HONOLULU (KITV) -- The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been friendly to small businesses, with many small business owners having to close shop over the last two years. But two young entrepreneurs have been able to write a different narrative.
Jillian Corn and Hunter Logan are the owners of “Keep It Simple Zero Waste.” They opened their first store on Waialae Avenue in December 2020.
“When COVID hit, we both didn’t really have our jobs anymore. We weren’t doing much. So Hunter texted me and was like, ‘Do you want to start a zero waste store?’ And I said yeah. And that day forward we have worked pretty much every day since,” Corn said.
The pair told KITV4 the concept for the store came from their travels to different countries – all with similar concepts: zero waste.
“I was in Australia at a skate competition and I wandered into this place in Bondi and it was this magical store where everything was in bulk, food, soaps, and you bring your own bag or there were little baggies everywhere and it was just so smart. I was like why isn’t this everywhere?” Logan recalled.
The whole idea is to provide high-quality zero waste, eco products with minimal packaging for a better earth – both as a supplier and for customers.
“[We are] working with small businesses, so we can really ensure that the supply chain is really wholesome and as plastic free as possible,” Logan said.
Here is how it works: Customers bring in their own container from home, or you can get one at the store. Then you pick your product and you go.
“I think because of COVID people have been home a lot more and when you are home more you start to see how much trash that you have and you start to be more aware of all the plastic you have in your life,” Corn said. “So I think people started to become more cautious of it and people wanted to be zero waste. They wanted an option, so we have people coming from Ewa, Kapolei, Hawaii Kai, because they want the option to refill.”
People are coming from near and far for products like shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, laundry detergent, lotion and so much more. Many of the products offered in the store are sourced locally.
“Almost be a platform for entrepreneurs in Hawaii to come together and share products. Take it back to how things used to be where everything was sourced from your neighborhood,” Logan said.
And if opening one store during a pandemic wasn’t crazy enough for these two, in November, they opened their second store on Lewers Street in Waikiki.
“We want to be able to provide this to so many more people. So many things are so complicated, we just want to simplify everything. You can use one container for almost your whole entire life and that’s so simple,” Corn said.
Keep It Simple Zero Waste is celebrating its one year anniversary next weekend at its Kaimuki Store. Corn and Logan say in that year, more than 8,000 bottles have been refilled.