Cover Re{me}dy pop-up refillery at Vernakular Store in Bangsar

The brainchild behind Re{me}dy is Jon Lee of local stationery brand ana tomy, who is making his debut in sustainable skincare

Spurred by the desire to reverse the worsening climate condition, Jon Lee, the co-founder of ana tomy, launched Re{me}dy in January 2021, a multi-label concept store in Zhongshan Building, Kampung Attap, that champions eco-friendly and all-natural personal care products.

Sharing the same passion for sustainability is Mirzan Meer, founder of Vernakular, a concept watch store in Bangsar that is built on the philosophy of 'time and the art of living'. Together, they have collaborated on a pop-up refillery to spread the word on sustainable practices.

Available from now till November 14, Re{me}dy's pop-up refillery at Vernakular allows you to purchase antibacterial body wash, alcohol-free sanitiser cream, and scalp cleansers based on a 'weigh-and-pay' system, and using only refillable packaging.

"Twenty-twenty-one certainly pulled the rug under our feet," Mirzan says. "But amidst the clouds of Covid-19, we found a silver lining: a reminder that we're all in this together, and that every single individual has a role to play in building a sustainable future by adopting more eco-friendly habits and supporting environmentally-friendly products or materials."

See more: Is Fashion Truly Sustainable?

Lee tells Tatler more about his latest venture in this email interview:

What was it like to launch a sustainable skincare brand in the middle of a pandemic?

It's been super hard. I sort of expected it but expectation and reality never really align. A sane person wouldn't start a retail concept in the midst of a pandemic. However, I felt as though it was right moment for us to do something which can inspire and provoke change. It was Covid-19 that spurred me to fulfil a promise to myself to help the environment. I launched Re{me}dy in January 2021 because I was afraid of losing my drive, that if I had waited for the pandemic to be over, I would end up not doing anything at all.

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How did the collaboration with Vernakular come about?

I've been to Vernakular many times myself, and I know Mirzan personally. We both share an appreciation for great design, have retail experience and share a similar belief that sustainability needs to be advocated, now more than ever. He was all for it when I reached out to him to see if we were able to do a pop-up at his store, to introduce to the Bangsar community the concept of supporting quality local health and personal care products that are natural and sustainable. 

What is the concept behind Re{me}dy?

First, to promote quality local brands. Second, to push for sustainability. And third, to inform and encourage people to adopt natural products for the sake of their health and the health of the environment. One of our missions is also to reduce single use packaging. I've always wanted to build a store out of sustainable materials because the average retail store generates a lot more waste than you think, considering how it would be given a facelift every few years. That means throwing out all the old stuff and rebuilding from scratch. For Re{me}dy, over 70 per cent of the pop-up store is made of upcycled and sustainable materials, and we have repurposed furniture too.

Tell us more about the products that Re{me}dy sells.

Although we started making our own all-natural products, it was never our intention to do so. Our main intention is work with the many local producers as a way to inspire and encourage them to be more sustainable. So basically it's a massive collaborative effort. Take for example the soaps that we make where we work with factories to retrieve surplus ingredients to help reduce waste.

Read more: Dia Guild Shines As The Only Southeast Asian Representative At London Craft Week 2021

What's your favourite Re{me}dy product?

I like the scalp cleanser. I even personally reviewed it on our website. I love the peppermint oil in it. After washing, it has this cooling sensation that freshens me up, like all the weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

What do you hope people will take away (besides the products) when they visit Re{me}dy?

To be more conscious about their product consumption and to be more aware about how vital it is to be sustainable. I also want them to know that there are local brands that are just as good as global ones. Do not feel intimidated by the prospect of going green. It's simple to take up sustainable habits.

See also: The Husband-And-Wife Founders of Comfort Works' Zero-Waste Journey

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