If nothing else, these past few months have been about living more simply. Many of us discovered, whether we wanted to or not, that life can slow down, that in many instances, work can happen from home and that it’s not impossible to decelerate the speed of life in the year 2020, despite many of our instincts to the contrary.
Mother-daughter duo Gina DiGiovanni and Ashley Regan opened their Newburyport shop, Green House, a month before a global pandemic came knocking. But starting a business committed to a simpler and cleaner way of living turned out to be fortuitous during such an uncertain time.
No stranger to Newburyport entrepreneurship, DiGiovanni previously owned coffee shop Soufflés and later Goose Chase Baking Company before opening Green House with her daughter, the driving force behind this earth-friendly venture.
The goal of the shop is to bring sustainable goods to local residents and visitors. In many ways, the existence of the shop itself is to demystify green living, a task that can seem daunting, but in reality, it’s something that DiGiovanni and Regan stress doesn’t have to be—in fact, “going green” should not cause stress at all. This self-proclaimed “zero waste” store aims to put accessible, plastic-free alternatives in people’s hands, helping them create healthier homes and in turn a healthier planet.
“Everything in here passes the green test,” says DiGiovanni. “We stock a lot of locally made products, we support local makers as much as we can.” Regan adds, “The goal is to replace what is disposable in your life little by little. We have floss in store. That’s just one example of a tiny place you could make a change in your own life—by ditching the plastic floss you use every day.”
DiGiovanni says yes, we are a shop but on top of that “we very much want to be available, we want the community and anyone who comes into our store to feel free to ask us questions, we want to be here as a resource.”
When considering ways to make small changes in your own life, look no further than your bathroom or a kitchen cabinet. From dish towels, to nontoxic beauty products to charcoal toothpaste to shampoo and conditioner bars to kitchen accessories, chances are the shop has a simple and affordable replacement for something plastic in your life.
A true sign of the times, the shop has added face coverings, handmade in Maine, to their inventory. This spring, the shop gained local notoriety on social media for a recycling station they set up outside the store to combat the surplus of plastic bags that cropped up when reusable grocery bags were banned during COVID-19.
In the same vein, their suggestion to skip plastic grocery bags altogether and to instead bag groceries at your car was a hit with local residents.
Environmentally friendly doesn’t mean unattractive, a notion that’s easily affirmed with one look around the shop. Those wanting home office accessories will appreciate a work station area with a collection of stylish Decomposition notebooks, notepads and iron scissors. Another corner has a self-serve filling station where customers can stock up on refills on liquid soaps, hand sanitizer and more, while fashionable, reusable bags, from macramé to linen totes, as stylish as they are sustainable, hang on another wall. Those who prefer not to shop in person are encouraged to view their virtual store tour online, and curbside pickup can happily be arranged.
For more information, visit greenhousegoods.com.