Streatham welcomed its first zero waste shop in September 2019, when Healthier Without opened up on The High Parade. Situated between the high street familiars of Nando’s and Odeon Cinema, the shop stands out for its unique offerings and bright, birch wood interior that contrasts with the florescent chain stores. Yet, it blends in perfectly with the character of the many small businesses that proudly line Europe’s longest high street.
Marjorie Watts is the small business owner behind bringing package-free shopping to Streatham. Over the past 20 years, Marj has worked as a supplement advisor on natural remedies in many health establishments. Looking around closer to home, she thought Streatham could benefit from a zero waste shop given the rich diversity of residents and shoppers in the area. When you visit Healthier Without, a tranquil aquatic mural graces the back wall and captures the eye. Next to the floating sea turtles, however, you’ll notice floating plastic carrier bags are included in the image. This depiction is vital to Marjorie’s shop ethos, as it portrays the reality sea life faces at this very moment, and how patronising a shop without plastic can turn this reality around. Marjorie uses the devastation of plastic pollution within our oceans as the catalyst for her cause, reminding people that spreading the word about plastic-free shopping is critical not only for the preservation of our planet but also for our own wellbeing.
As the manager of a shop trading in its first year, weathering Covid-19 lockdown was never in Marjorie’s business plan. It was an immense challenge. The shop trialed a text-and-collect service in March, which was met with great response from the community. However, for a small business, the demand became overwhelming, and for the safety of her shop, staff and the customers, she took the difficult decision to temporarily close. The Streatham community showed its true colours during this time, and continued to share messages of support and kindness with Marjorie, rallying around her until she could reopen. The experience was humbling, and cemented Healthier Without as an invaluable high street asset. Marjorie has a loyal support team within the shop as well. Two lovely, part-time staff members, Hayley and Axel, help run the operation, and are both extremely knowledgeable about products and passionate about the environment. It’s also a family affair, as Marj’s son, James, runs the back of house side of the business, managing software, supplier operations and has a keen eye for advertising. The small team was ecstatic to reopen its doors for normal trading in July. The shop is fully equipped with Perspex screens around the tills, social distance markings on the floor, and Marjorie, Hayley and Axel smiling behind their masks, ready to help.
Healthier Without is a haven for all zero-waste shopping needs. They stock a multitude of natural remedies, bulk wholefoods, nuts, pulses, dried fruit, pasta, rice, teas, spices, oils, refillable-cleaning supplies, body and skincare, as well as make-your-own peanut butter. Before the pandemic, the shop had hosted events showcasing local specialists, such as health and nutrition leaders, and offered tastings and samplings of the latest products. In due time, Marjorie hopes these events will return. The team strives to meet all your household needs in one location, and also aims to make shopping easier for parents, with a child's play area available to entertain little ones.
In Marjorie’s eyes, Streatham is a vibrant, community jewel, with amazing atmosphere and a magnificent mixture of independent, small businesses that cater for everyone’s needs. What she loves about running a Streatham small business, is getting to know all the customers and young families who are growing up with the company. There is a magical moment that occurs when the shop doors open each day, and Marj can see all her customers wanting to refill their empty containers and contribute to the social issues she holds dear.
Healthier Without is bringing its values of awareness, affordability and acceptance to the community. One hidden gem in the shop Marjorie recommends to all customers is the CBD bath salts. It’s currently the product of the month, and all who have soaked in the salts swear by how they alleviate their aches and pains while promoting a good night sleep. We are thrilled to welcome Marjorie and her shop into the Local Greens collection point family, and hope you will venture into SW16 with your own containers to stock up or peruse all she has to offer. From vegan wine to a sustainable toothbrush, Healthier Without has you covered, and if there’s anything they don’t stock, all you need is to simply ask and Marj will gladly look into new product requests. The shop aims to serve the Streatham community. There’s so much going on for Streatham, and Marjorie urges everyone to watch this space!
Visit Healthier Without at 11 The High Parade, Streatham, SW16 1EX, or contact them at 07383 197197 and https://www.facebook.com/healtierwithout