As we wrap up 2021, it’s the perfect time for a #yearend #FridayReflection.
These last few days of 2021 have inspired me to dig deep and really reflect on where I am, and in turn, where Fillaree is. When I launched my little refillable soap company back in 2014, there were no other refillable soaps or cleaners on the market – online or brick-and-mortar. I launched this business because what I wanted to see in the world didn’t exist – so, I created Fillaree and boy did she step up to fill that gap! I could not be more proud of what has grown and blossomed out of that seed I planted so long ago.
The truth is, as I look at what Fillaree has become, it’s almost unrecognizable. Over time, our community, our refillers, the environment around us has shaped and shifted Fillaree into what she is today. It’s no longer just my little family business that met a local need for Earth-safe soap. Fillaree is an entity all her own – she’s so much more.
Y’all know I’m not trying to fit some mold of what a business owner/entrepreneur is supposed to be – there was no road map for how to create a company like Fillaree, so I’ve never had a model to go by. But I guess I always thought that eventually I’d have it all figured out. But I was wrong! Lately I’ve been reflecting on how strange it is to be completely responsible for an entity that I actually have so little control over! If I’m not here, Fillaree ceases to exist… yet, Fillaree is so much more than me. I’m just a steward nurturing her so she can continue to grow.
But these days I find myself asking… “in which direction should she grow, now?” Launching a company that was totally unique in model and form and growing a company that now has quite a host of competitors, are two very different charges. Don’t get me wrong, the plethora of other zero-waste and refillable companies on the market now is quite flattering – it tells me I was ahead of my time in 2014 and blazed this trail for others to follow! But seriously, what now?
As large corporations and well-funded startups alike embrace refill as a model (granted, with a lot of #greenwashing that’s very disappointing to see), where does that leave Fillaree? Where does that leave me? I can say that competing with large national brands is not something I’m interested in doing… it seems a waste of my time and energy to try to compete on a level that isn’t where Fillaree fits.
The thing that has really sustained me over the past year, another tough mid pandemic year with lots of trials and tribulations, has been the relationships I’ve built through Fillaree. From mentoring a team member who launched a business of her own, bringing in a bar soap making partner to elevate her amazing product, connecting with a local farmer to shorten our supply chain, and sponsoring a local non-profit to provide soap to unhoused neighbors… these relationships mean more to me than any tank of soap ever will. But without these tanks of soap, none of this exists.
Embarking on a new year is always a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I love to set goals and have my eye on a prize. But time and experience have taught me that “life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.” So, I’m trying to take an older and wiser approach this year. I’ll keep showing up to this little haven I’ve built at Fillaree and doing the work I love to do, and I’ll take each day as it comes. My goal for this year is simple yet so complex - pay attention and be still enough to notice where Fillaree and I are needed in our community, while staying nimble and quick on my feet so that I can take action where it will matter the most.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a Happy New Year and promise my love for you grows more every day! This community of refillers is an absolute delight to show up for day after day, year after year! We’ve made a tremendous impact in 2021 and I can’t wait to see what we do together in the year to come.
With much peace, love, and refills…
and a boat load of gratitude,