Large paper and plastic free store opens in Cardiff city center

A new department store, the first of its kind in Wales, has opened in Cardiff. Yellow: The social enterprise was launched in Cardiff’s Morgan Arcade and offers a sustainable shopping experience completely free of paper and plastic.

The non-profit social enterprise is “planet and people-centric” and aims to improve the world we live in by “doing retail better”. Although the store is zero waste, paperless and plastic free, it also provides a platform for local businesses to sell their products and is committed to donating some of the money earned to local charities.

The store opened on the site previously occupied by Rossiter’s of Bath, Yellow:TSE transforming a unit that had been vacant for over two years. Get the latest news from Cardiff by signing up to our newsletter.

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There’s a wide range of products on sale, from store cupboard essentials to stunning pieces of locally sourced art. Refillable food items such as pasta, nuts, spices and snacks, as well as cleaning supplies, take up half the shop, while concessions for local businesses including paints, models and accessories artisanal, greet customers as they enter.

Customers will use state-of-the-art QR technology to scan items in the store, with a ‘self-checkout’ app allowing you to scan, weigh and pay for your purchases without using paper. There are also refillable bottles on sale for items such as dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent in an effort to limit the amount of packaging used in retail.

The new store has opened in the historic Morgan Arcade

Refillable food items and concessions for local businesses fill the store
Refillable food items and concessions for local businesses fill the store

While founder Tamsin Ford says there are nearly 50 sustainable vendors waiting to sell their wares in the store, local businesses currently represented in the store include Studio Muse, Eliza Eliza, Rhian Kate Jewellery, Kate Dumbleton Jewelery and Andy Morris. Sustainable fashion from Onesta is also on sale, as is the art of Katherine Jones, which includes intricate paintings of local landmarks.

There’s also a small cafe and co-working space in the store, meaning customers can work while enjoying local coffee and vegan cakes courtesy of Cardiff’s Hard Lines. Meanwhile, the elegant décor of the venue is complemented by a life-size giraffe model that is sure to attract passers-by wandering through the arcade.

Customers can stock up on pasta, nuts, cereals and snacks
Customers can stock up on pasta, nuts, cereals and snacks

Refillable bottles for washing up liquid and detergent
Refillable bottles for washing up liquid and detergent

As a not-for-profit company, the social enterprise is also committed to donating equal shares of profits to Mind Cymru, Cardiff Women’s Aid and City Hospice. The money raised will be used to help these charities with important initiatives.

Founder and CEO of Yellow:TSE Tamsin Ford said she was “really happy” to finally launch the store in the arcade after years of planning. Already well known for sustainable retail in Cardiff through her Pontcanna-based business Blossom and Nectar, the former Hewlett Packard employee said she was driven by a desire to retail in a more sustainable and community driven.

Founder and CEO Tamsin Ford wants "better retail" through his business
Founder and CEO Tamsin Ford wants to ‘make retail better’ with her company

“I always thought we could do better in retail,” she said. “It’s become very common during Covid that not only are we killing the planet by shipping mass-produced products, but we also have to support these original, independent companies. I just thought, let’s slow things down a bit and enjoy paying the people decent money for their products and decent wages for their work.”

“We are not for profit so we will always support local charities. We donate 10% of profits each to Women’s Aid Cardiff, City Hospice and Mind Cymru. They do amazing work and it is very important to me that we If there’s money left over after that, we’ll sit down with the board every quarter and see what local groups or initiatives need help.”

This Lego model is just one of hundreds of Welsh products on sale
This Lego model is just one of hundreds of Welsh products on sale

Sustainability is central to Yellow: TSE's mission
Sustainability is central to Yellow: TSE’s mission

Tamsin added: “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point and during Covid I wasn’t sure it would ever happen. But I’m really happy we’re finally launching and I think the people of Cardiff will I really like what we do. I wanted to be in one of the arcades, I think it’s a great place and that means we still have that feeling of independence in the store. It’s very exciting.