Do you get tired of large plastic containers filling the trash can, or having to remember to toss them into a recycle bin?
Anne Dezort, a Harrison High School 2005 graduate has the answers to your environmental concerns. Soap Refill Station opened in Springfield, Missouri in August 2018 with Kori Smalley as manager. The business has done so well Dezort has partnered with Amy Harmon who is the owner of a Sante Fe, New Mexico location that opened November 2019.
Two weeks before the COVID-19 lockdown, the Kansas City, Missouri location opened. Soap Refill KC, has been nominated for the Best of Kansas City Green Business Award. “We find out the results soon,” she said. Anne is still helping out at this location but will turn it over to manager Kelsey Nichol very soon as they continue to look for new locations for expansion.
Dezort and her business partner, Adam McKay said, “Our goal is to help reduce single use plastic waste in our landfills and water ways.”
McKay and his brother started their own soap business called House Brand which supplies the stores with their own soap — for hands, dishes, or bodies. “It was Adam’s idea to cut down on shipping so much ‘water’ across the country. He buys the dry powder and they formulated our own brand. So we have more control over the price point and the details of each product. And we just have to rely on ourselves for the inventory.”
Their largest sales go from customers purchasing free and clear laundry items. “They are chemical free, unscented and allergen free. All of our products are safe for septic systems and biodegradable. Doing what we can for the environment is important to us.”
“People ask us what effect can one soap refill store have on the environment? I’m amazed at the impact we’ve already had in a short amount of time. The Springfield store has kept 40,000 containers out of landfills. The Kansas City location in just three months has saved 5,000 containers and Sante Fe is approaching 20,000 in just six months. It’s not hard to make a good decision and it makes such a difference.”
Customers can bring any clean plastic containers into the store, to weigh in and refill. Mason jars, ketchup bottles, old shampoo bottles, fancy cosmetics containers and more are some of the refill containers they see. Customers only pay for the amount of product they desire to purchase.
A selection of new bottles and jars are available for purchase if a customer has a need.
A wide variety of products are available from cleaning floors to hosting a fancy spa night. Products for babies, laundry, stain removers, pet products, reusable straws, reusable bamboo cutlery and allergy-free products, bulk beeswax — the possibilities seem endless.
“You can customize anything with one of our many essential oils or mix-n-match any products together,” she said. “Add stain remover to boost your laundry soap powder. Add clay or exfoliant to your face wash. Or, just add lavender to your favorite body lotion.”
An oil bar allows customers to find essential oils, specialty skin care oils, natural face cleansers, creams, and all the ingredients you need to make your own serums, tonics, masks, exfoliating cleansers, perfumes and more.
Loafs of homemade soaps are made by local entrepreneurs and sold in whatever size “slice” the customer desires. “My personal favorite is the cucumber spearmint flavor,” Dezort said. “We rotate the ‘flavors’ each week and sell a lot of lavender and coffee, too.”
Dezort graduated from Southern Missouri University in 2010 and majored in art film and minored in mass marketing media. “My minor required me to learn every aspect of media advertising including graphic design. I have used those skills a lot,” she said.
Her expertise shows with a very informative website (getmosoap.com) which allows customers to browse products, services and place orders. During the COVID-19 quarantine, she hired out-of-work friends to deliver products to front doors for a “touch-less” shopping experience. Customers were thrilled to get a text showing a picture of the delivered products sitting at their front door.
Dezort says they like to practice a “less waste” philosophy, too. “We'll have an ever evolving line up of outstanding premium, allergen free, fragrance free, vegan, budget friendly, less waste, pure, refillable and reusable items.”
The Kansas City and Springfield locations continue to have “delivery Fridays” for their customers.