Rachel at Replenish

The lodestar of Rachel’s hopes and dreams is her belief in the world-changing power of empathy and good relationships- in family, community, with nature and in the business world. 

She holds this as a guide to what she does in her daily life, in her business, and in her community voluntary and climate action work.

Her business, Replenish, was born out of a growing interest in waste and its minimisation. Her business prioritises minimal packaging and locally sourced and ethically sustainable, carbon abatement and towards carbon neutral products, such as rye products from regenerative farmer Goodies Farm, and wheat flour grown by the Eden Valley Bio-dynamic Farm.

Replenish, which will have its 5th Birthday in December 2022, has won a number of business awards, including the Kalamunda Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Enterprise Award – 2022, the Innovation Excellence Award, 2021 Small Business of the Year, and the 2021Sustainable Business of the Year.

‘I’ve been on a massive learning curve, and have made so many mistakes, but have come to learn that the key to the success of a small business like mine’, Rachel’ said, ‘is to keep steering as closely as possible to your guiding sustainability principles – and to keep learning through all sorts of up and downs’, she laughs. 

‘I have learnt the power of good relationships with small local suppliers. They bend over backwards at times to do the right thing.  I’ve also found it’s mainly the big suppliers who need to be reminded, at first usually, that they must deliver to our standard of minimal packaging, or we send what they send us back. But, in the end, persistence has paid off! I really is so important to stay true to your values in the business world!’

‘When I had small children, I started a degree in Environmental Science, and a unit in botany.  The wonder of plants, their perfection, their complexity, was an awakening to my heart, she said.  When my children were older, I completed a degree in Sustainable Development.

‘We did a month-long challenge, as part of Plastic Free July, to avoid single use plastics, which led to a significant behaviour change in our household, like shopping at the Wasteless Pantry. I decided to do something like that for a livelihood to minimise waste, and so Simon, my husband, and I, set up Replenish’. 

‘When we started, we also had a dream that Replenish could become a local sustainability resource hub’.  The shop certainly does this. For example, there is a free produce table (people’s excess garden produce is left on there, along with free ‘Climate Act Now’ corflutes and stickers) and there are fundraising calendars on sale for the Kanyana Wildlife Centre and the Kalamunda Community Garden.

‘One of the things I have noticed’ she said ‘is how few products are actually grown here is WA.  What this means for our food security in a climate-changing world is a concern for us all.  And for a business like mine, and for the farmers who supply most of our products, it’s a significant business risk.

Movements all over the world, such as the Transition Town movement, which promote self-sufficiency, local food security, and low carbon community living, inspired Rachel to become an active supporter of the Kalamunda Community Garden and Transition Town Kalamunda.

She is also a grass roots leader in climate advocacy, for example she helped advocate for the City of Kalamunda to declare a climate emergency, and for a positive Kalamunda Climate Action Plan

Rachel you, and your ethical business, are a lodestar for us all – as we make our way towards a sustainable, carbon neutral and positive future. Thank you!