Welcome to Summit Sustainable Goods! I’m so glad you’re here! Like, doing-the-happy-dance, smiling-ear-to-ear kind of glad. I’m ecstatic you’re here. So let's dive in, shall we?
I started Summit Sustainable Goods in August of 2020 (in the middle of a pandemic, I might add – because I am either spectacularly gutsy or spectacularly short-sighted) after co-founding another small business in the Denver area with a business partner. After nearly a year building that business and growing as not only an entrepreneur but as a person (owning a business is hard work, y’all!), we felt our visions for the business no longer aligned, and so I decided to step down from the business to pursue my next adventure. Which, I might add, is pretty exciting and very intimidating.
But it felt good – really good – to build Summit Sustainable Goods. My year at my previous business had prepared me to establish a business of my own. The decisions were mine, and nothing was punitive. After a host of careers that had ended without the triumphant, purposeful resignation that I’m sure everyone would prefer, I was learning how to be gentle with myself, to trust in my journey rather than successes. I was learning to be okay with my imperfections and mistakes. Because maybe, this time, this time, I would be able to grow from my past, rather than be haunted by it. I was learning to take it all as one giant, bold journey of life.
So why the name Summit, you may ask? Having been raised in this fabulous state we call home, I know there are some pretty phenomenal summits to tackle throughout Colorado. Our majestic 14ers are the pride of our state, but you can still pick from a nearly endless list of foothill paths, hike for a few miles, and find yourself gazing off at unforgettable views at the top of your climb. Summits are goals to choose from, something to accomplish. They can be as simple as a walk to the top of a hill, or as grand as a climb above tree level to the highest point in Colorado. You can choose your summit and you can choose your journey. At Summit Sustainable Goods, we know that about zero waste as well. Some folks’ summits are challenging, arduous goals, like to be 100% zero waste within one year. Some are only looking to take that single step towards lowering plastic use in their households. We’re here for both. When you master one summit, you get to pick another one, one that resonates and gets you excited. We’re here for that, too.
So here we are! At Summit Sustainable Goods we believe in the journey for you, too. Our goal is never to shame anyone for not being perfect. In fact, in my personal life, I am far from it (my partner can attest to this). I still order take-out with packaging that I know will end up in the landfills. At times, I still forget to carry my reusable straw with me. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing single-use plastics in order to maintain the health and safety of our communities has become commonplace, I have done a lot of regressing. I mean, a lot. Am I proud of it? Nope. Am I working on being gentle with myself and believing in my own journey? You bet I am.
I am a human being; I am messy and I always will be. But I am making slow changes when I am ready for them. I switched from liquid, package-heavy soaps to bar soaps and I am learning to shop at grocery stores that have bulk sections by bringing my own containers in with me. Just because I own a zero waste shop (more on this in a later blog post), it doesn’t mean I’m the perfect model. I’ve learned to lean into that discomfort and use it to connect with our communities. We don’t expect anyone to transition to a zero waste life overnight – and if you can, holy cow, I’d love to hear your secrets! But for those who are interested in trying a new lifestyle that decreases waste and is kinder towards the earth, we are showing up. We’re not here to give you a lecture and push products on you that you’re not ready for. We’re here to engage with you, to build connections, to have those real, vulnerable conversations. Because this is real, messy life, and man, we’re here for it all.
We’re here for the journey, with welcoming arms and an open mind. We know each of us has a story that brings us here. We’re here to listen and to learn from one another.
Zero waste doesn’t have to be scary. I want to show you that you (yes, you!) can do it.
One summit at a time.
-Carrie Martin-Haley, founder