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Meet Eniko Olah of Sans Market in In St. Petersburg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eniko Olah.

Eniko, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was a senior manager in the consumer packaged goods industry. I really enjoyed my work and the people that I worked with, but I struggled seeing how much waste was created in the process of making everyday household items. Since I didn’t feel I could change things from the inside to the extent I wanted, I decided to leave and start my own company. That is how Sans Market was born. The word ‘sans’ means without, and I was inspired by the idea of instead of telling people how they need stuff with ‘this’ or with ‘that’, to flip it on its head and say what if we could do without all those unnecessary things. Sans toxins. Sans plastic. Sans packaging. And get away from the idea that buying things and consumption, in general, will make us happy, because it won’t. So, the motto that stuck with me (that is now a company slogan) is ‘Consume Less. Live More.’

Has it been a smooth road?
No, definitely not a smooth road (is it ever). It’s scary quitting your comfortable six-figure salaried job to do something you have never done before… that really no one in the area has done before. I have three kids. My husband is a stay-at-home parent and I am the sole income provider. It’s scary looking at statistics of how many businesses fail or fall apart or just stagnate and get stale. Being super vulnerable for a minute – I had to take an early withdrawal from my 401K and dip into our savings account to get the business going. Also, since the business is growing we are investing all of our profits back into the company… to buy more inventory, to hire our first employee, to sign our first lease, etc. So, I haven’t had a salary in months. This is the beginning part. The struggle and hustle. The part where you are working a lot and not really making any money. But I know I need to lean in and assume success. And know that one day, I will look back on this part of my journey and smile (but also be really glad that I made it through!).

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Sans Market – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
We are a zero waste lifestyle store. We help people on their eco-journey to transition away from plastic, packaging, and toxins. Away from disposables and synthetic materials and back to reusables and natural materials. There really aren’t a lot of stores like this in the US… only a handful in larger cities mainly along the coast and in greener states. I like to approach our communication from a place of acceptance. We always say ‘all levels of green welcome’. Not everyone has access to all the resources to make their yearly trash fit into a mason jar. So, we don’t judge. We welcome, we listen, and we educate.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I would have started sooner.

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