Let’s Get Naked is the newest refill store to open in Cornwall. It’s situated just off the busy Westgate Street in Launceston, next door to the Westgate St Deli.
Owner and manager Jade Harvey has been on quite a journey to get to this point. “Travelling in Asia and living in Australia over the last few years, I saw the devastating plastic pollution and the Australian way of life with more focus on refill stores and plastic free living,” she said. “This inspired me to bring something like this back to my native Cornwall.”
Her nearest refill store was over 20 miles away in Bude, and travelling backwards and forwards to reduce plastic seemed to be counterintuitive. Once the pandemic hit, Jade was furloughed from her café job and the idea for Launceston’s own refill store was born. Her dad, Adi, had recently taken over the old Warren’s butchers and set up the Westgate St Deli. The shop next door was free and, with her parents’ support, Jade began turning her idea into a reality.
She got in touch with Access to Finance via the Growth Hub and received support from Finance Specialist Rebecca Bettin. “Rebecca’s support was invaluable – I couldn’t have done it without her,” said Jade.
With A2F’s help Jade applied for a start-up loan through SWIG Finance, securing the maximum loan with the aid of the improved business plan.
Jade used the money to kit the shop out with dispensers, scales and a till. “Opening day was the highlight for me,” she said. “All the build-up the previous six or seven weeks to get the shop kitted out culminated in a few tears the night before we opened, but it was all worthwhile. We’ve had amazing support from the town and people are finally starting to understand the concept.”
The sustainable and plastic-free market is growing, with more and more refill stores being opened throughout the UK. Since the first shop opened in Totnes in 2017, an estimated 200 have now sprung up across the UK.
The idea is to bring your own containers and fill up on all manner of household staples such as flour, nuts, cereals, rice, pasta and cleaning products. “Not only are you saving on packaging waste, you save money too,” said Jade. “A recent comparison of a customer buying Italian herbs showed a new pot from the supermarket would cost £1.45 – this customer paid 30p for the same amount.”
Future plans include offering a click-and-collect service from next year and possible online ordering through the website. For now, Jade is happy to have achieved her goal of opening the store – and her dad Adi next door couldn’t be more proud.