Go For The Green
Lite Foot Company’s Katie Rodgers-Hubbard reflects on one year and makes planet-saving plans for the future.
As a military spouse, Katie Rodgers-Hubbard has lived everywhere from a small town in Oklahoma with no recycling program to Germany, where compost pickup day and separating glass by color were the norm.
When she and her husband moved to Savannah, Rodgers-Hubbard was surprised to find there wasn’t a one-stop shop for sustainably-minded folks — and decided to step in to help people shrink their carbon footprint.
“I’m a culture changer at heart,” she said.
With her career in higher education on pause due to the pandemic, she opened her online store in January 2020, armed with a ten-week City of Savannah entrepreneurship course and a SCORE mentor. Lite Foot Company features refillable products designed to reduce waste from single-use containers, cleaners, bags, and more, and subscription boxes to help people get started.
But Rodgers-Hubbard doesn’t consider herself to be in retail. With a completely new concept for the area, she found that most of what she has offered over the past year is education.
“Most people would judge the success of their first year in business by profits and mine was, to how many people did I explain the concept of going plastic-free?” she said. “Every day I’m reaching people who have never heard the term carbon footprint before.”
That’s why she chose to take her operations mobile over the summer with a truck, affectionately named Hillary the Refillery, purchased off Facebook marketplace from North Carolina. As she reaches more people through pop-ups at farmers’ markets and community events across the coastal region, she aims to make the journey to living sustainably less intimidating.
Having moved to Savannah and launched her business in the middle of a pandemic, Rogers-Hubbard thought she might miss out on vital networking connections that could lead to professional mentors and potential clients. But she said she found her people by daring to reach out, from her first truck stop at Starland Yard to stocking products and exchanging tax tips with the founders of beauty company Laughing Tansy. She encourages all new business owners to connect with others and ask for help as they grow.
“I have never experienced a community like this before!” she said. “People want to support innovation and small business. They want you to succeed.”
Now, Rodgers-Hubbard is turning to crowdsourcing for the next step for Lite Foot: A brick-and-mortar store envisioned as a central sustainability hub for additional product inventory, package-free markets, clothing repair, education, and take-back container partnerships with local businesses.
“I want to create a bigger opportunity to live sustainably,” she said. “I know it will work here.”
Follow Lite Foot Company @litefootcompany and visit litefootcompany.com.
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