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Meet Tonia Soteros of Recontained

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tonia Soteros.

Hi Tonia, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve had the idea for a refill shop since 2009. It came to me after reading some staggering plastic stats that really opened my eyes to the amount of plastic I personally threw out each month with my in-home consumables. I got busy writing a business plan but then my long-time career in the garment industry sucked me back in. I tabled the idea of Recontained and started my own sourcing company. In 2018, a friend of mine told me she’d been buying refills from a local business in Las Vegas and I knew in that moment, I had to do Recontained or it would be my biggest regret. Here I am.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth is definitely not how I would describe this journey. My business partner and I started out doing popups at local farmer’s markets and misc venues around town. One venue on Abbot Kinney was a huge success so we asked the business owner if we could make it permanent and he said yes. After a few months and many launch parties letting the community know we were in town, that location fell through. After a few tears, we bounced back and found another location down the street. Seven months into that, my business partner decided to depart from the company and one month after that, the entire world shut down due to Covid. To say I pivoted is a major understatement. I went from a business that was primarily a brick and mortar location to having to teach myself Shopify overnight (literally). I launched a website and did home delivery refills until I could open the shop again. The shop on Abbot Kinney opened back up in July of 2020 and in March of 2021, the shop moved to its current location in Santa Monica. I could not be happier. The location is a perfect fit for Recontained. The community is so amazing and welcomed us with open arms. After a bit of a rough start, Recontained finally feels like its home.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Recontained?
Recontained is a Zero-Waste and Refill Shop in Santa Monica, CA. Our primary focus is on our refill bar which has everything from home cleaning products to a full line of skincare. I’m so proud of that in the midst of a global pandemic, Recontained has been able to not only stay alive but thrive. It makes me so happy that people want to make better choices for the planet, even in such trying times. I have had customers that have followed me from our popup days and are still supporting us now at the new location. It really is our customer base that makes this concept work. People care. Recontained does its best to make the refill process as easy as possible but it’s still and extra stop in their busy world so I’m just super grateful and incredibly impressed with how passionate our customers are about taking care of our awesome planet.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We are open Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 6pm, closed on Mondays. We also have a whole slew of retail products that will allow people to live a more zero-waste lifestyle, such as products that eliminate the need for single-use items. We want to make living a more zero-waste lifestyle a one stop shop.

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