10 to Watch Winner 2023 – PlentiFILL

Sector: Sales and Retail

Year Launched: 2022

Founders: From left, Krystal Aikman and Stephanie Farrow

Unique selling proposition: plentiFILL is on a mission to drastically reduce consumer waste in the Cowichan Valley by offering low- and no-waste alternatives to everyday household, bath, body and food products.

Strategy: With a focus on building community, plentiFILL gives customers the opportunity to use their old containers (or donated ones in-store) and refill them with new products from shampoo to toothpaste, tea to garlic salt.

Website: plentifill.ca

Krystal Aikman and Stephanie Farrow knew they were onto something when they came up with  the idea to open a refillery up-Island. 

“When we first opened, we had so many people come into the store thrilled, and the first thing out of their mouths was ‘We needed this in the Cowichan Valley and we are so happy you are here,’ ” says Aikman. “I think that in itself gave us both the assurance that we made the right decision.”

Aikman mentioned the idea to her sister-in-law Stephanie Farrow, after a road trip in October 2021. It was “crazy” at the time — the two had families and jobs they loved — but the idea stuck. By November plans were in motion, and the shop opened in February 2022. Since then, plentiFILL has been refilling the central and Gulf Islands’ containers with everything from soaps and cosmetics to food items like mushroom-cacao mix. The store also offers local goods to support those living an eco-conscious lifestyle. 

“For the last 10 years, Krystal and I have shared a five-acre hobby farm with my parents, our partners and my son. We’ve been sharing resources, raising our food and trying to minimize our overall impact,” says Farrow. “I’ve always been a bit of a ‘granola mom’ — cloth diapers, driving an electric vehicle, growing gardens, recycling — so I always made my best effort, but once we started on this journey, I started to see some frightening facts that I was unaware of previously … Re-using really is our best course of action to have a maximum impact.”

With a mission to directly reduce the amount of single-use packaging sent to landfills, the store not only offers one-stop refills: it now partners with local resources and regional district waste management initiatives to offer educational materials and programs, and a drop-off location for hard-to-recycle containers.