With Earth Day around the corner, we all might be thinking of ways to live more eco-consciously. For Chappaqua mom, Jessica Paschkes living eco-consciously is a way of life. A photographer and mom of 2, Jessica recently started the Refillery.Shop after coming across a refill shop in Canada that refills household products without the need of buying new plastic bottles. This was a lightbulb moment for her who decided to launch her new business. Read on to learn more about Jessica and what she offers at the Refillery.Shop.
Meet a Mom: Jessica Paschkes, Founder of REFILLERY.shop
Northern Westchester Moms: Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in your town?
Jessica Paschkes: I’m originally from New City in Rockland County right across the bridge. I’ve lived in Chappaqua for 11 years. I have 2 boys. One is going to high school next year the other to middle school I cannot believe it!
Northern Westchester Moms: Tell us about being an Entrepreneur.
Jessica Paschkes:: I’ve had a photography business (www.prettypicturesmarketing.com) since 2014. I shoot mostly family photos and headshots. I also apply makeup for my headshot clients (a service many moms appreciate!). I have a studio in Chappaqua. The photography has been a great way to be creative and to connect with the community. I’m currently taking part in the Launch 1000 Entrepreneur program sponsored by Westchester County because I have a new venture! This program is rigorous it’s eye opening and so inspiring. Having an idea for a business is the easy part now we are all putting the work in.
Northern Westchester Moms: Tell us more about how you came up for the idea of the REFILLERY.shop.
Jessica Paschkes: I’ve always been health-minded and eco conscious. A couple of years ago, when searching online I came upon a refill shop I saw that was based in Canada, and it was like a light bulb moment-this is brilliant! Refill your household products without the need of buying new plastic bottles! Think buying from a bulk bin —only it’s dish soap. The idea to open an actual store was not in my forecast for this business then with COVID and everything being curbside or contactless it seemed like the opportunity was finally right.
Northern Westchester Moms: Why was this important for you to create?
Jessica Paschkes: I love connecting with the community through my work. I also care a lot about doing better and living healthier. It’s important to stay informed, but also to come together as a community to do better in how we consume. We are a single use, take it to-go Starbucks nation and it needs to change. The plastic recycling rates are 90% gets trashed it’s alarming. I had become frustrated with plastic and with sub par product choices.
I am an ingredient reader, and very choosy with products. I would find myself settling for “natural” products for my family. I knew there could be better options I just had to find them. It’s overwhelming the amount of product out there! But, I put in the research so you don’t have to.
Northern Westchester Moms: What can people find at Refillery? This is a new shopping concept can you explain?
Jessica Paschkes: The website is launched and ready for e-commerce for the local community. I am a one woman show so the plan is to have partner local businesses for drop off/delivery and host pop-up sales utilizing social media. There are three categories kitchen, laundry and personal care. How it works is you browse and order online with local delivery free (within 10 mi of Chappaqua). If you order a refill you can choose to refill your own vessel which you leave for me or one of the upcycled ones. I am sourcing and testing all non-toxic products with help from the community. I am choosing to support many female owned businesses. I have sustainable products like Unpaper Towels, vegan wax wraps replacing saran wrap, and a coconut scrubbie that replaces single use brillo pads. Come spring I will have a lot more-so many exciting sustainable options. I’ll also be able to have outdoor pop ups so we can exchange eco info with each other. It will be really fun!
Northern Westchester Moms: What does your family think about your new business?
Jessica Paschkes: My boys are super excited and they tell all their friends. My husband is entrepreneurial himself so he is supportive.
Northern Westchester Moms: How are you juggling having two businesses — during COVID?
Jessica Paschkes: COVID made everyone rethink their lives. We all have to do things differently now. It’s made me ready to take a leap. I’ve always worked from home, but I miss being social and real face to face interaction. It’s not ideal as a photographer to shoot with a mask on. Especially family photos with the little ones—I want them to see my friendly smiling face under the mask.
Northern Westchester Moms: What are some small things people can do to live a greener life?
Jessica Paschkes: Don’t toss clothes or old appliances upcyle, donate and join a Buy Nothing Facebook group. I think each household can make small daily changes like incorporating Unpaper Towels into their kitchen cleanup routine which will reduce paper waste-bonus you save money too! You stick them in the wash with the laundry you are already doing. If your house is like mine some members may be less open to green changes, like in my house I switched to toothpaste tablets and my younger son did too. It was a relief for me I don’t ever need to squeeze and toss another tube of toothpaste -hooray!
The others in my house would not even try it! Another simple easy green switch is buying strategically for big and small purchases like choosing an all purpose cleaner. We have an organic one at REFILLERY.shop which can be used for dishes, floors and laundry. Big brand marketing budgets make us think we need it but we don’t need 6 different products in six different plastic bottles. I want to be a resource for the community to help make it practical and affordable. Realistically it would be impossible to take on a total zero waste lifestyle, but we can change our ways bit by bit.
Northern Westchester Moms: How are you reaching out to parents and moms in the community?
Jessica Paschkes: I’m a member of many mom groups and communities like Pure Barre Mt. Kisco. I think the majority of moms are looking for cleaner, better, less wasteful products for their family. They are proactive and informed. I’ve spoken to those who do their own composting and many who are online browsing for eco friendly products. But you never know what you get shopping online whether it is something that will work for you. And, I think we all agree the amount of plastic and packaging waste entering our homes is insane. I’ve created this local eco-shop community so families can shop smarter and feel good about their choices!
Learn more about the Refillery Shop