Walk into Kent of Inglewood and you’ll be transported into a more refined version of Calgary, where it would be unsurprising to see a customer roll up in an old Mustang, smelling of cedar soap, and twiddling his mustache. Maybe you’d see your friend there, who is inspired to give up her plastic razor and invest in a classic, zero-waste shaving kit. Kent of Inglewood is in the business of looking and feeling good – not just for body hair, but for the planet, too.
Plastic-Free YYC sat down with employee Nathan Gareau about the shop, shaving, and sustainable alternatives.
Kent of Inglewood http://www.kentofinglewood.com
Featured Employee: Nathan Gareau
Location: 1319 9 ave SE, Calgary AB & Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver Twitter: @kentofinglewood
Facebook: Kent of Inglewood
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself (your team), your products and how your company came about?
We started out of a desire to make shaving better. We fell in love with classic products because they help you get a closer, more comfortable shave with less waste and a reduced cost. It turns out, shaving can also be really fun! Our products are a mix of new local brands, and classic ones from England and Europe that treat your skin and hair better.
Now, we’ve had a shop in Inglewood for five years, and we have stores in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa with great teams in each city.
What is the biggest driver for your company to be more sustainable?
It’s what our customers want, and its what we want. Our business is about long-term sustainability in, and we get that by selling high-quality products that last, to help you get away from constantly throwing things away. We are shifting our focus towards more local products that avoid plastic containers, and promoting safety razors and straight razors that do away with plastic waste entirely. By using a shaving brush and soap, you can also do away with canned cream and get a lather that treats your skin better.
How would you differentiate your products from other sustainable alternatives? What sets them apart?
Our products balance high-quality and affordability. They have been meticulously sourced and reviewed, and we are always refining our product lineup. What we sell helps you reduce waste, but it also makes the process into an enjoyable experience.
What are the biggest sustainability challenges your business faces?
Doing away with plastic entirely is a big one. We are researching refill programs so that plastic containers that have already been purchased can be re-used. A lot of cosmetics will spoil without properly handling them, so we are taking the steps to make sure they are both sustainable and safe long-term.
What is one thing [you have done at your company] or [your company has done] to drive sustainability that other businesses could replicate as best practice?
It all comes down to good people. Hire people that care, and partner with companies that want to make a difference. By sourcing a lot of our products from local suppliers, we can reduce our carbon footprint and have the kind of relationship where we can push for better packaging, offer bulk quantities and build refill programs.
Can you share why you products are essential to living a low-waste lifestyle?
At the end of the day, man woman or otherwise, most people shave. A lot of people want to be more sustainable, but also want a certain level of luxury that we have become accustomed to. Traditional shaving offers an environmentally conscious replacement to a process that many of us consider essential.
In Alberta, there are added challenges to that come from a dry climate, so we also have you covered in the beard-care and skin-care departments.
Which sustainable action or change in your day-to-day are you most proud of?
Changing your entire lifestyle around at once is unrealistic. I take pride in small, incremental changes. One month I’ll resolve to compost everything I can. Once I’ve mastered that habit, I add another one. Doing away with plastic bags, switching to refillable brands of detergent, etc. By setting small attainable goals regularly, I’ve made a huge change in my lifestyle without doing too much at once.
What is your “guilty” habit that just isn’t very sustainable? How do you plan to change it if you could?
Chips. I’ve managed to avoid plastic in fast-food for the most part, but I love potato chips and candy. I’ll definitely be trying to make more snacks myself, make popcorn as an alternative and cut-down on my junk food habit.
In one phrase, what does sustainability mean to you?
Foresight. Humans have evolved to think a few minutes, hours, days or even years in advance. Thinking lifetimes ahead doesn’t come naturally, and it requires mental energy and empathy for the people that will be born after you. It’s hard work, and you have to make the moral decision to address climate change in your own life, bring it to the attention of others and do your part to make a difference. You have to decide to make the mental effort for the sake of other people.
Can you provide three top tips for others trying to lead more sustainable lives and reduce their waste?
One: Compost all of your food waste. Two: Look at your biggest areas of consumption, and what kind of sustainable alternatives there are. I’d guess for most people its food and clothing. Three: Buy products that last as long as possible. Many of us think in the short-term, but spending more money up-front to have a product last longer is cheaper and more sustainable long-term. You’ll probably get more joy out of high-quality stuff anyways. My shaving brush was well over $100, but it should last me 40 years, and I absolutely love it.
Bonus: Share the love – Which businesses besides your wonderful company would you recommend helping people reduce their waste?
I love Knifewear, across the street from us in Inglewood. They specialize in high-end knives and cookware. When you buy quality, you rarely have to throw things away and they bring you more joy. Having good cookware makes you want to cook more, which makes you a better cook, which helps you eat less packaged and processed food, and you end up throwing away less food because you’ve come to care more about it.
At least that’s how it works for me.