Divyani Perera / Feb 13, 2015
I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived under the Skytrain overpass in the Victoria Diversion; it was raining hard and there weren’t many people we could say Hi to. At first take, the location and the lack of foot traffic posed a challenge to our greeting skills. After a long day, what was left of our team (Kaare, Kreig and I) walked in to meet Elizabeth McKitrick who warmed us up with apple cider and biscuits that tasted suspiciously healthy. We were offered seats and we felt right at home in her boutique where she operates a social enterprise that serves the community, Cedar Cottage/Trout Lake, where she used to live. The building had also been repurposed and seen various people over the years, including the Carpenter’s Union and Gran Fondo Vancouver.
When asked what inspired her to create this LOCO boutique Elizabeth replies “sustainable initiatives gave me the impetus”, and her resourcefulness in carrying that vision from concept to working model was evident in the workmanship, materials, partnerships and friendships that went in to creating the store over roughly eight months. Although doors opened in November 2014, the story of the building, people and the pieces tells a remarkable story of a close-knit community and reminded us that is what this weekend of Saying Hi to a Stranger was all about.
Here’s the deal: If you are looking for love this Valentine’s Day Weekend, go to Second Nature Home Boutique and give yourself the gift of kindness while making a difference in the lives of others. You will know what I mean when you walk inside: every inch of the space has the beginning of a story of giving another chance to things and the people behind them. If you go inside this weekend, Say Hi and enter to win a gift basket.
Entrepreneurship meets not-for-profit in this innovative business model that demonstrates what it means to be resourceful. While fast moving small businesses like Second Nature are challenging the status quo of the larger enterprises, policy makers can also take notes from the innovative problem solving methods small businesses use, after all it is their resourcefulness that drives them to succeed.
After listening to Elizabeth’s remarkable story of creating a green business, it was clear that creativity is essential to small business survival. Her ideas for a next venture touches on education and awareness for kids to learn about repurposing, while having fun. The impact of this boutique reaches beyond the gift items: The Cedar Cottage/Trout Lake community has a place to refill their laundry detergent, shampoo, dish soap and that’s only one of the many ways that Second Nature Home Boutique transforms how we give and take from our environment. Shopping at Second Nature will in some level strengthen our community by raising the standard of living of others. Please check out the lovely pottery line by Justpotters that provides employment opportunities for people facing multiple barriers to work.
When we asked Elizabeth what makes her so joyful, it was evident in the twinkle in her eye: the boutique brings joy to people through a caring view of the world we live in. We were all inspired by her ability to make a difference and I thank her especially for inspiring us to see the good in everything and everyone.
Feb 21, 2015
We would like to introduce to a great new store in East Vancouver called Second Nature Home brought to you by social entrepreneur, Elizabeth McKitrick. Second Nature Home is a retail store entirely focused on eco-friendly and organic products for the home. If you get a chance to talk with Elizabeth, you will quickly realize she is passionate about the environment and living a sustainable life.
Second Nature Home has an amazing array of items for the home including locally sourced products for the home, curated decorative arts as well as a great vintage section. What we loved was the refilling station for laundry soaps, shampoo, dish detergent, body wash and hand soap with products from local companies, Sapadilla Soap Co., Pacific Coast Soapworks and Gingko & Maple. Their products are made from natural and organic ingredients with essential oils. Elizabeth has bottled product lines available for sale, or you can bring your own containers to the shop and fill them there. The beauty of this, of course, is no plastics to recycle. The added bonus is the wonderful aromatherapy of the soap products themselves, including lavender-lime, grapefruit-bergamot, rosemary-peppermint (some unscented options available too).
Second Nature offers custom gift baskets for any occasion that can be put together with local organic products, and coming soon is an online gift registry. Oh and did we mention bicycle delivery to the local neighbourhood–a trial service will be rolled out this summer, beginning in the Trout Lake/Cedar Cottage area. When it comes to being a socially responsible company, Elizabeth not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. Second Nature Home provides valuable skills development opportunities and mentoring for immigrant women and supports community ecological activity.
Second Nature Home is located at 1827 Victoria Diversion which is the one block stretch that connects Victoria Drive and Commercial Drive located next to the Croatian Cultural Centre.