Zero Waste with Haste
If you want to live a more sustainable life, NUDE the Zero Waste Store is the place to start your low waste lifestyle
If you’ve heard of the zero waste movement, we’re sure it’s because you care about the environment and want to do better. This is where NUDE the Zero Waste Store or in short, NUDE, comes in and Cheryl Anne Low and Wilson Chin are the geniuses behind this inspirational store and what it stands for.
1Twenty80: Tell us more about NUDE and what you aim to present to your customers?
Cheryl Anne Low: NUDE The Zero Waste Store opened in August 2019 by myself and Wilson Chin. We wanted to make zero waste more accessible to everyone and wanted to set up a one-stop shop, where people could find as much of their daily necessities under one roof. We decided on Petaling Jaya (PJ), as there wasn’t a zero waste store there, and to bring the zero waste experience to PJ dwellers and its nearby neighbourhoods.
We focus on quality and price, ensuring that we offered the best quality items at reasonable and affordable prices to bust the myth that zero waste shopping is expensive when it doesn’t have to be.
We aim to provide good items at good prices with good service and realistic tips to customers embarking on a zero waste journey.
1Twenty80: What are your backgrounds and is NUDE your full-time job?
Cheryl: I spent a big part of my career life in advertising and media, with some banking and theater production experience. Wilson was also from advertising and media and a business owner prior to setting up NUDE. Currently, both of us are focused on NUDE full time.
1Twenty80: What inspired you to start this business?
Wilson Chin: Cheryl is an avid scuba diver. When she saw the video of the plastic straw being removed from the turtle’s nose, it touched a nerve, which sent her on a fact-finding frenzy. Why, how and what can a normal person do to avoid this from happening? Cheryl loves the ocean and wanted to protect it and all its inhabitants. There was a lot of reading and researching and talking to like-minded friends about the trash situation in Malaysia, the risk that the unwanted debris can cause to humans, animals and the oceans. After adopting a plastic-free life for roughly two years, the transition to zero waste was an eventuality. She advocated it to anyone who would listen and anyone who was interested in being more mindful of their trash. The idea to open NUDE came from Cheryl’s fiancé to bring together all her zero waste shopping choices, parking them under one roof and offering zero waste tips and solutions to customers who are on the same journey. Nude does not only offer package-free alternatives, but also ideas on how to embark on a zero waste journey.
1Twenty80: What kind of obstacles did you face in the early days?
Cheryl: With minimal to no retail experience, we learned on the job. The setup was smooth, but the major obstacles were with suppliers who were not familiar with the term ‘zero waste’. Discussing and negotiating with suppliers to provide us their goods package-free was intense as it was a long process of explanation and education. As it was a new concept to them, breaking them away from their usual practices, and discussing the best steps forward that would also benefit them albeit needing some changes, was challenging. Most were receptive once they understood the concept and wanted to help the environment in any way they could. We brainstormed ideas that were workable for them that did not cause much of a disruption in their standard operating procedure.
Quote: NUDE does not only offer package-free alternatives, but also ideas on how to embark on a zero waste journey.
1Twenty80: What makes NUDE unique?
Cheryl: We won’t carry something that we won’t consume ourselves. Every partner has tried every item in the store and we’re focused on educating and sharing about zero waste to everyone who walks through our doors. We get a variety of customers from young primary schoolers (from the tuition centre above), to teenagers in college or university, young urbanites and also some of the older generation. We have close relationships with our customers and we listen to their feedback and requests. Starting with a basic list of offerings, it has grown with customer requests.
Our core offerings are categorised into three sections: Moods (skincare and zero waste lifestyle aids), Foods (local and western ingredients like herbs and spices, biscuits, cereals, snacks, cookies, fruits and nuts, curry powders, and others) and Goods (household cleaning products and all-natural insect repellents).
1Twenty80: How do you ensure that you stay healthy while managing your business?
Cheryl: Good question. We try to remind each other (and ourselves) to have timely lunches, but we often fail miserably in that department (laughs). There’s always something to get done.
Wilson: Well, Cheryl has dogs and she tries to walk them as much as possible. So, some level of walking exercises gets done for both the human and dogs.
1Twenty80: Words of wisdom to any of our readers who want to become an entrepreneur or chase their dreams?
Both: Always remember why you started. Keep the passion alive and always be guided by your ethics. There will always be naysayers and people who think they know better. Just follow your gut and listen to your soul. Every time you think you’re falling, dig deep and go back to why you started.
Quote: The biggest threat to the world is thinking that someone else will save it.
Robert Swan, author and advocate for protection of Antarctica and renewable energy
1Twenty80: How can we adopt the “zero waste” lifestyle especially if we’re unsure of where to start?
Cheryl: Consciousness – Awareness – Action. Start small. Take bite-sized chunks of your life and audit each of them to see where disposables can be removed and replaced with reusables.
Start at home, for example, the kitchen, check all your frequently bought items, and start finding zero waste stores or supermarkets where it can be refilled. Instead of replacing the containers, just keep reusing and refilling them.
If you’re a big fan of takeaways, prepare containers for it. If you’re forgetful, leave some containers in your car. Reuse a pasta jar for coffee, tie some twine around it or use an old sock to protect your hands from the hot drink or to absorb the condensation from a cold drink.
The big difference can be seen in your dustbin once you start buying items without its packaging. You won’t be buying items in plastic, pouring its contents into your containers at home and throwing the plastic away. Just imagine where the plastic packaging would end up! It’s such a waste to have so much resources used to create it, only to be thrown away.
Follow social media accounts to keep your feed updated and fresh. You will be inspired by the actions of others, all with the common goal of preserving this earth. A lot of people say baby steps. But we say, take giant strides in your zero waste journey. You are more capable than you think. Before you know it, zero waste will become a habit and disposables will be a thing of the past.
Sidebox: Get your household essentials from NUDE The Zero Waste Store. They’re located at:
Address: 1A, Jalan 19/29, Seksyen 19, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 011-3773 9639