always feels progressive to me. For my indie eco-refilling store, change is super important and extremely necessary. After all, we are change-makers and showing a different way is possible.

Last year (2022) in Brighton & Hove, five other refilling stores shut their doors. They had committed to continue to serve their customers and community throughout the pandemic, but still couldn’t make things work and made the difficult decision to close their businesses.

‘You must be delighted?!’ asked some.

‘All I see is opportunity for you’ said others (mostly accountants or those working in finance – no shade, just an observation).

‘Well, thank goodness you are still here, otherwise I don’t know WHAT I’d do’ said many.

My reply, or at least thought process was always the same.

When you see your heros (and I mean that) and friends shut down businesses that inspired you to open yours, what does that say for the cause? What does that say for the future of your business? What does that say for CHANGE?

Refilling is more than filling a jar with lentils. It’s about lowering plastic, conquering food waste, supporting local people, supporting ethical suppliers, it’s about NOT excepting the norm and joining the waves of disruptors.

Now by no means do I believe there was a single reason a flurry of shops shut last year. But all I knew was, we were going to have to change to survive – and that we are!

So without me reminding everyone about climate change, the plastics crisis or the importance of spending money locally (opps I did it again didn’t I?!).

I want to tell you about the change my little but MIGHTY business will be embarking on in the near future. And I’d love for you to join, if you can.

A little background - I was working in the shop last December and was giving an extra set of hands before my shift properly started, as it was Christmas. It was a wonderfully busy, equally stressful and utterly rewarding time. But I came to the serious realisation that, even if Harriet’s of Hove was busy from 9 – 5, 7 days a week, the system in which we are in still isn’t going to value us for the efforts and rewards we are achieving. Quite honestly, our takings were still not going to ‘cut the mustard’ and that was at no fault of our efforts. Customers we delighted, virgin plastics weren’t being produced, lots of community and planetary wins. But our little business could do so much more.

So! – Harriet’s of Hove are launching Business To Business on Monday 1st May. This is a change we are extremely excited about and we hope you are too!

By changing the way we work, sell, buy, deliver – means we are accessible to many more types of customers. We are truly stepping outside of our comfort zone and looking to a different stream of revenue.

But it’s more than just making more money for us, it’s showing other local businesses that you can get quality and affordable products delivered straight to your workplaces, whilst dramatically lowering the carbon footprint of your business and save time on searching out the best eco-options and spending money on commercial waste (as we’ll be offering circular packing returns).

Now that’s change most people can get behind!!

Ready to join us? Feel free to get in touch and we’ll sign you up for a free account. Send us a message on Instagram

Want to see our website? Sure! It’s this one

Want to speak to me, Harriet? You can catch me here

Just want to get refilling those jars you’ve been saving? You’ll find us at 48 Blatchington Road, Hove. We’re open 7 days a week and LOVE meeting new customers, so do come and check us out.

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