Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does a refill shop work?
A: We are essentially a bulk store, selling environmentally friendly, Canadian made cleaning products for your body and home by weight, with prices listed in 100 gram increments. We also carry a selection of raw ingredients for people who like to make their own recipes for body care or home cleaning. Bring in your empty, clean and dry bottles or containers, or choose one to purchase from our supply, and continue reusing that same container again and again. Each time you come in, we will weigh your empty container, fill it with the product of your choice and weight it again before ringing you through. Our goal is to reduce the amount of single use disposable packaging going into the landfills, water ways and inefficient recycling systems by making it as easy as we can for people to reuse the packaging they already have.
Q: What sort of container can I refill?
A: We accept clean, empty and dry mason jars, jam jars, wine bottles, Tupperware containers, brand name shampoo bottles, ceramic soap dispensers and so much more. We are not worried about you bringing in a bottle with a different brand on it. The purpose is to continually reuse whatever type of packaging you already have.
Q: Why does the bottle have to be empty, clean and dry if I am just putting soap on top of soap?
A: With the current global pandemic, Vancouver Island Health Authority has mandated that all personal containers must be empty, clean and dry and sprayed down with an alcohol based disinfectant before our staff can handle them. Since we are a full service establishment, and our staff do all the weighing and filling for our customers, we are putting ourselves at risk of contact for any bacteria or viruses on the surface of the container. While we understand that there are bulk shops or refill shops that are allowing customers to “top up” product in containers that are not empty, clean and dry, this is usually because the customers are doing their own weighing and filling and the staff do not handle or come in direct contact with the customers’ personal bottles and containers and as such have different regulations they must follow.
Q: What is your return policy?
A: Due to the hygienic nature of our personal care and refillable items, all sales are final, no exceptions. Housewares with manufacturer’s defects can be directly exchanged or a store credit issued upon discretion of management and receipt or digital proof of purchase. If you are concerned about a product “not working for you” we strongly suggest buying only a small amount to start so that you can be assured that you are happy with it before purchasing a larger amount. The beauty of shopping in bulk is that you can buy just a little bit of something without committing to a large bottle of a product you aren’t sure will meet your needs.
Q: Do you have a bottle I can fill without purchasing one?
A: We have paper bags available for dry goods and a very limited option for items available in deposit bottles when ordering online for delivery. Currently our “Leave a Jar-Take a Jar” program is on hold due to Covid-19. Previously we encouraged customers to drop off empty, clean bottles and jars they wanted to donate for the use of others. Generally these were glass food containers such as jam jars or bottles from sauces etc and it was a great way to reuse existing packaging and keep it out of the landfills. However, to continue this, all jars must be sanitized to a food-safe degree and our shop is located in a 180+ year old heritage building and we do not have the resources to upgrade the plumbing and electrical needed to install a commercial dish sanitizer that Island Health requires for us to continue the “Leave a Jar, Take a Jar” program during the pandemic.
Q: Do you make all your products yourself?
A: No, only a few. We carry a range of several different brands which are all made in Canada (see our “Refillable Products” page) We neither have the space nor resources to manufacture the full variety of items we carry. Although Leanne has over twenty years of experience making soap and many body care products, she felt she would have a greater impact opening a shop that offered a variety of products than the small quantities she could manufacture herself.
Q: Can I use the raw ingredients you sell to make tea / cook with / eat?
A: All of the raw ingredients we carry are intended for cosmetic or topical use only and are meant to be used as ingredients in DIY type body care products (lotions, lip balm, bath bombs etc) or home cleaning cleaning products. Although many items are food grade, we cannot guarantee that the products themselves or the scoops used with them have been handled in a food safe way. Currently we are not capable of sanitizing containers to meet Island Health requirements for food sales and our business license does not cover sale of food items.
Q: Do you offer workshops?
A: Currently all in-store workshops and events are on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.