After closing a $4.5 million seed round in September, Package Free, a Brooklyn-based omnichannel retailer propagating a zero-waste lifestyle, has opened shop in Chelsea Market.
The 300-square-foot store will be the second physical location for the retailer, with the first opening two years prior in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn.
“While the Chelsea Market store marks our second brick-and-mortar location, and will hopefully introduce zero-waste products to New Yorkers and tourists from around the world, it is the first of many stores that we plan to open nationwide,” Lauren Singer, chief executive officer of Package Free, said to WWD.
A spokesperson for Chelsea Market said Package Free will be a “first of its kind” for the Market and an “excellent addition.”
Chelsea Market sees millions of visitors each year, making it a “huge opportunity” for raising awareness as far as Singer is concerned. “We believe that the potential scale of positive impact through this location can be huge,” reiterated Singer.
Before founding Package Free in 2017, Singer gained a following through writing about her zero-waste lifestyle on her blog “Trash Is for Tossers.”
And her customers have since followed in her footsteps — maybe not to the extent of collecting years of trash in a single mason jar as Singer did. Since inception, the company states that its customers have helped divert more than 75 million pieces of trash from landfills.
To which Singer retorts: “We’re just getting started.” Package Free, in addition to its two store locations in New York City, operates a “robust e-commerce selection,” also packing and shipping its orders plastic-free.
Singer is on a mission to make “buying a product from Package Free as accessible and convenient as it is to buy one from Unilever or P&G,” as well as take back for recycling.
The era of “responsible retail” has urged even traditional consumer packaged goods companies such as Unilever to halve its use of virgin plastic and take on new sustainable partnerships (e.g. TerraCycle and its Loop e-commerce platform), to which Procter & Gamble have also participated.
But Package Free may have the advantage of embedding a new consumption behavior into its product assortment, carrying plastic-free and zero-waste alternatives in categories such as personal care, oral hygiene, beauty, bath and shower, grooming, food storage, cleaning supplies, home and kitchen.
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