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Once More … With Feeling!

Soap and Lotion Shop Goes Green With Eco-Friendly Refills
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Paula Han, owner of the Handle gift shop on Mission Street, stands in front of her recently installed product refill station. Below, some of the refill bottles for sale if customers want to go green. Photos by Kamala Kirk

After repeatedly hearing customers talk about how they wanted to refill products such as hand soap and lotion without having to purchase the plastic containers they came in, Paula Han —owner of South Pasadena-based gift shop Handle — decided to look further into the matter.

So after doing some research and connecting with the owners of Further, a Pasadena company whose sustainable products are sold at Handle, Han recently added a product refill station in her store.

“People were specifically asking about Further products, so when I felt there was enough interest, I reached out to the owners to see if they would be willing to sell me the products in bulk,” Han, whose store is located at 1030 Mission St., told the Review. “They were really great about it, and I added the refill station to my store at the beginning of October.”

At the moment, Han’s product refill station carries Further hand soap, dish soap and lotion. How it works is, customers can either bring in their empty Further bottles to refill or they can purchase empty eight- or 16-ounce glass bottles that Han sells in-store.

“Customers have been very receptive, and I’ve had several purchases made at the refill station,” Han said. “I’ve already been receiving requests to refill shampoo and conditioner. I’m always open to ideas and feedback from customers. I plan to just go from there to see what else they ask for.”

Han plans to expand her refill station in the near future by adding more products and brands, including the Los Angeles-based company No Tox Life. Han encourages other business owners who are curious about adding a refill station to their stores to reach out to her.

“I’m still new to this myself, but I’d be happy to answer any questions they have,” she said. “I can share details like where I order my bottles from, that sort of thing. A lot of times it can be tricky to find a company that is willing to sell gallon- or bulk-size products, but they’re definitely out there, and I’m slowly learning more about them.”

In addition to its refill station, Handle also sells a variety of other eco-conscious products such as reusable sponges, beeswax wrap, produce storage bags, metal straws and more.

“It’s nice to be a part of this movement that’s taking place in Los Angeles,” Han said. “I’ve caught wind of other stores that are offering refill stations and doing other things to help the environment. It’s just about becoming aware of little changes you can make in your daily life to make a greater impact on the world around you.”

For more information, call (626) 399-8907 or visit the website www.handleandgift.com.

Kamala Kirk

Kamala Kirk is a contributing writer for the South Pasadena Review, San Marino Tribune and The Quarterly Magazine. Kamala formerly served as Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine, West Coast Editor of American Salon Magazine, and Digital Editor for E! Online. A native of Hermosa Beach, California, she is a proud USC Trojan and pug mom to Wrigley the Pug (@pugofpasadena).

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