Meet the Manchester based eco-warriors on a mission: Ecologue

Ecologue is a new independent sustainable shop owned by Sam & Mel.

By Alex Watson | 2 July 2019

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With a growing product range currently including reusable straws, stainless steel bottles and straw coffee cups Ecologue is making a difference one bamboo toothbrush at a time.

We sat down with the owners Melissa Collins and Sam Bishop, to find out all about owning a small, sustainable business with hopes to change the world.

AW: So tell me about yourselves, how did you guys meet?

MC & SB: I’ve recently turned 21, and I’m currently living in London. I am working at BUPA, whilst on a year-long placement from my studies at the University of Manchester. The other half of Ecologue, Sam, is a primary school teacher in Manchester. We actually went to the same school but never really spoke! Coincidentally, we actually first met in Thailand on our travels. We were on one of the Phi Phi islands at the same time, and happened to cross paths, as cliché and completely made up as that sounds!

After seeing first-hand the devastation pollution had on beaches, we were inspired to go into business together, make small and simple changes in our own lives and encourage others to get on board. That’s where Ecologue developed, providing easy access to sustainable, yet stylish and affordable alternatives.

AW: So tell me about Ecologue, what is it and how did it start?

MC & SB: Ecologue aims to be a one-stop shop for inexpensive, eco-friendly alternatives. We hope to provide a platform that helps others to minimise the unnecessary waste that they may produce during day-to-day life.

We started with one product and continued to build on our range through discussions with friends and family and through our own experiences. We have found that there always tends to be a better option, which we learn more about each day!

AW: How would you describe the character of your brand?

MC & SB: The character of our brand is underpinned by our own characteristics; it is an ethical and honest business driven by our passion for change in the environment. Our brand is designed to motivate people to make the switch, in a stylish and affordable way.

We endeavour to reflect this in a fun and quirky manner on our social media platforms to grab everyone’s attention, namely those who had no idea how harmful some of their day-to-day products are.

What is so great at Ecologue is that we don’t have a target audience. We find those that want to change will find us. We think what links our customers is hope and a concern with switching to eco-friendly alternatives.

We would love to influence as many people as possible to make simple changes that collectively make a huge difference.

What are the highs and the lows of the experience thus far?

MC & SB: We’ve loved it since the start. One of the most enjoyable elements of this whole experience is how much easier and fluid the ‘change’ related dialogue has become. It is a great conversation starter as people are showing more and more interest. We can talk to people more directly and help them find ways to improve as we did!

We are also overwhelmed and grateful for the response we’ve had since the start. People have left such fantastic and thoughtful reviews which is paramount to our encouragement and motivation.

Whilst there have been no particularly low moments for us and Ecologue, the experiences we have gained have only served to open our eyes more. The more research we do, the more people we talk to, the more we gain some perspective into how desperate and worrying the situation really is the more it inspires us to work harder.

What do you think is the future of businesses with regards to sustainability and being eco-friendly?

MC & SB: We absolutely love the direction that some of the biggest shops, such as Waitrose and Morrisons, are taking in terms of encouraging re-filling containers and cutting out all that unnecessary plastic waste. Those brilliant small, independent stores have really paved the way for this to happen and we have a lot to thank them for.

Finding alternatives really is crucial, but that doesn’t change the waste we have already created. We are always on the look-out for businesses that are ‘upcycling’ these materials and using them for a new purpose. Looking forward is important, but we can’t ignore the point we’ve already reached. We hope to soon find our own innovative way to do the same!

What’s next for Ecologue, what products can we expect?

MC & SB: Upcycling is a potential aim of ours someday, but looking into the very near future we have some new and exciting products which we are introducing very soon! These include bamboo and cotton make-up wipes which can be put in the washing machine, as well as tote-bags, bamboo earbuds and a new and improved toothbrush design!

We are selling all of our products at our temporary pop-up store over at Hatch on Oxford Road. Be sure to come have a chat with us if you’re around! We are always up for a discussion and to brainstorm new ideas.