Bulky and Bookish is at Berkeley's Maker's Row on Fourth Street in August (Sa/Su, 11-5)
Bulky and Bookish is at Berkeley's Maker's Row on Fourth Street in August (Sa/Su, 11-5)
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How Bulky and Bookish Got Started

As some of you may know, I was inspired by a pencil shop in NYC-- the CW Pencil Enterprise. I had read about it in New York magazine (How Retail Stores Can Thrive in the Age of Amazon) in May 2018-- and then the following month I, coincidentally, was in NYC on a family trip and stopped by for a quick visit.

I loved it. I bought some little treasures for my kids and for myself and thought, "I wish Berkeley had a little shop like this." 

During this time, I was also trying to find a place to get bulk household items-- where I could bring my used laundry, dish, and hand soap containers and refill them. I couldn't find any such place.

So, as a woman in my late 40s and, by now, amply calloused by life and teetering into the "broad" category, I thought, "Well, I'll do it." And, so I set about researching how to do so. And, thinking about thatNew York magazine article, I thought wouldn't it be fun if people could browse around and maybe pick up their own little treasures (like a beautiful pencil, a lovely notebook, or an interesting book) while filling up on their household items?

At first, I researched making the detergent and soap myself but, pretty quickly learned, that to provide a quality product for the public, I'd need some scientists and a factory. So, I scratched that idea and, instead, reached out to companies already making quality-plant-based products to find out if they would provide them in bulk.  

I, fortunately, found one in Washington state-- Biokleen(which they sell at Berkeley Bowl-- but not in bulk). It's not perfect-- it's not local and they ship the bulk items in plastic, but it's a start. It's a high-quality product that is affordable and has an environmentally-focused mission. As a seller, I'll keep requesting that they find an alternative to plastic or looking for a truly local manufacturer. In the meantime, I will be donating the bulk plastic containers they send for re-use.