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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Femikit: making zero waste easy


A monthly subscription box you don’t want to miss out on

Accumulating a mere 16 ounce jar-full of trash in the course of two years is an achievement most people can’t fathom. While Youtuber Lauren Singer’s lifestyle might seem unattainable, there are feasible ways to minimize your environmental footprint — in this case, one subscription box at a time.

Nicole Garcia, a fourth-year communication major, used her passion for zero waste, graphic design and business to found Femikit, a brand new start-up with curated items to help women develop environmentally sustainable habits.

“Our goal is to connect women with resources to live zero waste,” Garcia said. “I really wanted to create a product that helps women understand how to live zero waste and not have to compromise their lifestyles too much. Another aspect that’s important to bring up is that [Femikit] isn’t just intended for women, even though that’s one of our main audiences. We really want to make it as inclusive as possible because it’s something that everyone can benefit from.”

Garcia is actively involved in UC Davis organizations such as Aggie Reuse, Davis Women in Business and PERIOD. Drawing from her experiences with these organizations, she was able to make her dream come to life.

“Working with young women has shown me that it’s really important that someone addresses this need,” Garcia said. “I think my time at Aggie Reuse has been the most informative part of college because it’s the first taste I had of zero waste and sustainability. I’ve been able to experience how difficult of a business model that is to work in, but at the same time, it’s something that’s really fulfilling and necessary.”

Femikit launched its first box focused on food and grocery shopping. It includes Bee’s Wrap, a Baggu grocery bag, a Hummingbird glass straw and brush and two Leafico produce bags. By carefully selecting these items from small businesses, Femikit demonstrates how waste reduction can be chic and doable.

“We did a lot of research in terms of different suppliers and vendors and ultimately decided on the products we have now because they meet a certain criteria,” Garcia said. “All our items are plastic-free and made from local and family-owned businesses. These products do last over the long-term, so we really want to emphasize that you’re not buying something that’s temporary.”

Garcia admits living completely zero waste is nearly impossible, and that living sustainably doesn’t necessarily mean fitting years worth of trash into a mason jar. According to her, the first step is to look at the products you currently buy. Then, choose products from ethical companies and reduce your plastic.

To Miuccia Halim, a fourth-year managerial economics major and Femikit’s director of business development, zero waste is a step-by-step process.

“Zero waste is a journey,” Halim said. “For me, it means making efforts throughout the day and over the months to reduce my waste. I first started out by simply eliminating the use of plastic bags, so whenever I go to the grocery store, I have my high quality, reusable shopping bag. These small changes really create impacts on communities.”

To make eco-friendly living more attractive, Femikit’s primary marketing strategies are design and social media. The team connects with millennials through use of graphics, photos and videos on Instagram, ultimately reframing the meaning of zero waste. By implementing visually appealing methods, the start-up is able to effectively deliver the concept as something desirable as opposed to boring or stagnant.

“We’re definitely looking at people around the ages 17 through 30 because these are the people who are getting independent lifestyles and learning how to do things on their own in terms of what to purchase and how to live,” Garcia said. “It’s important to start there so we can start forming those eco-friendly habits before they get into adulthood. We’re the generation that’s responsible for solving climate change. We need to start making decision as individuals and as a community about what we can be doing better.”

So far, Femikit has evoked positive responses from its targeted audience. Lois Kim, a second-year environmental policy, analysis and planning major, also aims to make environmental change on campus by being chair of ASUCD’s Environmental Policy and Planning Committee and Vice Chair of The Green Initiative Fund. At home, Kim alleviates her environmental footprint by using public transportation and as little plastic as possible. For those like Kim, Femikit is an innovative product to look forward to.

“I think that Femikit is an amazing way to kick-start people into becoming a little more environmentally conscious,” Kim said. “Femikit makes it a really approachable process and it makes it an appealing one because everything is so cute and affordable. That’s a subscription that I never thought was necessary, but now I think it really is. I’m excited to see what Nicole will add to Femikit.”

Another objective for the subscription start-up is to create a community full of supporters and to inspire leadership in women.

“We’re definitely looking to build and foster a community around zero waste because it’s something that’s difficult to do on your own,” Garcia said. “You really need people around you to get there. We want to make sure that we’re forming strong ties with people that support our mission and connect those people with each other so they can help each other and hold each other accountable to living zero-waste.”

Additionally, Femikit strives to educate, provide and build communities. In turn, it brings real-life business skills to the table. Femikit proves there are no limitations — that zero waste and female leadership are not just plausible, but definitely possible.

“If you believe in your cause, just go for it,” Halim said. “Find mentors and create a supportive environment where you can accomplish your goal. […] There are so many resources out there. If someone has an idea, they can always reach out to people like Nicole for advice. There are so many people out there that will be happy to help someone else’s dreams, especially if it makes a positive impact.”

Purchase your first kit at Femikit’s website.



Written by: Becky Lee arts@theaggie.org


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