A simple pack of beeswax wraps was the catalyst to a whole new business endeavour for a mother-daughter team in Collingwood.
Paige Sillcox purchased the effective and “fun-to-use” wraps from Winners one day and got instantly hooked. She started researching other ways to reduce waste in her life and discovered a whole world of Canadian-made products that she could easily implement into her home.
Sillcox and her daughter, Kendall Braunstein, co-founded the Pine Eco + Refillery Boutique to inspire others to do the same.
“Our mission is to offer sustainable products that inspire greener living. We really just want to make it easier for people to take care of themselves and the planet,” said Braunstein.
The Pine officially opened its doors on May 21 — the same day the province implemented Stage 2 of its reopening plan allowing retail stores to reopen — and the mother-daughter duo haven’t looked back.
“Try to think zero waste, low waste, or biodegradable as much as possible,” said Sillcox. “With the focus being on home and body.”
Sillcox and Braunstein’s goal with the Pine is to make a positive impact on people’s lives, the community and the environment. Sourcing eco-friendly and ethical products, the women wanted to feature as many Canadian-made products as possible, with a focus on the refill.
Refillable products at the Pine include everything from dish soap and laundry detergent to shampoo, face cream and make-up remover. The store also features clothing and utility items, and even an eco-friendly pour-over coffee pot.
“You go down the rabbit hole for how bad plastic really is and how wasteful we really are,” said Sillcox.
“It’s just thinking about easy swaps you can make in your life,” added Braunstein.
For example, Braunstein never thought she would get excited about doing her laundry or brushing her teeth, but she said when it’s a quality and stylish product, it makes even a mundane task a whole new experience.
“Making daily activities meaningful,” said Braunstein. “You feel better, you are excited about it and you become more conscious about it.”
Two years ago, Sillcox bought a house in Collingwood. Originally from Aurora, she intended to spend more time up here and instantly fell in love. She said the area inspired her to do things a little differently and live more minimally. Her daughter, who recently graduated from McMaster University with a degree in philosophy, came to spend the summer last year and never left.
Their passion for choosing zero-waste options continued to grow and the more they learned, the more dedicated they became. Sillcox and Braunstein started discussing the possibility of opening a business together last fall, but they had no idea what it would actually look like.
Sillcox found herself frustrated that she had to go to several locations in order to buy all of her new favourite products. She thought it would be easier for people to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle if there was a one-stop shop of sorts for all of the products.
“It was a lightbulb moment,” said Braunstein.
The duo started researching deeper and testing several different products, trying to learn everything they could about the practice of refilling and using all-natural products.
“I get the experience from using [the products],” said Braunstein. “That’s how you get excited about it, if you know how something works. And I want to be able to be honest with people.”
Then the space, formerly occupied by Seed, became available, and everything fell into place.
Sillcox remembers the house being a mess of products in the weeks leading up to their opening. Deliveries were all over the place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Sillcox and Braunstein had to recruit the rest of their family to help pull it all together in time.
One of Braunstein’s brothers made the big display table in the front of the store, and the other drove halfway to North Bay to get the sign that they commissioned from an Ontario-based artist.
“It was a family effort,” laughed Braunstein.
But it was all worth it. Sillcox and Braunstein said that every single day they are inspired by the people who come into their store, whether they are knowledgeable about refilling or not.
“The positive response and feedback, it always makes you feel the same. It never gets old,” said Braunstein.
“Even if it’s one person discovering us, it’s worth it and important,” added Sillcox.
The Pine is currently open seven days a week, from 12-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and until 4 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.