For us the future is all about refill.
Greening our cleaning is a mandate of most of us choosing a Zero Waste lifestyle, this week Zero Waste Canada interviews Saponetti.Ca, the soap refill delivery service on Toronto Ontario.
Owner Nikki von Seydlitz explains how Saponentti.Ca offers both convenience and less packaging.
How did you decide to start a soap delivery service In Toronto?
Saponetti is the result of a search for a solution to our own personal conundrum about all the empty containers we were tossing into the blue bin after only a single use. With refill options in Toronto being almost non-existent we realized that were probably not alone and that a lot of people would likely refill their soap and other cleaning product containers if it were easy and convenient. This impulse was the beginning of the process that lead my husband and I to offer this service.
Can you tell us about the products you offer? Are they made in Canada?
The product lines we carry are made here in Canada by suppliers who are focused on creating products that are environmentally friendly and safe for health and home. Soaps and detergents for all your homecare needs area available fragrance-free as well as scented with essential oils and organic ingredients. Recently we added shower gel as an intro into personal care essentials and we plan to expand our inventory offering as we grow our business.
Does your company have a mandate on what products you carry?
It is important that our suppliers share our vision for a more sustainable future so in that way we are selective. The companies we work with do things differently because they are more conscious of the impact their activities have on the environment as well as their communities. We love that by working with smaller manufacturers we are able connect with the humanity behind the brand.
How do the products you offer help folks to reduce waste?
Refilling completely eliminates the cycle of plastic waste.
As a company that offers refills for cleaning and personal care do you have any challenges for standardized measurements using mason jars?
We have simplified our refill process by offering all our refill products in either 500ml & 1L mason jars so we don’t need to be concerned about matching the volume of the original product package. Refill is a type of bulk purchase which means better value for our customers.
When products come in packages is all the packaging recyclable?
Yes, all our packaging is recyclable.
As an entrepreneur launching a small company did you have a marketing strategy to find your niche?
Because we started in our local community we targeted our neighborhood first with postcards delivered door-to-door and also left in local coffee shops and retail outlets introducing our service. From there news spread via word of mouth. Everyone uses soap but our target market is essentially “millennial mom” so we are working to develop our social media strategy to connect with our customers where they hang out. Also, we are participating in local events to connect with members of our community who are already thinking like us.
Several of the small businesses Zero Waste Canada has interviewed have benefitted from small business incubators or mentorship programs, did you have any support for your start-up?
So far, we haven’t benefited from any of these programs however we are definitely doing our homework and connecting with the community networks and various programs that could be a good fit to take our business to the next level.
Who is your customer base? Have you encountered any specific demographics?
Essentially anyone who is concerned about their environmental footprint fits our customer profile however we are finding that millennials and especially millennial moms are most interested in this service.
Your company also helps businesses to “green” their cleaning, do you find that offices, restaurants and other businesses have a desire to use more earth-friendly products with less packaging?
Offices and other businesses are responding to employee and customer attitudes regarding environmental awareness. Businesses with sustainability policies in place are looking for innovative and simple ways to green their operations and refilling essentials like dish soap and hand soap not only eliminates waste but is cost effective as well.
What kind of vehicle do you use to deliver soap?
Because our clients order typically once per month or even every couple of months the volume of deliveries is still manageable enough for us to be able to use our own vehicle. At the end of this month we will be updating our Jetta wagon to a hybrid vehicle so we can minimize our emissions while making deliveries. We are also in conversation with a local eco-friendly delivery service that uses electric cars and bicycles as another way to increase our service area.
If a person fills out the on-line delivery form when will they receive delivery?
Currently we tell our clients 5-7 business days to fulfill an order but typically we respond within 3-5 days.
Do you have a regular clientele that use your service?
As a “milkman” style of delivery do you feel that have more interaction with your customers?
Definitely! When we develop new client relationships people often share how thrilled they are about the service we are offering and we get to connect with them on a more personal level allowing us to learn more about their needs and how we can develop our business to meet those needs.
What did you do before Saponetti Inc.?
My background is in interior design but recently I have been involved in commercial project with a primary focus on managing the projects LEED requirements in order to qualify for green building certification. I am actually just finishing up a project now and will be full-time with Saponetti in the next few weeks. Christian, my husband and business partner, is working as a graphic designer in an ad agency by day and dives into Saponetti business evenings and weekends. We will be ramping up our operations over the next few months and hope to be able to develop our client base so that we can both commit 100% of our time to this business.
What are your dreams for Saponetti Inc.?
We want to change the way people buy everyday household staples. Our dream is to grow Saponetti and develop delivery networks with electric vehicles across southern Ontario and beyond. For us the future is all about refill.
More and more entrepreneurs are realizing the creating Zero Waste solutions can grow business opportunity and have a positive impact. Zero Waste Canada will continue to feature the efforts of Canadians making a difference.