By: Pia Ramos 

“She’s the hardest working person I know. People make jokes and ask me if she’s [Thea Pauley] the boss at home too,” husband and manager of operations Tom Pauley said. 

Eco Now officially marked the opening of their third and newest store location at Laguna Beach on March 2, 2023. “We practice sustainability not just within what we offer our customers on a consuming and purchasing level, but we practice sustainability at the backend of our processes so we can actually practice what we preach and educate to a different level rather than refilling and shopping,” owner and founder Thea Pauley said.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of Eco Now at a ribbon cutting event on March 2, 2023. (KX FM / Pia Ramos)

Tom Pauley, manager of operations of Eco Now (left) and Thea Pauley, owner and founder of Eco Now (right) draped in red ribbon. (KX FM / Pia Ramos)

Some of the store’s unique features include localized lumber that is reused and remade for product shelving, eco towels used for cleaning, a laundry machine with a mechanical pump that pushes water out to their garden, and a composting worm jar. 

“We clean and reuse everything here. When we sweep, we compost the dirt. The lint from eco towels, we compost it from the dryer. We use minimal water– just 2 gallons per day from laundry. This water is recycled to our raised garden bed that irrigates our soil,” Tom said. 

Eco towels made by Thea Pauley. (KX FM / Pia Ramos)

Tom Pauley washing his hands by stepping on a manual pump in their garden. (KX FM / Pia Ramos) 

Reused wood made for product shelving in store. (KX FM / Pia Ramos)

Eco-friendly laundry machines used to clean eco towels. (KX FM / Pia Ramos)

Eco Now has inspired members of the community to be mindful change makers. Andrea “Andy” Badillo was a customer before she started working for the company. Initially drawn by their concept of zero waste, she didn’t know she could learn even more once she became involved. 

“I was more motivated because we do our research and it’s all ethically sourced with natural ingredients, no toxic microplastics being sent to sewage and ocean ways,” Badillo said. “With the new store opening, I look forward to spreading the mission. I love that we are being more accessible to people and branching out to more communities.” 

Appetizers at the ribbon cutting event using Eco Now sporks. (KX FM / Pia Ramos)

Stickers made out of bamboo are sold in store. (KX FM / Pia)

Four different types of sustainable straws sold in store. (KX FM / Pia Ramos) 

It’s a full circle moment for Thea– an opportunity that brought her back to Laguna Beach where she wanted to open her first store in 2018. Since then, she has initiated community engagement by hosting sustainability and compost workshops, partnering with nonprofit organizations like H&B Prodex that works with Terracycle, and new monthly events (stay tuned). 

“My message for those who are not familiar with eco-friendly resources and Eco Now is to take a pause and check the community you are in. If you are recognizing waste management issues, a lot of garbage, seeing water waste or food waste, we want to remind you that there are ways you can act to not be a contributor to that. Through being an eco friend with Eco Now, you have a lot of resources to start practicing.”