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  • Nic F. Anderson

Bad Ass of the Month: Michelle Stevens, the Founder of the Refill Shoppe

“It all began with a pretty olive oil bottle, and then buying a bottle of olive oil to pour into the pretty bottle. While contemplating the 20-minute lifespan of that second bottle in the shower, the perfect place to ponder and wonder, an idea formed. Why not just refill all the still perfectly good bottles instead of buying new ones every time? A long road trip allowed the simple thought to turn into a vision of a place where you could get just what you need without anything that you don’t. And about 6 months later... The Refill Shoppe was born.”

Pictured: Michelle Stevens, Founder of the Refill Shoppe. Photo used with permission.

Thanks to Michelle Stevens, the Refill Shoppe’s founder, she was able to open the doors to her idea now reality in Ventura, California on July 2nd, 2010 just outside Ventura’s downtown. Welcoming the public with bulk goods and several bottle options, Michelle and her team began to slowly fill the shelves with other eco-friendly accessories and bath-goods that complimented the Refill Shoppe’s concept. Michelle explained that after two years, the Refill Shoppe was ready for a bigger home and moved from just outside of Ventura’s downtown, to the city’s downtown area. Six years later, the Refill Shoppe has filled over 22,000 containers.

Founder Michelle Stevens was awarded 'Innovator of the Year' from NAWBO, the National Association of Women Business Owners, Ventura County Chapter in 2012. She wishes to continue creating a life that she wants to live, a fulfilling one with a sense of purpose.

Michelle’s dream for the Refill Shoppe is to make a difference by exciting individuals by giving them the tools they need to create a lifestyle where they can omit using single use plastics and become more aware of how daily choices affect the rest of the world. Michelle’s goal for the Refill Shoppe is for continued success and growth but in a thoughtful and sustainable way, eventually opening more Shoppes in similar, like-minded places and growing to become a chain that cares. Currently, the Refill Shoppe team just launched their e-commerce website, which is growing rapidly.

The Refill Shoppe’s e-commerce website, allows customers to not only buy already made goods but to create their own kind as well. The website is extremely user friendly and the prices are outstandingly fair.

Pictured: Peppermint Lip Scrub from the Refill Shoppe, one of the many goods sold. Photo used with permission.

Within the last couple years, the Refill Shoppe has made many positive waves and people noticed. The Refill Shoppe won the Change Action Award and Environmental Excellence from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, CoolCalifornia Climate Leader from the California Air Resources Board, and Small Business of the Year from State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.

Michelle finds that Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia are entrepreneurs that she looks up to. “Their headquarters are located just down the road from us which has actually afforded me the opportunity to meet Yvon at a local 1% For the Planet event! It is so inspiring how Patagonia constantly examines every aspect of their business to identify issues that no one else is even thinking about, they then announce those issues to the world and then come up with radical ways to improve how they function.”

In August 2015, the Refill Shoppe became a certified B Corporation, or benefit corporation, which is a newer type of company authorized in 30 U.S. states and D.C. that uses business strategies for good: it positively impacts society, workers, communities, and the environment.

Check out the Refill Shoppe and learn more about the good things they do!

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