Eco-Conscious Soap Brand Sets Up Shop Online
Rebecca Meagher’s family has always maintained respect for the environment and the pursuit of an eco-conscious lifestyle, but the birth of Rebecca’s first daughter in 2014 made her think about how she could widen the impact of her environmental stewardship. Confronted by the alarming rate at which plastics—especially single-use—were polluting our oceans and planet, Rebecca started Koaino Soaps as a project to provide all-natural handmade products for her family. Over the past seven years, that small project grew into a business that has become a staple at local farmers markets, and a supplier of zero-waste natural products all over Ontario.
Rebecca built Koaino around a commitment to create products that were healthy for her customers and the environment. Some of the botanicals used in Koaino’s products even come from her own gardens in Clarence Creek, Ontario, reducing the environmental impact of her manufacturing process by cutting down on the carbon emissions involved in transporting ingredients. While Rebecca has always prioritized natural, eco-friendly ingredients in her products, she also recognizes the significant environmental impact of packaging and shipping products. In 2018, Rebecca pledged to package all of Koaino’s products without plastic, and as of January 2019 all of Koaino’s products are packaged plastic-free.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Koanio’s products were sold in independent stores across Ontario. Some of these retailers are grocery stores that have stayed open during lockdowns to continue serving their communities. While some small boutiques have been forced to close, Rebecca is proud to note that many have adapted with curbside pickup and delivery options.
“Being eco-warriors themselves, they have found a way to continue to provide their customers with plastic-free options, so they’ve been amazing at adapting to overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has presented”
With the demand for Koaino’s products remaining high, Rebecca notes that 2020 has actually been the company’s biggest growth year yet. Her new website created through the ShopHERE Powered By Google Program has allowed her to expand her business even further. Now customers all across Canada can order Koaino’s all-natural, zero-waste products directly, in addition to new wholesale partners having an opportunity to discover and connect with Koaino.
Reflecting on her experience with her ShopHERE Coordinator, Rebecca says, “Paige was amazing to work with! She was very professional, listened to my concerns, and answered my questions. The one-on-one support I received was incredible and with Paige’s help, we were able to set up an online store in just a couple of weeks.” Since Koaino is a one-woman business, having a Coordinator to develop her online store allowed Koaino to continue to grow; Rebecca notes that her website “is now a very important tool that takes customers’ orders, processes their payments, and frees up time for me to spend in my workshop.”
Koaino’s growth has been motivated by the overwhelming demand for Rebecca’s unique products. Rebecca has been thrilled to see the number of people who share her interest in doing whatever they can to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics, an interest that has stayed strong despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“I strongly feel that the plastic-free movement is going stronger than ever and that environmental protection and stewardship will be key to a successful post-COVID-19 recovery”
Check out Rebecca’s all-natural, zero-waste products and read more about her business at koaino.com. You can also keep with Rebecca on Instagram and Facebook. To learn more about the ShopHERE, visit the program’s site, or learn more about Digital Main Street’s other programs and opportunities.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $7.45 million from the Province of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Northern Ontario.