According to the U.S. Small Business Association, small businesses make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. What’s more, Utah has been credited as the most pro-small business state in America, thanks to our state’s pro-business initiatives and support systems. Each month, the Salt Lake Chamber will highlight a small business in Utah to emphasize their importance in our economy and encourage local support.
When Kimberly Flores started her 15-year career as a journalist, she never imagined that one day she would leave her corporate lifestyle to start her own business. But in 2021, that’s exactly what she did.
“At the time, we had been moving into a zero-waste lifestyle,” Flores explained. “But my desire to reduce my single-use plastics hit a snag when I couldn’t find a place locally to refill my personal care products and household cleaners.”
That’s when Flores decided to take matters into her own hands. She was inspired by a California-based business that operated out of a van and allowed customers to refill everyday products such as dish soap and laundry detergent.
“I talked to [the owner] about her business model and decided to move forward with my own van, outfitted with recycled wood,” said Flores. “I reached out to the Women’s Business Center of Utah, and they helped me set up licensing and my LLC.”
With the support of WBCUtah and her other mentors, Flores successfully began fulFILLed, a one-stop-shop for refilling household essentials and purchasing products without single-use plastic. Her success and business grew as more people became attracted to the cause, and soon, fulFILLed began to outgrow its van.
“In less than four months of opening my refill business, I opened a brick and mortar zero waste store in Park City,” Flores remarked. “And there is no way I would have gotten there as quickly as I did without the help of the amazing women at the Women’s Business Center of Utah.”
Now, fulFILLed is a blossoming cooperative of sustainable, women-owned businesses and locally-made products housed under one roof at Outlets Park City. Flores has high standards for her products, and she has found a community of business owners who share her goals.
“In the shop, we support over 20 women-owned small businesses. We have a used bookstore, an artist that makes upcycled hats and bags, locally-made soaps, and clothing consignment. And it’s all sustainable. So while it may feel random, it all has the same mission – reduce, reuse, refill,” Flores explained.
For Kimberly Flores, owning a small business has been transformative. Her experience has given her a new perspective on business, sustainability, and community, and she encourages everyone to shop small as much as they can.
“Everyone can make a difference,” Flores said. “Support local businesses and don’t overthink yourself into not doing it. Small business is so much more than retail–it’s community.”
fulFILLed’s mission is to simplify low-waste living by offering refillable and package-free products to those looking to lessen their impact on the environment. By making zero-waste alternatives accessible, fulFILLed believes more people will ditch single-use plastics and join the Reduce, Reuse, REFILL Revolution. Click here to support their small business.