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Haven’s Kitchen supports our local economy is as many ways as we can. While we do tend to focus on food and farmers, we also want to highlight small business owners in NYC who are creating beautiful things with thoughtful techniques and traditional methods. In addition to the joy of supporting local businesses in our shop, we love that we can build personal relationships with our purveyors. We create stronger ties to our purveyors by connecting their products to their story.
Common Good is particularly near and dear to our hearts. It was one of the first products we had in our shop, and we love that a local business is working on the oft-ignored matter of packaging waste and household cleaning. We carry Common Good All Purpose Tea Tree Spray, Bergamot Dish Soap, and Lavender Hand Soap.
Read our interview below to learn more about how Sacha Dunn came to start Common Good!
HK: How did the Common Good team come together?
SD: I started Common Good with my husband, Edmund Levine two years ago. We’ve known Dawn for over 10 years working together as stylists. That she was able to join Common Good so early on was so lucky for us. We all know each other so well and I trust her sense and taste. Also, it’s great to work with someone who will tell you when you’re wrong! She has that special knack of being able to do anything which is essential in a small business. Now she and I run the business together.
HK: Amongst the bourgeoning craft/artisan/small batch movement, why did you choose soap?
SD: Edmund and I took the kids to visit my parents in Sydney Australia and were doing tons of laundry. We realized that we were refilling Mum’s big plastic bottle with those soft refill packs and she’d kept the same bottle for years. It occurred to us that we couldn’t do that back in New York and it seemed crazy. The amount of recycling we were taking out each week was awful and a lot of it was from cleaning products. So the idea sparked more from a waste problem than a love of soap. We decided to create refill stations for household cleaners.
HK: How did you enter the soap and cleaning field – had you already made it? Do either of you have a background in chemistry?
SD: Once we decided to create refillable products, we started researching the chemistry. It took a year of research and working with chemists before we were ready to make anything. We knew we had to understand the chemistry and get that right if we were to convince people to refill their bottles. Now we have wonderful chemists working on our formulations and making the safest, most effective and greenest products we can.
HK: What were the steps in opening a small business that you were the most surprised by?
SD: Oh boy, all of it! We went from creative freelancers to wholesale manufacturers. The nicest surprise is how much fun it is to work with friends to create a tangible product that we know make a positive difference to our lives and the environment. We love coming to work.
HK: Where do you source your materials and packaging from? Have you had any interesting discoveries about sourcing?
SD: A stylist friend once said that you just need to make 6 phone calls to find anything and it’s true. We use as many local suppliers as we can and have met some wonderful people. We are lucky to live in Brooklyn where other entrepreneurs are willing to offer a suggestion. Like the glass bottle warehouse that is 6 blocks away from us. Who knew?!
HK: Where do you hope your small business will take you in the future? Do you have plans to expand or grow?
SD: We love being able to create beautiful products that improve our quality of life but that also have a greater mission to reduce waste. We would love to see refill available to everyone who wants it across the country and we’re working on it.