Stine Smith, left, and Kristy Hunter, right, started a business together after becoming disillusioned with the cleaning industry.
A duo of mothers have revealed how they dropped out of school to build a multi-million dollar cleaning company, after becoming frustrated by the effects of single-use plastic on the environment.
Kristy Hunter, 48, and Stine Smith, 45, from Tauranga, New Zealand, couldn’t believe the cleaning industry was still “stuck in the 90s.”
Speaking with FEMAIL, the Good change The founders revealed that they were sick of adding to the landfill with every new purchase of cleaning products.
“Every time I wore the single-use spray bottles and petroleum-based clothing, I thought about the world I was leaving behind for my children,” Stine said.
“And I think a lot of people feel the same way, we all want to make a difference, but we don’t really know where to start.”
The moms couldn’t “find anything better” at their local stores, but Stine managed to find an eco-friendly fabric she remembered from her childhood in Denmark.
But it was in a specialized organic store and it cost a lot of money.
“Plus, I’m a mother of three, I don’t have time to drive to the next town for a specialty organic store, I want something I can get at the supermarket with everything else,” Stine said.
Stine pictured wearing a boot full of produce: Women drove across the country knocking on doors to get their produce out.
They each invested $30,000 in the venture and were excited but nervous when their first shipping container arrived.
So she invited her friend Kristy to an after-school business meeting, and they’ve been working together at the Good Change store ever since.
“People say don’t start a business with friends, but we’re rule breakers, and we both have an innate ability to laugh at things and let complications wash our way. We work very well together and we are having a great time getting things done,” she said.
The duo developed their first fabric, invested their savings, around $30,000 each, to order a container load, and then hit the road.
“It’s been a great trip, we drove all over the country with a full trunk and we knocked on the doors of supermarkets,” said Stine.
“They do beat you up a bit, but that’s the benefit of being mature and confident.”
“And it’s scary because you just used up a lot of the family’s money, but we believed in this.”
Soon they were in supermarkets across the country, then started their own website and now sell in Australia too.
“It’s an amazing feeling when people say yes to you and you see your stuff on the shelf. Even better when they call you back for more.
the moms managed to build a carbon neutral cleaning products business and are excited about the positive impact their idea will have on the environment
Kristy said there have been “a lot of sleepless nights” hoping the business would succeed and working on how to tell kids the holidays are going to be canceled for a while.
“But we have the ability to laugh at things, and because we’re so positive, challenges seem to hang over us,” he said.
Friends say that building a popular business comes with some added difficulties: Trying to manage cash flow and stock levels are high on the list.
“We were growing massively, which meant we had to take care of cash, because it was tight,” Stine said.
“It’s easier now that we have some big chains on board because we know what orders are coming in and we can plan ahead,” he said.
Their sons are proud of the business and have rolled up their sleeves to help their mothers.
Families had to buckle down and ‘cancel the holidays’ for a while, but now they are thriving.
The women came up with their business plan together and then took a business course in Sydney before launching their Good Change products.
“We’ve never been so excited about cleaning,” they laughed.
They had to modify their plan to be commercial operators when Covid hit, which is why they decided to launch it online as well.
Now they are billing more than a million dollars each year and have a great growth projected.
They have also branched out and sell cleaning products along with their signature clothing.
The sprays are all in glass bottles, since the moms wanted something that looks good and lasts long, the refills are in a concentrated form.
Moms are proud to show their children how one idea can change lives and even the world.
‘We work with scientists to make the perfect product. My husband was a cynic, but he now loves him,” Stine said.
Refills are tablets that, when added to water, make a full bottle of spray cleaner. This means that they can be packaged with limited waste.
The moms are proud to run a carbon negative business, which aligns with their green values.
They have also opened a store in Melbourne and have a basic staff.
“We had a big celebration when we started paying ourselves,” they said.
Kristy says she loves being able to inspire her kids with her business story.
The moms worked with scientists to create their cleaning chemicals, as they wanted something as eco-friendly as possible, but still wanted it to be effective.
The range now includes the iconic cleaning cloth, as well as cleaning sprays that can be refilled with a tablet and water.
“It’s important to me to show them that dad doesn’t earn all the money while mom spends it,” she said.
And although they have had to cancel a vacation and tighten their belts a bit, the whole family has become ‘involved’ with the brand.
‘The children love to help out, they pack up the produce. Everybody does. We roll up our sleeves and do it together.’
The mothers also donate money to charities as part of their businesses and are currently helping to provide families in Cambodia with clean water.