Vicky meets... Esther Darrah,Refilled, Drapers Yard, Chichester
What is Refilled?
We are a shop based at Drapers Yard in Chichester that offers dried food and bathroom and cleaning products by weight so people bring their own pots, old bread bags or old takeaway containers to fill themselves. That means that there is no extra packaging or bags and no waste; you just buy what you need. If you wanted to stock your kitchen and cleaning and bathroom cupboards with basics then you could shop here. We also try to ‘support local’ by selling several locally made products, including our granola which is made in Hastings.
How did you come to open the shop?
My husband Harry and I travelled to New Zealand last year for seven months as a sort of long honeymoon. We discovered that they have shops like ours in almost every town and we loved this way of shopping as it meant that we didn’t have to carry loads of supplies on our travels. Clicking that there was no plastic waste and realising that there was nothing like it in Chichester we decided to give it a go.
What makes Drapers Yard a good place to be situated?
I’d been to Drapers Yard before and loved it. All the people here put so much time and effort into what they make and sell and there is a real heart here. And spending your money locally is investing in your community, which is great. And once a month the Yard hosts a ‘Yum Saturday’ event with lots of extra food stalls which is always buzzing and full of all kinds of people – it’s brilliant! Customers say that they really like shopping in a more community-based environment.
My background is catering and management and our dream is to have a community café. When we came across this way of shopping we decided that it could be a good way to start and we have moved from our original unit to a bigger one. We are looking to keep growing and the community café is still very much a goal. Community cafés are spaces that can be used outside of café opening hours as a hub for cooking classes, a swap shop – all sorts.
How does the division of labour work out between you and Harry?
He does Monday and Friday, I do the rest of the week and we do alternate Saturdays.
What would you say to anyone who hasn’t shopped like this before?
Just try one thing. Start with something like washing up liquid and build it up from there. There are quite a lot of shops like this dotting up all over the place and I do think that people will continue to shop this way.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
We have saved well over 25,000 pieces of plastic going into landfill.
Where can we find you and learn more?
4 Drapers Yard, The Hornet, Chichester; www.refilledchichester.co.uk