Earlier this week, I chatted with Jennifer Dutkowsky, the owner of Why Not green boutique in Tampa. Here’s a short profile of Dutkowsky, her boutique and her thoughts on sustainability and the overall “greenness” of Tampa Bay. For a photo gallery of the shop, click here.
Going green isn’t always about the big changes.
Jennifer Dutkowsky, owner of the green-themed Why Not boutique in South Tampa, sells eco-friendly gifts and women’s clothing with that thought in mind. The shop, located in a trendy shopping area of Palma Ceia, offers unique, and often fun, ways to “go green.”
“We are used to a convenient life. We are used to doing things that are quick, easy, simple, end of story,” she said. “To me, being sustainable is about making simple changes in your life.”
These changes, she suggests, can be as easy as recycling, taking reusable bags to the grocery store or using vinegar as a cleaning agent.
Dutkowsky’s roots in the green movement began in the Northeast, where she says that the people are “extremely earthy-crunchy.” She describes her childhood and young adulthood as sustainable, where the mantra was “buy local, buy often.”
Dutkowsky’s interest in selling green items started with cleaning products.
“I’ve always cleaned with vinegar and tea tree oil but I know nothing about production and marketing except for what I’ve read online,” she explained. “So, I started doing research online and got involved in this. The green movement was just sort of starting in Tampa, people were becoming more aware of it, recycling programs were expanding in town and it makes sense to do it here.”
Armed with no retail and no business experience, Dutkowsky opened Why Not and sells recycled, reusable, natural, organic and fair trade items. Products range from organic cotton clothing to natural bath and body products to vintage up-cycled jewelry to vases made of recycled glass.
“You look at something and you either know that it’s made from recycled material because that makes it interesting or you can’t even tell,” she explains.
Dutkowsky describes the most “intriguing” item in the store as the paper and notebook made from elephant “poo.” On the more practical side, the most popular item in the boutique are Envirosak bags, a reusable yet cute, styled bag that rolls up when not being used.
Despite the tough economy and Dutkowsky’s observation of the overall lack of “green” awareness in Tampa, Why Not is celebrating it’s one year anniversary this month.
“Green is tough in Tampa,” Dutkowsky says. “It’s a slow process.”
For a photo gallery of the shop, click here.