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Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Supplied

Offering green options for earth-conscious customers, Shop Zero is all about doing away with packaging and single-use plastic. Their new store in Woodstock is also home to a vegan cafe and hosts workshops. Co-owner Elza Hart tells us more.

How did your business start?

In August last year, Janneke Blake dreamed of opening a plastic-free, zero-waste store, as there were none in Cape Town at the time, and she launched a crowdfunding campaign. Towards the end of the campaign, I joined her, followed by a friend from Janneke’s yoga group, Abigail Metcalfe, and we forged a partnership. We felt that together we could create a productive space to help the community understand and care for the needs of the environment. Shop Zero started off small at a market in November 2017, then opened as a pop-up shop in the Woodstock Co-op in February this year. The demand proved high, so Shop Zero is here to stay.

Why did you choose Woodstock to set up shop?

We all live in the area and know and love the community, so it made sense to open our bricks-and-mortar shop in Woodstock.

How did you find your premises?

It was quite challenging. Places we really wanted, fell through and rental prices have skyrocketed in the area due to gentrification, so we started off with a pop-up shop until the right space finally opened up to us.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

Our new permanent shop space is right next to the Old Biscuit Mill, so we get a nice mix of locals, tourists, regulars and newcomers. It has better accessibility and visibility than our pop-up shop, and we share the space with a vegan chef (Flourish Bistro), so the shop has become a collaborative and nourishing space for body, soul and mind. It’s big enough to continue hosting workshops. We have done quite a few already, including a DIY body product workshop and a smoothie bowl session with a respected vegan chef.

What are the rental prices like in this area?

Quite high compared to a few years ago, but we’re happy with our current rental agreement and landlord.

Who are your neighbours?

We are surrounded by a range of eclectic food, clothing, decor and furniture shops that encourage linger-longer browsing and a satisfying shopping experience. Immediate neighbours are Postnet and The Blonde Chaos.

How many people visit your business each day?

It varies quite dramatically depending on the time of the month, weather and season. We have just moved into our new shop, so we haven’t yet got accurate figures.

Do you have any expansion plans?

We’d like to open Shop Zero branches in more locations across South Africa.

Do you operate online as well?

You can shop online and we deliver our zero-waste lifestyle products nationally. Our food (and other bulk products) delivery system has just launched in selected Cape Town areas. This system works on a reusable container deposit basis, whereby you can swap out your empty product container for another one on your next order and only pay for the contents. This way we aim to get rid of single-use packaging.

What’s your most popular item?

Currently our bamboo toothbrush.

Shop Zero
076 833 6268 / 084 201 5652

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