"These little changes are not life altering and definitely doable" - Dawn, from Your Sustainable Store
"One of the first conversations I had when I started Ergo (at the time under a different name) was with Dawn from Your Sustainable Store. What struck me most about her was that despite a full time day job, she was actively and passionately on mission to make sustainable products accessible in Singapore. Ever since then, I've been keen to ask her some questions about this growing side-hustle and what inspires her. She's got some great tips for getting started too!" - Tim, Found of Ergo
Check out Your Sustainable Store at : https://yoursustainablestore.com/
Tim: Travel is a huge part of your life, from your career to your down time. Has traveling the world had any influence on what you are doing with Your Sustainable Store?
Dawn: Absolutely! I learnt to appreciate Mother Nature and just how vulnerable she is. The life changing trip for me was the one to Iceland with friends. We were all wrapped like dumplings thinking Iceland must be unbearably cold but it wasn't (no thanks to global warming)! One of the activities we did was hiking up a glacier - when our guide told us that the ice mountain we were on, melted an enormous amount the past 1 year, equivalent to the total amount that melted over the past decade, it felt as if someone hit me right in my gut. I knew I had to change my lifestyle, to a more eco-conscious one. But it was not easy to find eco-friendly products in Singapore 5 years ago. Then a trip to New Zealand in 2018 where retail shops stocked beeswax wraps and all sorts of reusable coffee mugs got me thinking... that there are actually many sustainable products out there just now in Singapore. So the idea of Your Sustainable Store was born - I wanted to make functional, good quality and stylish sustainable products easily accessible in Singapore.
Tim: You have some incredible initiatives, like the beach cleanup kits and also your monthly giving back, what has been the most rewarding or impactful part of running You Sustainable Store?
Dawn: I started Your Sustainable Store when there was barely any awareness for eco-friendly products in Singapore. My family and friends were worried about my business venture and would tell me "Singaporeans are not eco-friendly", "no one will buy (the products)", "it (the business) will be a flop". So I really appreciate it when customers tell me how much they love our products, how the products have helped them cut waste in their daily lives, and how my actions have inspired them to make changes etc. Knowing that what I do is making a difference is definitely the most rewarding. Because I already have a full-time job to sustain myself financially, I thought to channel a portion of the profits from Your Sustainable Store to helping those in need and also to fund initiatives that contribute to the well-being of the environment e.g. beach cleanups, tree planting etc.
Tim: Do you have any tips for entrepreneurs like yourself who juggle a day job and passion project?
Dawn: "Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare." - Angela Duckworth. Things will get tough. When it does, remember why you started (you were obviously very passionate about it at one point), and just keep going. Hit pause when you need to but don't give up.
Tim: Take us through a typical day for Dawn, how have you tweaked your everyday living to reduce your impact on the planet?
Dawn: Everyday is hectic as h*** LOL. If I manage to be up early, I will do some administrative work for Your Sustainable Store or get some household chores done. Then commit fully to my full-time job in the day. After office hours in the evenings, I pack customer orders, do housework and squeeze in some me-time to unwind. I work in the CBD where the takeaway culture is prevalent but I bring along my reusables (cup, food bag, food container) to get breakfast and lunch. I have a tiny corner on my work desk where I lay a towel to dry my reusables after washing in the office pantry. At home, I swap out disposables gradually to either package-free products (solid shampoo, body soap) or reusables (Stasher bags).
Tim: We often talk to folks who don't know where to start their sustaimnability journey or feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis.What are some simple ways they can get started?
Dawn: From the simplest things! Setting air conditioning to 24 degree Celsius instead of blasting it at 18 degree Celsius. Refuse a plastic bag and just handcarry your purchase; even if you are getting lunch in a disposable takeaway container, you can refuse putting the container into a plastic bag and just handcarry lunch for that few minutes walk back to the office. Refuse a disposable straw and just drink from the cup. These little changes are not life altering and definitely doable.
Tim: We've heard you use our Stasher bags, how do you personally use them at home?
Dawn: I use them in place of those disposable Ziploc bags to store both raw and cooked leftovers. They are very handy both my husband and I love using Stasher! Given that weekdays can get crazy busy, I sometimes do meal preps on Sundays e.g. boiling vegetable soup stock in bulk then storing them in a few Stand Up Stashers to be kept away in the freezer. This way I have ready soup stock whenever I need by just heating the entire Stasher Bag in a pot of water or in a microwave if you have one.
Thanks for chatting to us Dawn!