Fraser Moments: Shop Local Sustainable Living in Malaysia
The Hive Bulk Foods Say no to plastic; bamboo is beautiful, says The Hive’s founder Claire Sancelot. From reusable metal straws and bamboo toothbrushes to tasty bulk whole foods such as […]
Say no to plastic; bamboo is beautiful, says The Hive’s founder Claire Sancelot. From reusable metal straws and bamboo toothbrushes to tasty bulk whole foods such as brazil nuts, learn how Malaysia’s first zero-waste co-operative is promoting greater awareness about sustainability, one package-free product at a time.
1. Tell us more about your business.
I started The Hive in 2016 because I’ve always wanted to shop at a bulk food shop myself. The market didn’t have a lot to offer at that point with shops that offer package-free and qualitative food, so I took it as a chance to bridge the gap.
2. Have you seen a rising interest for your package-free, organic produce in recent years?
Even though we’ve only been in business for barely two years, we have definitely seen increasing demand for sustainable alternative and organic food.
3. As one of the few industry players in the bulk food industry, what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Sourcing isn’t easy, and it has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in the running of the business. Simply because the products that we are looking for are rather niche and the market is still quite underdeveloped. This means we still lack a network of suitable suppliers.
4. Could you share with us a collaboration or project that you are most proud of?
One of them is our involvement and partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) programme, which serves to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. We provide income to all the women who help make our signature products such as The Hive straw pouches (RM 12 or US$3), makeup removers (RM 7) and mesh bags (RM 12).
5. How do you think we can all play a part in achieving a more sustainable environment?
As a business person, I think it’s very important to support the local female community at large. As much as possible, we source from local female businesses. I would say it’s been very efficient in helping these women gain financial independence. As for consumers, I think it’s essential for all of us to play a part in becoming the solution to sustainability. There needs to be a change of mindset in the way we consume items daily. We can all start small by buying local produce, package-free products, choosing vegan options as much as possible and most importantly, learning to reuse.
6. Where can people buy your products?
In Kuala Lumpur, we have two shops in Bangsar and a new shop that’s slated to open in September in Hock Choon, Ampang. Our products are also available at our online shop. We deliver all over Malaysia and to Singapore. In addition, we run workshops to educate the community about sustainable shopping and living in general.
Address: 92 A, Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur & Bangsar Village 2, Level 1, The Pilgrims