She’s created a business that’s a perfect fit with her values as the demand for eco-friendly products grows. EcoLateral owner Jamie Stott chats with Lauren Zwaans from KIS Communications about life as an entrepreneur, her newly opened store at Brighton, and how she’s making a difference in the war on waste – and you can too.
// Lauren: Thank you for being our December Business Partner! Tell us about EcoLateral and your offering.
Jamie: EcoLateral is South Australia’s very own home grown sustainable living business with three shops in Magill, Blackwood and Brighton.
We help educate people about environmental issues and then equip them with the tools and resources to live more sustainable lives.
Expect to find a wide range of eco-friendly products such as reusable produce bags, wax and silicone food wraps, eco-friendly gifts, sustainable ethical clothing, natural makeup and skin care, as well as over 40 personal and household cleaning and care products in our bulk refill department.
// You have three locations in SA – including your new Brighton store. How long have you been in business and why did you decide to open a store at Brighton?
Whilst I’ve been in business in one form or another since 2002 I moved in to the eco-friendly retailing space just over 12 months ago with the purchase of our first shop Waste Not Want Not in Blackwood.
Prior to that I’d taken a six-year break from business after burning out and becoming bedridden with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Depression.
Waste Not Want Not was supposed to be just a small venture, an opportunity to ease back into the workforce in a way that aligned with my personal values, and focus on my health whilst making a difference to the planet. But once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur!
By ramping up the social media presence, and introducing new products, the average daily sales of that little store doubled within six weeks. Eight months later saw the acquisition of our biggest local competitor, EcoLateral at Magill, and 14 months in saw the establishment of our third shop at Brighton.
In just over 12 months our team has grown to include 10 extraordinary people.
The decision to open Brighton was all about making our product range more accessible.
A big part of our offer is a bulk refill service which allows people to reduce their single use plastic consumption by bringing in their empty supermarket containers and conveniently refilling from a range of personal and household products. This is something that I believe works best in person as opposed to posting containers back to an online service.
// Tell us more about your philosophy. What does being eco-friendly and sustainable mean in practical terms?
We all have a responsibility to be responsible custodians for the planet we find ourselves on.
EcoLateral isn’t just about selling products to help people live more sustainable lives and recur their footprint on the planet, we also seek to encourage intelligent discussion on the important issues, educating and teaching as we go.
Some have likened us to a wise guide, leading people through the process of increasing awareness and making personal changes. I like this analogy because to me this isn’t just about selling stuff, it’s about using our business as a force for good and enabling tangible change in the lives of our community for the benefit of the planet.
// How concerned are you by the challenges the world faces? And which environmental challenges top the list?
Honestly, we’re in trouble.
Unless we make significant changes now we risk being the cause of our own extinction.
Some people, like those currently leading our country, might call me alarmist labelling me a city dwelling leftist greenie, but I think they are out of touch and not in tune with where the scientific community has clearly been warning us for a long time now.
In my opinion the biggest challenges we face are deforestation and habitat loss, reductions in biodiversity, pollution of our oceans, including microplastics, and climate change.
Unfortunately there are powerful, greedy individuals and corporations focused on economic growth at any cost who are creating confusion by pushing climate change denial philosophies, and engaging in greenwashing.
// What can each of us do to make a practical difference when it comes to this/these issue/s?
We need to continue to stand up and be heard, lobby our politicians, march in the streets and vote with our wallets by supporting companies like B Corporations who are doing good, and boycotting companies that are very obviously doing the wrong thing.
Reducing your consumption, refusing products packaged in single use plastics and nailing your recycling are three ways you can help.
Also becoming more aware of how to take the small steps to change is very important.
Locally run Facebook Groups like Reduce Reuse Recycle Radelaide, and Zero Waste Adelaide are amazing resources of information and run by people dedicated to the cause.
// Christmas is upon us! What are some of your most popular gift ideas?
There are so many amazing eco-friendly products on the market now. We tick each box for those working on the four gift rule: Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.
I think reusable produce bags will be popular again this year as well as other reusable items for when people are on the go, like stainless steel lunch boxes, hydro flask drink bottles and contigo coffee cups.
We have some beautiful new platters and picnic items which were hand-made in the Barossa Valley by Winestains, but the big surprise for us has been a 7-piece metal cutlery set which comes in a gorgeous travel tin and sells for $29.95 which are already proving to be very popular.
Honestly there are so many options, you really need to come in to one of our stores and browse for yourself.
// How long have you been an SA Woman member and what do you love about the community?
I joined SA Woman just over a year ago and love that it connects and empowers South Australian Women.
// If you weren’t running EcoLateral, what would you be doing?
Who knows! Before taking over our first store in Blackwood I was providing some life coaching services, but was feeling largely unfulfilled.
If I wasn’t working with EcoLateral I think I’d be doing something else that also aligned with my personal values.
// Where can we shop for your products?
We have three physical stores in Adelaide at:
411 Magill Road, St Morris (near MAGILL)
183 Main Road, BLACKWOOD, and
445 Brighton Road, BRIGHTON
We also have an online store at GoEcoLateral.com.au
Get in touch with JAMIE:Facebook: EcoLateral