Interior designer ditches job to launch zero waste food store
- Credit: Mark Lukas
An interior designer who gave up her high-flying career during the pandemic to launch a zero waste food shop is already turning a healthy profit after just nine months.
Jordan Perata, 26, was so horrified by supermarket waste, she ditched her £40,000 salary and signed a five-year lease on her Holloway Road shop, Kilo, last March – 13 days before the first coronavirus lockdown emptied out offices and left high streets deserted.
Zero waste goes beyond recycling because the goal is to eliminate waste and send nothing to landfill, rather than manage it.
The rundown shop needed a total refurb, and with support from her parents, Jordan worked around the clock to refit it.
She came up with a design based on what she could buy that met food safety regulations, and using reclaimed scaffolding boards and tubes, she invested in stock and opened Kilo in August.
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The business now has a turnover of about £13,000 a month - way beyond her expectations.
“A lot of our customers have said that the pandemic opened their eyes to the amount of waste they are creating because so much was delivered to their homes," she said.
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“My business really is my passion.
“I used to come home from weekly shops and the amount of plastic bottles, containers and food wrappings would trigger my belief that this kind of shopping was unsustainable in the long term.
“You only have to look at the amount of waste left behind on beaches and beauty spots, mostly from supermarkets, to see the harm it is causing to the environment.
"We don’t ask people to become eco warriors but we do try to educate and encourage people that small changes can make a big difference.”
She works with local suppliers to try to address the source of the problem, creating a circular economy.
Kilo sells sweets made in Huddersfield served from 5kg paper sacks, coffee roasted in South London, pasta made in Walthamstow and jam made in Peckham.
Despite regularly working 12-hour days, vegan Jordan has no second thoughts about leaving behind her office job.
“Using my talents in a different way – and doing something I’m passionate about – usually helps me jump out of bed in the morning with a smile," she said.