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"I primarily started BYO as I really wanted to be able to shop without packaging, but had nowhere local to me. I had recently started living on a canal boat which makes you hyper aware of how you use your resources, the waste you produce and how it affects the environment you're living in. My background is in finance and business, and I also thought, wouldn't it be great if you could have a business that actively cared about all of its stakeholders, and not just maximising wealth for its shareholders. So in addition to reducing packaging, we try to make ethical decisions across the business, our supply chain, our employees, working in harmony with the other businesses in Nunhead. I also wanted it to be a return to a way of shopping where you could see the food, smell it, ask the staff members questions and receive a knowledgeable answer, rather than just swiping through a lonely self checkout. "
- Laura Hipkiss, Founder of BYO
4 favourite products in store?
Elsa's deodorant (best deodorant ever, natural or not), Wild Sage Co. shampoo bar, Salted Vanoffee Cashews by The Raw Chocolate Co. (addictive) and the almond granola from Rollagranola, which I eat pretty much every day.
What's been your best zero waste tip/ hack?
Chinagraph pencils! Magical white pencils that write on anything. We use them all the time in store to mark out weights and they're good if you want to remember which is cacao and which is cocoa!
What's your favourite place in London?
So hard to choose, so I'm going to cheat and say a thing - Regent's Canal. It was my home for nearly two years when I lived on a boat and is home to so much, nature, people, pubs, parties, and can be an oasis of peace in the mad city environment.
What's your favourite restaurant?
Again there are so many good restaurants here, but one of my faves is Silk Road in Camberwell. Totally unpretentious, no decoration, the staff want you in and out as quick as possible because it's always packed, but for a reason - the food is amazing. Really reasonable prices and loads of great veggie options.