Kristen Edwards started researching more natural products to bring into her home during her first pregnancy in 2008. Back then, it took a lot of time and effort to figure out which products were actually cleaner and greener, and which ones just had claims that they were. She wanted items in her home to be safer for her baby and BPA-free, and it took her a long time to find the right fit for her household.
“I wanted to make sure I was gonna give them the best start I possibly could because it's a foundation that you’ve to set early,” says Kristen.
Fast forward to 2021, and Kristen’s passion for naturally-based and more sustainable items in her home had only grown. With the help of that year’s pandemic-related Economic Impact Payments, Kristen launched a business out of her garage, selling beauty products and soaps that she had diligently researched. She found such success with her home-based business that she opened a storefront in Parkville not long after — The Greener Home.
Shortly after opening the storefront, Kristen found out she was pregnant with her third child after years of fertility struggles and being told her only option to conceive was IVF. Kristen can’t help but attribute the cleaner products in her home to her successful pregnancy.
“I'd like to think that maybe that kind of gave us a little boost to make it possible,” says Kristen of her daughter born September 2022. “She's a little bit over a year old now and she's kind of our little unofficial shop mascot.”
As a mom of three with a full-time job on top of her Greener Home business, Kristen knows it’s not easy to adopt sustainable and cleaner practices in one’s home. Reading labels and finding more natural products that you also like using can be overwhelming.
“I just wanted to make it more accessible and easy for anybody that wanted to get a product that was green,” says Kristen. “There's so much greenwashing out there — there are so many corporate products out there that look clean and healthy, but they really aren't. They're either doing something that's harming the environment to produce their product, or there's ingredients that are in there that aren't really good for you.”
That’s why Kristen prides herself on doing all that research upfront, so customers can walk through the doors at her Parkville shop and feel confident that what they’re buying is clean and natural.
“In this current society, everybody's so busy,” says Kristen. “We're just trying to grab what we know and move forward so we can get on to something that's more enjoyable. We just want to make this accessible and easy for as many people as possible.
Kristen looks for vendors that make products free of palm oil, phthalates and parabens, don’t use synthetic fragrances, work in small batches and sustainably source. Kristen also looks for vendors that have low-waste packaging or use a closed-loop system for their packaging, meaning all the bottles go back to the company to be refilled and reused.
The Greener Home’s first mission was to be a soap refillery. Kristen saw a need for one in the Northland, as she was driving to the nearest one in Waldo. She loves the concept of a soap refillery, because you can get as little or as much of a product as you’d like — whether you’d like to bulk buy or just try something new. You can bring in your own bottle to fill up, or Kristen sells bottles that you can fill and reuse. The Greener Home sells a lot of refill options, such as laundry detergents, shampoos and conditioners (both human and pet), lotions, household cleaners and various soaps.
Kristen also sells plenty of takeaway products, like shampoo bars and lip balms. One of her favorite and most popular products is something called a Swedish dishcloth, which is a sponge-like cloth that can be washed and reused, replacing the need for paper towels.
While greener products can feel like a luxury, Kristen wants to make the things in her shop both approachable and affordable.
“I think when somebody hears sustainability or green products, they're gonna think it's much more expensive,” says Kristen. “And while some certain items are a little bit more pricey, they are cleaner and you are getting more bang for your buck because you don't need to use nearly as much product.”
Kristen also knows firsthand how overwhelming it can be to adopt greener practices in the home, and advises anyone looking to start to start small. Kristen believes that no one can be perfect at living sustainably, but wants to help everyone choose better where they’re able.
“A lot of people, I think they find this really impossible to achieve because they think they have to do everything perfectly, and that's not practical,” says Kristen. “Just changing one or two things at a time over a period of time — that does add up, it does snowball into a greater effect on what's going on in our community and in our environment.”
The Greener Home
16 Main Street
“I just wanted to make it more accessible and easy for anybody that wanted to get a product that was green."
"It does snowball into a greater effect on what's going on in our community and in our environment.”