I first came across The LaLa Lokal from a Shoptiq post on my Facebook feed. Intrigued by the unusual-sounding name, I clicked on it and realised it was an eco-friendly product store – the result of a lifestyle and mindset shift towards eco-friendly living.
A quick clickthrough on the site leads one to see that they stock products that span across personal care, laundry, and food storage uses. These include natural lip balm, soapberries – a natural alternative to conventional laundry detergent – and recyclable wax wraps.
The quirky-sounding name of the brand packs lots of significance within it – it is meant to represent Amy and her sister Lisa. Amy is the founder of the LaLa Lokal, and Lisa, her sister, has supported her throughout the journey of running the business.
Additionally, “Lokal” is the wordplay that is meant to represent the aspect of being local.
The LaLa Lokal describes themselves as “big believers in making small changes that help the planet and our local community.” Hence, the work they do revolves around making little changes in life – the impact will benefit future generations to come.
Such changes include habits like choosing to go toxic chemical-free, using sustainable products, and reducing the amount of personal waste generated.
Birthed From Personal Loss
In our email interview, Amy shares that The LaLa Lokal was initially conceptualized after their mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2014 – who eventually passed away in 2016.
In the two years between their mother’s diagnosis and her passing, Amy & Lisa learnt “a great deal” on how lifestyle, nutrition, stress levels and daily exposure to carcinogenic chemicals may eventually lead to cancer.
In this light, they wanted to spread awareness about reducing plastic waste, as well as how one can reduce exposure to toxic chemicals – the LaLa Lokal serves as this platform where they can do so.
Amy points out that even though our waste is incinerated, toxic gases are also released into the air during incineration – knowing that there are such “hidden” sources of exposure, Amy reiterates the importance of reducing our waste where possible.
Every Effort Matters
It takes a collective effort to make an impact – and perhaps it is this awareness that leads Amy to set The LaLa Lokal’s target audience as “everyone” – she reasons that “lifestyle shift(s) or personal preferences can make that difference to oneself as well as the environment.”
While I see where she is coming from on this, I am skeptical that this way of life is readily available for everyone – after all, everything comes at a cost – the eco-friendly lifestyle seemed like no exception.
After all, wouldn’t it be financially costly and therefore, a privilege that is more accessible for the financially well-off? Amy firmly begs to differ on this, saying that “everyone can easily do their part.”
She cites two examples where it is possible to live an eco-friendly lifestyle in a “no frills” manner – for example, by bringing a container from home for use when one decides to pack a takeaway meal from the hawker centre or food court.
One can also decline using plastic straws – rather than buy a reusable straw – unless it is required for medical reasons. For Amy, every effort matters, no matter how seemingly minute.
However, awareness is as important as action for the team at the LaLa Lokal.
“We have to create awareness in people that using sustainable products which lasts much longer will benefit themselves as they will reduce costs over time.”
Citing the SuperBee Wax wraps as an example, Amy points out that each pack contains three pieces, and the wrap can be used “over a period of at least one year.” In turn, this means an expenditure of only a dollar every month for each piece.
Eco-Friendly Living: Both A Corporate And Personal Responsibility
Issues of cost aside – is the eco-friendly lifestyle really the way to go?
After all, although it has become a recent trend to use BYO items such as reusable straws instead of single-use disposables, I am reminded of a recent Bloomberg article which shows that the use of plastic straws are not the core of the world’s pollution problems today.
On the contrary, they may detract from pollution’s real problems – which begin on a corporate level.
Amy remains undeterred. “If consumers stopped supporting corporates who do not produce on a sustainable basis, the big companies will no choice to switch to more sustainable production,” she reasons.
“A way of looking at it would be (to see that) everyone can make a change on their own, (and) support sustainable products which will have more impact on the environment.”
Not About A Quick Buck
In the midst of advocating for a cause whose concept is new and progress is gradual, Amy considers it a joy in itself to be able to run The LaLa Lokal.
A full-time professional working in a multinational company, she shares that running The LaLa Lokal gives her “a lot of joy and satisfaction,” as it allows her to be able to help create change or awareness in those around her. This, in itself, energizes her.
Yet, it is also because of this that her greatest challenge is finding enough time to manage everything. Nonetheless, she manages her expectations by telling herself to take it one day at a time.
After all, The LaLa Lokal is not about being able to make quick bucks – instead, it is about helping other people make better and more informed decisions for themselves.
“It’s about empowering people to make the change,” Amy says.
Moving forward, The LaLa Lokal – whose customer base comes from a combination of word of mouth and social media – looks forward to expanding itself beyond the current online store. Amy will be looking to stock her products in physical stores across Singapore.