Small Business Showcase: Basic Goods

Small business starts sustainable journey during the pandemic.

Araminta Siegling, Culture Editor

Basic Goods, Iowa City’s Mecca for sustainable and self-care items, including a wide selection of house plants, opened just a year ago in October of 2020. Entrepreneur Simeon Talley opened the store online before the brick-and-mortar location. 


“We started maybe a little over a year ago, as kind of a concept initially,” Talley said. “I think it’s all a process of learning; learning how to build a business and start something, you know, really sustain it, and take it to the next level.”

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Talley has had previous projects, including in Iowa City. His interest in sustainability first started during the pandemic and is something that is prevalent in Basic Good’s items. The store shares the space with Day Drink, a coffee shop known for its use of glass jars as an alternative to single-use plastic. One of Basic Goods’ most notable sustainable actions is their refill station for soap and other household necessities.

“Whether it be a skincare product, a soap for your bathroom, your kitchen, a beverage to drink,” Talley said. “Even the plants, it’s about bringing things into your space that make you feel good.” 


Along with sharing the space with Day Drink, Basic Goods also has an outdoor patio space, which has been used for outdoor pop-ups. 


“I just wanted to make that space available to folks to do stuff, and they’re doing interesting and creative things and just activate the space for people that need it,” Talley said on Basic Goods’ outdoor area. 


Basic Goods recently expanded its space, allowing for more room and seating for Day Drink.


“At a time when lots of businesses are closing, typically small businesses and businesses of color had to move out of spaces and go online,” Talley said. “I was able to expand and I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful and lucky to have this opportunity.”