Doors of opportunity seem to continuously open for Kimberly Flores, and with each leap of faith, she answers her calling to be an advocate for the environment.
“I know there is a bigger plan. I just keep following the path that’s been laid out before me,” Kimberly says. Her bigger plan has always revolved around stewardship. “At a very young age, I realized we’re here to help protect this. We’re all connected.”
Kimberly’s initial response to the call of stewardship was journalism, an idea that started in early childhood. “At the age of 7, I used to sit with my grandmother, and we would watch ‘Murder, She Wrote’ and the news.” Kimberly remembers her grandma telling her she would make a good reporter. “Ever since then, I was going to be a journalist.”
She built her journalism career over the course of 15 years. And when she moved to Utah and took a job with ABC4 Utah, she reported on ecological issues. “I did a three-part series on the Bonneville Salt Flats,” she says, describing how she earned a prestigious award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her “Saving the Salt Flats” series. Another of her reporting initiatives stopped a bill that would permit crushing cars without removing the oil filter.
It took a lot of courage to turn away from the awards and success she found in reporting. However, when Kimberly got married and started thinking about starting a family, there was no question that something needed to change. “When you become a mom, you have different priorities. It’s family first. And then work is maybe second or third,” she says.
When her son, Everett, was 2, and her daughter, Gwendolyn, was an infant, she turned her focus on a new eco-activist pursuit. Armed only with a vision and an old florist van, she started fulFILLed, a mobile refillery that delivered cleaning and hygiene products to people’s doors. The mission? To keep single-use plastics out of the landfill one refill at a time.
The fulFILLed refill van set up shop at the Park City Farmer’s Market and within three months of starting the business, Outlets Park City offered her a permanent space for her shop.
“I’ve taken huge leaps of faith knowing that the universe will provide,” Kimberly says, remembering the bravery and creativity it took to move from a refill van to 3,500 feet of retail space.
In her new venture, she is able to use her investigative reporting skills to fill the space with eco-conscious goods that meet her high standards. “I’ve already done the research,” she explains. “Capitalism puts all the ownership on the consumer, and consumers are overloaded with decisions. I want fulFILLed to be a place where people who want to live more sustainable lives can come and know the work has been done.”
Kimberly’s vetting system is aggressive. “Every product in the shop has been run through the Environmental Working Group [which researches toxic chemicals and drinking water pollutants]. … There’s no preservatives, no toxins. If I won’t put it on my baby, I’m not carrying it in the shop.”
Kimberly’s mission goes beyond quality ingredients. “Clean, non-toxic and ethically-made is our top value. Then, as plastic-free as we can be, that’s our closed-loop value.” Her final value is promoting female-owned businesses in the shop.
fulFILLed’s untraditional business model of consuming less, repurposing and collaborating is thriving. “In the whole Wasatch Back, there’s no space like this. We’re doing business in a very unconventional way,” she says. “We are learning if we come together, we can do business differently. We can do business intuitively, with the values that match our family. And we can hold up one another.”
In her latest venture, Kimberly is partnering with Paige Garrity to launch an elevated expression of her brand, fulFILLed Lifestyle Co. The redesigned business will ultimately make fulFILLed more accessible to people.
Kimberly continues to welcome collaborations and opportunities in her pursuit of helping her community reduce, reuse and refill. “To some, we are just one little eco shop; for our community, we are striving to change the world. Sustainability isn’t a product you pick up off the shelf, it’s a way of life. fulFILLed Lifestyle Co. is about community partnering in sustainability.”
The goosebumps that appear on her arms as she says this are proof that she’s right where she needs to be.