we spent the morning with the wonderful charlie rudkin-wilson from my eco brockley
. filled to the brim with organic, plastic free homeware pieces and refills, charlie's shop has become a real hub in the brockley community. we asked charlie a few questions about her store and what she's doing to live more consciously in her personal life. read on to discover more.
Can you tell us a bit about My Eco and how long you’ve been open?
I launched My Eco in April 2020 as a response to the first lockdown. My other sustainability consulting business closed down overnight with the restrictions and I was left wondering/panicking about what to do. I had some leftover stock from my previous company that was mainly eco cleaning products and I started delivering these, and joined up with a local veg subscription service, and started delivering their veggies to vulnerable people that couldn't get to the collection points. It all grew quite naturally as I started adding on more products and before I knew it each week I was cycling up and down the hills of south east london with a double stacked trailer full of very heavy veggies. There's no way I'd be fit enough to do those journeys now! I think I put all my lockdown stress into the business and fitness. Once during a delivery day I spotted the space that is now the shop. It was empty and I'd always liked that space specifically, and often thought about how nice it must be to work there. And so I called the landlord, viewed it the following day and offered on the shop. I'd never worked in a shop before... let alone ran one, but it just felt right. Before I knew it I was handed the keys and opening up My Eco Brockley. And I haven't looked back, the shop opened in August 2020.
What is your favourite thing about running My Eco?
The most unexpected thing about the shop has become my absolute favourite bit, and it's what keeps me going when everything gets too tough. It's the community of people. I am grateful for my customers everyday, and each different relationship means so much. We almost offer a counselling service for each other, or a chance for giggles, tears and everything in between. There have been days when customers are waiting for me to open so that we can chat about a sad life moment that is upsetting them, and there's been moments when customers have come in specifically to tell me that they've got the job they've applied for, to introduce me to their baby/puppy or gotten engaged. It's nice to be there for each other for the good and bad bits. I opened a shop but it has become much more than that, it's a safe, open space for the community to feel comfortable and get hugs from my dog FuggleWhump.
What are some tips for people wanting to get into living a little more consciously, and start refilling household and food products?
My go to tip is always keep it easy, and do it step by step. A complete overhaul into a sustainable lifestyle can be very expensive and overwhelming. Plus if it doesn't work move onto trying something else. For example finding the right shampoo bar or deodorant bar can take a while. All our bodies are really different, and usual non organic, highly manufactured high street products have a way of hiding this with their heavy use of chemicals. So do your research and if it doesn't work first time, don't give up, try something else. Plus ask the staff at your refill shop for their opinion too, will save you time and money. My team in particular love chatting about their favourite products.
What are you doing personally to live a little more consciously?
At this stage after 4 years into my sustainable journey I feel that my general house and living habits are there. I'm trying to work more outwardly at the moment, my focus for this year is to work on the business and being more community focused instead of looking inwards, looking outwards at what I can offer the community and how we can work together to make a more sustainable community.