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How To Start Your Own Sustainable Store

Has the pandemic got you thinking about a career change? It might be that you no longer want that bog-standard 9-to-5 job or maybe you spent your time during lockdown cultivating a new hobby with profit-making potential. One option you have is to open your very own store. There are many online and offline ways to do this. And it can be a fantastic way to do something that you’ve always wanted to do. But how can you ensure you’re doing it sustainably?

Why sustainability matters…

The climate crisis is starting to focus more minds on the subject of sustainability – and living within our ecological means. Many of the big brands are now investing more time and funds in making sure their products are kinder to the environment. But why does this matter to you?

Well, research by PwC shows that consumers care more about shopping in an eco-friendly way than ever before. You’re likely to put off a lot of potential shoppers if you don’t have any green credentials. And that can cover everything from packaging to where you get your products.

What makes a store ‘sustainable’?

So, what steps can you take to make sure that your store is considered “sustainable”?

If you’re making your own products, use second-hand or upcycled supplies rather than buy brand-new ones. It could save you money and reduces the amount that ends up in landfill.

Do you want to sell products from other brands? Make sure you know how and where they’re getting their products. And don’t forget to explore biodegradable or recyclable packaging too.

And if you’re thinking about opening a physical store, consider steps to make it as green as it can be. Energy-efficient lighting, insulation and rainwater harvesting are just some options.

Getting your business off the ground

Of course, starting a new retail business comes with some essential considerations – not least if sustainability is paramount to your aims. The first step to take is to work through your finances and create a clear budget. Careful planning at the start of your adventure provides you with a solid base to ensure that your business will be a success.

Next, build up a list of contacts and suppliers. This will help you answer some crucial questions: what do you need, where was it sourced, and can you strike a deal that works for you? This will give you the materials/products you need to fill your store with stock. Don’t forget – you’ll need packaging and distribution options that also fit into your eco-friendly ethos.

Once you have these fundamentals in place, you can then start marketing your store. Launch a website (hosted by a green provider) and set up branded social media accounts. As you expand, you can even launch a loyalty programme that encourages sustainable practices in your customers. In return for recycling, for example, they could get a unique experience or discount.

So, there’s much to think about, right? Maybe – but remember there’s nothing here that should stand in the way of you flipping the sign on the front door of your eco-friendly store to “open”.

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