Humans of Vic Park: Solita Work

June 14, 2019, Posted by Marc

I came to Calgary originally to go to art college and I worked in the exhibit industry for many years. Eventually though, I decided that I wanted to do something more meaningful, where I felt like I could make a difference. I was inspired to open up a shop that specialized in recycled stuff because we have a pollution problem. So, I opened up my little store almost eight years ago in Inglewood and it’s kind of morphed into this big local collection since then. In addition to zero-waste and recycled products, I decided to carry a lot of local stuff because I believe that staying local and keeping our dollars in the community is a big part of sustainability. I also rent out bikes because I believe that cycling is part of the solution as well and I’ve been a big part of the incredibly inclusive, commuter cycling community for a while now.

It was definitely a struggle at first, people didn’t really understand the point of what I did or why they should pay a premium for something made of recycled materials. For my first customers, I think it just took a lot of educating and understanding of how much time and effort it takes processing recycled materials by hand. I will say the Calgary mindset towards sustainability has changed a lot, especially in the last year. There are major cities declaring climate emergencies and entire countries are banning single use plastics, I think that has given many people the motivation to try eco-friendly alternatives.

People ask me a lot “what’s the one thing that will make the biggest difference?”, I always say, the biggest thing is to shop local. Not only does this help with sustainability but keeping our dollars in the community will give us more buying power and will ultimately help us fund the social programs that we need.

I’m hopeful because I feel like my shop is part of the solution.

- Solita Work, Reworks - Upcycle Shop