Name: Daniel Castle
Company: Dan’s Refill Store
Sum up your business in a sentence: People bring us their used plastic bottles and we refill them with something from our range of household cleaning and toiletry products.
When did you start your business? At the end of October 2019.
What & who inspires you? David Attenborough has been a huge inspiration, helping us observe the countless wonders of the planet. He and others, such as Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall, have brought to our attention the terrible peril facing the world as a result of human activity. As Christians, we believe people are meant to look after creation rather than exploit it and that, in a small way, is our aim.
What sets you apart from the others? Our ethos, as far as possible, is to provide quality products that do not harm the environment, and eliminate the need for plastic waste. To this end, all our products come in large containers that, when empty, are returned to the supplier for reuse.
What did you do before setting up your business and why did you set it up? I was a teacher for several years, two of which were in Cambodia. There I saw first-hand what plastic pollution can do in a country where there is little infrastructure to deal with it. Their beautiful country is getting more and more covered in waste, and the fumes of burning plastic fill the air. We set up Dan’s Refill Store to help to stem the tide of plastic waste, while raising awareness of the issue.
What’s the best thing about running your own business? I love being able to respond to a need. There is a growing demand for what we sell as more and more people are becoming fed up with the amount of plastic waste we are producing, that no-one really knows what to do with.
Your favourite product & why? I think they are all great, so it’s hard to choose. However, I personally love the patchouli and sandalwood bodywash. It reminds me of my student days… and it’s completely SLS and SLES- free.
Your greatest business tip? Do something you enjoy and believe in.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why? There’s not very far back to go, so we’re just looking forward at the moment.
How do you see your company growing in the future? If the business takes off, we’d love to have our own premises, so we could branch out into a wider range of products, especially food.
Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company: Have a plan. Stick to it!
Your biggest weakness: I would do anything for a Thai curry!
Your biggest success: We have survived two months!
Favourite quote: “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Henry David Thoreau
Favourite motto: Let’s make things better (Philips)
Business dream: To run a store that feels more like a community.
Your simple pleasure: Going birdwatching on a cold day and coming home to tea and cake by the fire.
Favourite tipple: At this time of year, it has to be Chiltern Brewery’s Winter Stout.
Tell us a joke: Beethoven was exhumed twice. On both occasions he was found to be decomposing!