Zero waste Indiana: an interview with Good Soul Shop

This inaugural Zero Waste Indiana post is kindly sponsored by Good Soul Shop. Are you a business doing great zero waste things in Indiana? Get in touch! Community-building is important to me and any eco-conscious organization in Indiana is one I’d like to get to know!

Today I’m excited to share an interview with Heather, the owner of Good Soul Shop. Not only is it a cool shop, she’s Indiana based!! The zero waste Indiana movement is growing slowly but surely, and I’m excited to support the movers and shakers.

Heather designed leadership development programs, coach executives, and help companies grow and retain their talented employees for 20 years. She worked for manufacturing and technology companies, which gives her insight into sustainable manufacturing practices. And as she says: “let’s be real, companies generate a lot of trash.”

Last year she left the corporate world to start her own consulting business, Metta Karuna Soul. Good Soul Shop is a sister company. Both names include ‘Soul’ because the act of ‘GOODwill’ and compassion is the SOUL of any socially conscious business (and consumer).

So check out the interview – really interesting to hear a shop owner’s perspective of zero waste! – and then consider supporting Good Soul Shop the next time you’re ready to buy a zero waste item for yourself or as a gift!

It’s so exciting to see something like this based in Indiana! Can you tell me a little bit about how Good Soul Shop got started?

Good Soul Shop is Indiana’s premier online sustainable living marketplace for conscious consumers. We help customers reduce waste and toxins in their life. While founded in Indiana, Good Soul Shop serves 48 states in the continental US.

Good Soul Shop is an exciting venture and is on the mark with Indiana’s growth. While I am an Indiana native, I spent fifteen years living in California and nearly four years living in Tokyo, Japan. Can you believe there isn’t a single piece of trash on the streets of Tokyo? My experience abroad radically changed my view of the world…Personally, I adopted a healthier, eco-conscious mindset and lifestyle over time.

Heather and I share the experience of traveling and ending up in Indiana. She and I talked about the very real way Indiana is “playing catch-up to other areas of the US and the world”. Thankfully, that catch-up game is growing – I can’t wait to see where the state heads in the future.

It can only get better, right?

What will we be able to purchase in the store? Do you have plans for adding more products?

Dive into the small but mighty shop for yourself right now.

Good Soul Shop offers a range of carefully curated, high quality sustainable goods for the conscious consumer. This includes products for kids and babies, the kitchen, bathroom, home, and lifestyles… Good Soul Shop’s products are an investment and last for years, saving customers money in the long run. The products help people eliminate toxins and/or move to a zero waste (or less waste) lifestyle.

… Good Soul Shop has a list a mile long of desired products and niches to explore. I hope we grow quickly so we can collectively reduce toxins and waste in the environment, in what we consume, and what we put on our body. 

What are your standards for choosing the products in your store?

Heather is committed to making zero waste items accessible and relatively cost-friendly to those who may be nervous to purchase these more expensive items. As she notes (and us in the movement are familiar with): “Sometimes, price can be perceived as a barrier to entry. By considering the cost-savings, we replace disposable products and eventually, they are no longer purchased and consumed.”

She also touches on an important theme in her next point, particularly as someone in the largely not eco-conscious state of Indiana: meeting people halfway:

I also support people who aren’t fully zero waste but strive to eliminate toxins and are interested in less waste. Good Soul Shop’s belief is by gaining the trust and loyalty of our customers, Good Soul Shop can support their transition to non-disposable products… So I don’t judge, and I rely on Good Soul Shop to influence change by educating and supporting customers, helping them to make these lifestyle shifts.

Indiana may seem like an unlikely spot for the zero waste movement, but Good Soul Shop is out to change that!

What can customers expect, packaging-wise?

While on the phone, Heather and I talked about the issue with zero waste products in not-so-zero-waste shipping materials. (Anyone else bought something from a “zero waste” company and found it wrapped in plastic packaging?)

I appreciate Heather’s openness about her shop and the limitations she currently faces as a small business. Heather notes:

Currently, Good Soul Shop partners with suppliers who handle the fulfillment and shipping. This keeps overhead costs lower since I am not purchasing all of the inventory up front and allows me to offer more product options to customers. This approach has its trade offs though, because I don’t fully control the packing and shipping… For every individual purchase, I always request minimal packaging when I submit customer orders.

As Good Soul Shop grows, I’ll be able to purchase more inventory up front and bring the fulfillment and shipping in house, which means Good Soul Shop has ownership over how materials are packaged, packed, and shipped… Many online marketplaces are so big, they aren’t able to effectively influence each seller and supplier in this way. Think of the difference each consumer can make when choosing Good Soul Shop. We are a united voice for change and as conscious consumers, we vote with our dollars.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

Don’t be intimidated. No ‘zero waste’ individual was able to change everything overnight. Good Soul Shop aims to make sustainable living more inclusive across all economic levels and meet customer needs across all demographics. Today, my trash does not fit into a mason jar. But I generate a LOT less. It’s about progress, not perfection…

Make a list of items you can eliminate from your life. Make a commitment to yourself on how you can adopt a more ‘minimalist’ approach and put those actions on your list (do you really need that coffee in a paper cup every morning, or can you bring your own stainless steel mug?).

Head over to Good Soul Shop and have a look. Feel good in supporting a local entrepreneur in her attempts to make Indiana a more eco-friendly place!