Turning Creativity into Reusability0
From a young age, Jessica VanderVere was taught to be self-sufficient and always had a passion for nature. As an adult, she used that passion to create Bee Joyful Shop, a business that develops alternatives to plastic products.
As a single mother of five, VanderVere is very conscious of the amount of single-use plastic her family goes through.
“I had all of the kids at home when I realized how much waste we were going through,” she recalled. “We were quickly going through items like saran wrap and plastic bags and I wanted to be more mindful of our garbage.”
This mindfulness led VanderVere to begin her research on the impact of plastic waste.
“I began my research when all of the articles about single-use plastic and plastic waste came out,” she said. “I realized that these things can’t be recycled, and I figured that my family was going through about 5,000 plastic bags per school year!
“I started researching our options and saw reusable food wraps being produced by a company in Australia,” VanderVere continued. “I’m crafty and I thought, ‘I can do that!’”
Eventually, she set up shop in Suite 200 in the Park Trades Center and began creating reusable food wraps of her own, finding success in selling these wraps as a three-piece set that she estimates can reduce a single consumer’s plastic use by 1,000 pieces per year. The positive reaction that these products received inspired ideas for expansion.
“We added a zero-waste dining set that includes a cloth napkin, silverware, and a metal straw with a cleaner,” VanderVere said. “This set will help you save waste while eating at fast food restaurants.”
In addition to its online store, Bee Joyful Shop’s products can be found at local farmers markets and craft fairs, as well as establishments like Amy Zane, Food Dance, troVe, RIO, People’s Food Co-op, and more.
When she’s not working, VanderVere enjoys spending time in downtown Kalamazoo and frequenting local businesses.
“Fandango Tapas Bistro is my favorite restaurant and I love all the eclectic products at Rocket Fizz,” she said. “It is great to see all of the local businesses that are putting themselves out there and making their dreams happen.”
Speaking of dreams, VanderVere hopes to continue expanding her product to store shelves around the country and inform people about Earth-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic.
“You may not purchase my products, but inspiring people to do things in an environmentally conscious way is important to me,” she said of her goals. “You don’t have to use a straw necessarily if you can just drink with a cup. You can also use a recyclable bag. Seeing that ‘ah-ha’ moment when people get it makes me feel good.”
Thank you for sharing your passion for sustainability with us, Jessica! Interested in what the Bee Joyful Shop has to offer? Check out its online store for more information on their products.