I realize that I often quietly disappear into the shadows on a regular basis and not all of you know me from my personal journey that I documented over at the IG handle, @thelittleredheart.
I wrote this post a week ago and it has been stewing here but after an IG story asking if you folks wanted more info on me it seemed that sharing was the way to go. I have written some of the real nitty gritty of how I ended up approaching sustainability this way. Below are some of the absolutely hardest moments of my life, from leaving a career I loved for love, to an injury that forever changed me. Don’t worry, I keep it light hearted and funny.
Here is the short story for people who don’t want to read on. Growing up my mom would not buy us Lunchables, Oreos, or the like because, and I quote,
“Those are wrapped in plastic in a plastic tray wrapped in plastic, in a box. That’s way too much packaging, no.”Marisa’s Mom, most commonly known as Mary
I bring this up this quote every time my mom was questioning this whole zerowaste life thing when I started. HAHA.
I have always been “green” minded with the small things related to energy conservation growing up, not what I would call sustainable now, but living in very religious conservative, small town Minnesota that was weird enough.
In my middle teens I dabbled in being a vegetarian. Who remembers those veggie burgers, can we say uffda? I realized later as I have/had a pretty hard time with dairy that I was an uneducated vegan, so I was rather unhealthy. Around the age of 19, I got extremely ill from an unchecked gastro-intestinal infection that me and my doctor believe was due to my Nalgene water bottle’s age and not being cleaned throughly enough. At this stage I could eat very little without throwing up so I reintroduced meat into my diet and stopped any dairy consumption I could as I was still struggling with my health.
One thing to take away, clean water is a basic human right, and it’s zero fun to learn your water is trying to kill you.
In my mid-teens, and more so after I moved out, I started my journey into minimalism. It blossomed due to necessity not aesthetic after I moved out and was seeming to move every year. Nearly 10 years, Cody in tow now, we downsized by ⅔ the space we had before moving to Winnipeg in 2015. We lived in 530 sq. ft and loved it, except for the fact that a balcony would have made it perfect. When we lived in London, ON we were very poor, not just broke, and everything was entirely second hand, but it was during this time that I started to truly evaluate the things I buy, new or used.
When we got to Winnipeg, Cody got a couple short contracts and I could not find a job so I pinched every penny, learned a lot more in the kitchen, and dove into the tiny living life.
You can see I now have many aspects of ZW starting to snowball.
Here comes the doozy, I had a head injury in June 2016 and my life changed, so obviously I thought let’s cold turkey quit plastic for Plastic Free July in 2016.
DO NOT FOLLOW IN MY EXAMPLE. LOL. It was horrendous, if you have ever heard me at a talk you know how hilarious I made this terrible decision seem. After that month, I was like, what’s next? Cut to asking Google all the questions.
I stumbled across a whole world of zerowaste centred IG people that talked racism, climate crisis, community, gardening, skill learning, sharing economies, and least of all trash. From there I had a small online business in 2017 called Fullerton’s Plain Goods, I hated being online so I started thinking about a physical store with a completely different look, feel, and product offering. In there I also tried my hand at Zerowaste Manitoba, but the interest was in learning what to buy not volunteering to make change. I get it, MB was not ready, I did not have the capacity to drive it further, and no one was interested in taking it on. Failure is a learning experience but from that I came into contact with DIY Homesteader Festival and I would do it all again.
Other things that happened
Oh, somewhere in this story I worked alongside my dad to open a wine & panini bar where I fell in love with wine. I graduated from UND with an undergrad in Business, Major in Entrepreneurship. Studied wine and was one test away from being a Certified Sommelier with the International Guild of Sommeliers. I got married, I managed a liquor store and the wine buying for all 5 of the stores that the company I worked for owned, started an awesome wine club that is still running 6 years after I left the company, and then migrated into Canada for my partner’s Masters degree. People tell you that you need to live with your partner once married, don’t listen to them, you do you. I probably would have not moved to Canada at this time and my story would have been way different.
I think the time I spent in wine and spirits gave me the in sight into asking the right types of questions to see what people really would like, not what they want because its trendy.
The Birth of Refill
Summer 2019 we found a space, Fall 2019 we set a deposit of much money, Dec 2019 we got keys, January 2020 the space was ours. We had planned to open come spring, but that darn pandemic was like, nope, do it slower Marisa. Here we are beginning of March 2021 and we are a week away from walk-ins.
Hope you enjoyed this bit of me and the birth story of Refill. See you around.
P.S. As for pronouns, she/her, but you will often find that my own language in regards to myself is fluid.
P.P.S. for my lovers of Human design I am a Projector, for my astrology peeps, Leo sun and moon, with a Capricorn rising. The Meyers Briggs people, pre-head injury I do believe I was an ENFJ and post I am a INFJ. It’s too much energy to be an extrovert, LOL. Enneagram folks, I don’t know, let me get back to you.
P.P.P.S. Cody and I started dating when we were 19, married at 23 and have aged well together and are coming up on 10 years of marriage this coming November!!