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Meet The Maker – Poplar Store

Poplar Store
We love beautiful products for the home – especially when they’re eco-friendly, sustainably-sourced and locally made with love. That’s just one of many reasons we’re obsessed with Poplar Store. We sat down with the creator and owner of Poplar Store, Sally Mueller this week to find out more about her business and what inspired her to start.

What inspired you to start Poplar Store? 

I’ve always been a greenie at heart. Composting, picking up litter, growing veggies and using plastic alternatives has always been a part of my lifestyle. Poplar was born out of a desire to help other people adopt more environmentally-friendly habits at home (and look good doing so!). 

Your products are so beautiful! Do you make them yourself? 

Thank you! My beeswax wraps and natural beauty kits are handmade by me, at home in Margaret River. I use local suppliers as much as possible to reduce travel miles and support our local south west businesses. It can be a bit sticky and messy making the beeswax wraps, but the end result is really satisfying.

If so, where did you learn how to do that? 

I taught myself, by researching different recipes and a lot of trial and error! I experimented with beeswax wrap recipes for almost a year before I developed a product that I was satisfied with. I didn’t want to rush the process as I wanted to be 100% happy with what I was selling.

When did you become interested in the concept of sustainable living? Do you remember what sparked your passion initially? 

Sustainable living has been a part of my life since I was little. My dad is very environmentally conscious and this shaped my view of the world and how important it is to look after it. As I got older I also developed an interest in the concepts of slow living and minimalism, which both focus on living more meaningful lives, with less ‘stuff’ and appreciating the simple things.

For many, sustainable living in general might seem like an overwhelming or out of reach concept. 

How can we make living sustainably more ‘sustainable’ for the average person, so to speak? 

It can definitely be overwhelming for people wanting to make more sustainable changes in their lives. I am a big believer in the positive impact that comes from many people making small changes, rather than trying to achieve something big and dramatic. I would encourage people to focus on one thing at a time and to take it slowly. Even if that one change is small, like switching from plastic soap pump bottles to bar soap – it makes a difference! I have saved countless bottles of soap, shampoo, water, detergent and so on from ending up in landfill, just by changing the products that I buy. There is always room for improvement and I am not perfect, that’s for sure! I don’t think any of us can be perfect when trying to live sustainably – it’s about trying your best.

Ok, getting deep here… It’s been a strange and interesting time with the current lockdown and spending a huge portion of 2020 in isolation already. Has the current state of things changed your worldview in any way? If so, how!

For me, the current state of things hasn’t changed how I live and view the world, however, I’m hopeful that as a society we change for the better in the aftermath. Hopefully, we all slow down a bit more, and value and appreciate the beauty in the day-to-day stuff. Since the restrictions came into play I think a lot of people have quietly enjoyed not being so busy-busy all the time! I’m hopeful that this view of the world will continue, as things seemed to be a little too fast paced in our ‘pre-COVID’ lives.

What are some of your go-to sustainability hacks for the home?  

My sustainability hack for cleaning products around the house has definitely been the use of vinegar and bicarb – these two humble household items can clean almost anything! Using these two products I’ve eliminated almost all the plastic cleaning products from our house. Outside of the house, it’s definitely my Poplar produce bags which are so useful – and not just at the shops! I’ve used them as a laundry bag, toiletry bag, anything really! They are machine-washable which makes it easier too.

What has been your proudest moment since starting Poplar?  

My proudest accomplishment has been having my products stocked in several stores in the south west. My stockists have been so supportive of my little business and the feedback from customers has been amazing. I feel so proud to have grown my business from scratch and to be able to help people and the environment this way.

What has been your hardest moment? 

Definitely trying to juggle Poplar with my day job! There’s so many ideas and things I’d like to do with the brand, but finding the time to work on my business can be tricky. I’ve learnt to be kind to myself though – I’m not going to achieve everything in my ‘ideal’ timeframe, and that’s perfectly okay! Letting go of perfectionist tendencies is something that I am working on!

You live in an absolutely stunning part of the world, what is your favourite thing about living in Margaret River? 

There’s definitely too many things that I love about living in Margaret River! Aside from the obvious beautiful beaches, forests and wineries, our local community is fantastic. People are laid back and always happy to chat when you bump into someone in town. It’s definitely a more relaxed, friendly and slower lifestyle compared to living in the city. 

What’s next for you and Poplar Store?  

This is a good question – I’m still working this one out! Continuing to grow the business and hopefully have my products stocked in more south west stores is my aim for 2020.

Ok, time for the Fast 5:

  1. Favourite Food: Vietnamese pho – it’s good for the soul!
  2. Favourite Movie: The Princess Bride – a classic in my eyes.
  3. Favourite Book: Too many to choose from – I just finished Three Women by Lisa Taddeo which was excellent.
  4. Favourite Quote: “Everything works out in the end. if it hasn’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.”
  5. Favourite Song: ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young – it was our first dance song at our wedding.

From market bags to bath salts, Poplar Store is not only good for your home, but good for the planet, too. Shop online now at www.poplar.store 

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