EcoCentric, our latest pop-up addition at Ripley Town Centre is helping to tackle the war on waste. Stocking a mix of sustainable, upcycled and natural products from a range of artisans and makers across the region, Walloon sisters Sue Collins and Linda O’Toole are encouraging locals to lessen their impact on the environment.
We caught up with one half of the dynamic EcoCentric duo, Sue Collins, to find out more.
Why did you decide to launch EcoCentric?
Our EcoCentric journey started three years ago with the creation of our Bee-Cause beeswax wraps, which we began showcasing at local markets, including the Ripley Providore Market here at the Centre. After developing some really special friendships with other marketeers and small businesses, we approached the Centre to open a co-operative pop-up, stocking local, environmentally friendly products that are kind to the planet.
Why the focus on sustainability?
We have always had a passion for animals and the environment, particularly seeing how single-use plastics affect animals in the ocean. In store, we keep plastic to a minimum, give our stockists alternative packaging and make sure none of our products contain palm oil.
What made now the right time to open a bricks and mortar store?
Based on the community interest we received for Bee-Cause and the success of other sustainable vendors at the Ripley Providore Market, we felt locals would be on the look out for more unique products that were handcrafted with the environment in mind, particularly in the lead up to Christmas. We enquired about a space at Ripley Town Centre in August and we knew it was the right path for us. The team at Ripley Town Centre was incredibly responsive, so we decided to open on 1 October promoting our beautiful eco products. Any initial fears we may have had were quashed — the timing has been great, and we’ve had a fantastic response from the local community to date.
How have you found working with other local artisans who are passionate about eco-friendly, reusable products?
It has been terrific to work with locals — Ripley Town Centre is a real community; it feels like a village. As a teacher, I believe in communities and the village ethos, and everything about Ripley Town Centre is authentic and the team has been so supportive of us. All of our products have been very popular, from soy candles to herbal tea, and we are really looking forward to having other local businesses join us.