Dedicated customers of a zero-waste shop have raised more than £18,000 to invest in the eco-business’ growth.
All is Good, based in Penistone, South Yorkshire, asked its customers to back a crowdfunding campaign to raise the finance it needs to expand the refill section of its community store.
Hundreds made ‘pledges’ to support the initiative and collectively they smashed the ambitious £18k target, within the crowdfunder’s six-week deadline.
This upfront finance now allows the business to cover the costs of a major expansion and refurbishment which starts this month (August). Meanwhile, every customer will get all their money back, on account at the shop’s till, with an extra 10 percent on top, plus rewards and treats such as coffee and cake.
Karen Close, who set up All is Good with friend Leanne Gill in 2021, said: “We are truly humbled and utterly blown away by the response we’ve had from customers to our crowdfunding campaign, especially during this cost-of-living crisis. The way we see it is that in every pledge, no matter how large or small, is a customer telling us they believe in our business, want us to grow and trust us with their money.
“We cannot thank people enough for getting behind our dream of being the best sustainable shop we can be. We’re now focused on expanding our refill area making it more accessible, user-friendly and offering a wider range of zero-waste products at more cost-effective prices, as we are now able to buy more stock in bulk.”
The expansion will include the purchase of a dozen 200-litre barrels of household and personal cleaning products from UK-based supplier Fill/Refill Co plus more zero-waste dispensers for dried food and spices; and a wider range of reduced-waste frozen food.
Karen turned to crowdfunding as an alternative to a bank loan as she wanted to pay back and reward customers for their support, rather than pay hefty fees to benefit the banks. The business has added its own investment on top of the crowdfunding campaign.
Karen said: “I think crowdfunding is definitely the way forward for small businesses with a clear sense of purpose as it cuts out the big banks and enables the business and its customers to work together to grow a community venture. We love that we’re able to pay everyone back, in full, through products and rewards.”
The initiative was supported by Save The High Street, which is working with Barnsley Council across the borough’s towns, and OurPledge, a business consultancy which supports green SMEs, struggling to gain finance to grow. The campaign was hosted by Crowd0.
All is Good sells locally-sourced food, arts, crafts and gifts; ethical brands and environmentally-friendly goods, as well as refill and zero-waste goods.
Its refill area has grown from a four-metre square corner of the shop to a 40m square room of its own in just 18 months. The number of refill products stocked has jumped from five to 20, and it has doubled the number of zero waste dry goods sold.
Karen said: “Our customers have really embraced this new way of shopping which shuns single-use plastic packaging and helps reduce so much of the waste prevalent in conventional shopping. We look forward to investing in growth.”