Billie-Jo O’Brien and her fiancé Pete Molloy thought long and hard before they took that next big step and went into business together.
“We had talked it through so much that it came to this end product and we just fell in love with it so much we had to try it,” said O’Brien. “I guess the motivation behind it all was to just do something fresh and fun that also has an impact.”
They opened their first Molloy’s Bulk Refill and Soap Supply shop on Elgin Street in Cambridge.
“The Cambridge location opened in September 2018,” said O’Brien. “Pete runs that store essentially because he has a different business in the back. I run this location that we opened in early May.”
They sell soaps for all kinds of applications as well as ingredients for people to make their own products.
“In a nutshell we do bulk and packaged, personal care, house and home and ingredients,” she said. “We also sell a variety of zero-waste and reusable products to help people become more zero-waste at home like beeswax wraps, bamboo toothbrushes, that sort of thing,”
They also cater to the DIY crowd.
“We do soap making, candle making and makeup making workshops,” she said. “The key thing is that all of our products are on the natural side of things. Everything is nontoxic and biodegradable. We’re not refilling Windex. We are refilling with better alternatives.”
O’Brien studied purchasing in college and went on to work in the automotive industry for 18 years.
“I was a buyer in automotive and when the recession hit in 2008 and I went back to school for events and marketing and some communications stuff,” she said. “I did work independently for a bit and for a non-profit.”
Her life and career plans changed when she met Molloy.
“It was eight years ago this month, actually, at a Kitchener Phantoms baseball game,” said O’Brien. “There is lots of baseball in Pete’s world. Anyway I ended up there against my will with a friend and it was a good thing I went. It sure was, yah.”
Baseball has played a big part in their plans together.
“He played baseball for Team Ireland so we have been there quite a bit over the last few years,” she said. “They don’t play a lot of baseball in Ireland but he’s a really good baseball player.”
They decided the Emerald Isle was an ideal location to tie the knot.
“We are getting married in Ireland in a month,” said O’Brien. “I was born in Ontario and Pete was born in Ireland. He has been here since he was seven but he’s decided to trek everyone back over for the wedding.”
Molloy’s family used to own a pharmaceutical packaging company.
“He still has a small portion of that business but we started this,” said O’Brien.” That’s kind of how this started because he had the ingredients and packaging expertise.”
O’Brien said she is excited about the Carden Street location because Guelph has a reputation for being environmentally conscious with a large DIY community.
“They’re a couple causes working together if you will that really fit Pete and I’s experience and what we could do,” she said. “There is no reason to buy this stuff when you can make it more affordably yourself. I think that it is something all communities should have really. Every town should have a refill.”