Have you read the labels of your cleaning products? Checked the ingredients in your skincare? Or wondered where your household items come from? Online retailer Flora & Fauna has made it its mission to do it for you, and now it’s opening a bricks-and-mortar store to make ethical shopping easier.
It's converting its North Rocks warehouse, in Sydney’s west, into a marketplace store, filled with vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly products such as natural deodorants, essential oils, reusable coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes and more.
Founder Julie Mathers tells Broadsheet she started the brand as an online-only retailer first to reach a wider audience and spread their message of ethical consumption. “With our purpose, online was perfect for us because we can connect with communities in Australia and beyond, rather than just a small group of people,” she explains.
Since opening in 2014, the company has become one of the country’s foremost retailers for ethical products, carrying over 6000 items from more than 200 brands. They also ship worldwide.
Now that the brand is more established, Mathers feels the time is right to open a proper store. “It was a really obvious next step for us, and we’ve had such a great reaction from our community,” she says. “It’s a great place for people to come and learn more about how they can make different choices.”
In addition to education and awareness of ethical consumption, Flora & Fauna is a certified B corporation, meaning it meets high standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. In addition, all carbon emissions from the business are offset through Greenfleet, which plants native forests across the country.
“I really wanted to create a business that was better,” says Mathers. “We’re passionate about the environment, how we treat customers and the planet, and giving our customers a transparent shopping experience.”
The new store will host regular pop-up stalls and workshops on ways to reduce environmental impact, from switching to reusable nappies and menstrual cups to joining Plastic Free July and making your own cleaning products.
There will also be a drop-off point for customers to leave their plastic make-up and skincare containers to be recycled, and the first Ecostore bulk refill station in Australia.
On opening day there’ll be a vegan wine truck on-site, as well as pop-up stations for making your own vegan chocolate, cruelty-free beauty makeovers, product tastings, and opportunities to meet the makers behind the products.
While there are no plans for more stores, Mathers is optimistic about the space, which she sees as a testing ground. “What’s great about this one is it’s the perfect way to see what works and what we can change,” she says. “We can make it the best it can be for customers, and to spread our message.”
The Flora & Fauna grand opening is on Saturday, July 13 from 10am to 4pm.
Flora & Fauna
4/25 Loyalty Road, North Rocks
Mon to Thu 7.30am–5.30pm