Robin and Chloe Masefield’s vision to open Wales’ first zero waste shop in Crickhowell has been awarded with a Powys Business Award.
Their business, Natural Weigh, which opened in March last year, won the Start-up Business Award, sponsored by Myrick Training, at the annual awards dinner held at Dering Lines, Brecon last Friday night.
Organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group, Powys Business Awards showcase business excellence across the county.
“We are obviously thrilled to win this award,” said Robin. “We were not expecting it because the other two finalists were fantastic. The award gives us a real boost of confidence that what we have been doing for the past 18 months is worthwhile.
“We hope to expand by opening a second shop in the next six months.”
Natural Weigh, which has a shop at Corn Exchange, Crickhowell, employs four members of staff, who are paid the Real Living Wage. The shop has exceeded all expectations and has grown from a fledgling business to a permanent part of the high street.
First year turnover of £130,000 is expected to rise to £200,000 by year three. Keen to build on their success, Robin and Chloe launched an online shop in January, which has boosted sales by reaching a wider audience and they are seeking a location for a second shop.
“The aim of Natural Weigh is to provide customers with the chance to buy organic wholefoods, cleaning products and personal care products without the need for unnecessary packaging,” explained the couple, who gave up their jobs in marine science and environmental policy to start their own business.
“Customers bring in their own containers to fill with products and only pay for what they need – no more food waste and no more unnecessary plastic packaging waste.”
As part of their business plan, they carried out detailed customer and market research to gauge demand for a zero waste shop.
“Crickhowell was characterised by shoppers who prioritise ethical, organic and packaging free foods,” revealed the couple.
“This, combined with the wonderful story of the Corn Exchange pub being saved by the local community from being turned into a high street supermarket and instead converted into shop units for independent businesses, made this the perfect home for our shop.”
The award judges said:
“The directors have turned their passion for zero waste into a viable and vibrant business which is an example of a new and better way to shop. They have growth plans, but they have also unselfishly helped others to mirror their success in other places.”