Stine Smith, left, and Kristy Hunter, right, started a business together after becoming disillusioned by the cleaning industry
A mum duo has revealed how they ditched the school run 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 in New Zealand, couldn’t believe the cleaning industry was still ‘stuck in the 90s’.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the Good Change founders revealed they were sick of adding to landfill with every new cleaning product purchase.
‘Every time I used the single use spray bottles and petroleum-based clothes I would think of the world I was leaving my kids,’ Stine said.
‘And I think a lot of people feel the same, we all want to make a difference but don’t really know where to start.’
The mums couldn’t ‘find anything better’ at their local shops but Stine managed to hunt down an eco cloth she remembered from her childhood in Denmark.
But it was at a specialist eco shop and cost a lot of money.
‘Also I am a mum of three, I don’t have time to drive to the next town for a specialist eco shop, I want something I can get in the supermarket with everything else,’ Stine said.
Stine pictured with a boot full of products – the women drove up and down the country knocking on doors to get their products out there
They each poured $30,000 into the company and were excited but nervous when their first shipping container load arrived
So she invited her friend Kristy to a post school-run business meeting – and they have been working together ever since on the Good Change store.
‘People say don’t start a business with a friends, but we are rule breakers, and both have an innate ability to laugh things off and let complications roll over us. We work really well together and are having the best time getting things done,’ she said.
The duo developed their first cloth, put their savings, about $30k each, toward ordering a container load and then hit the road.
‘It has been a cool journey, we drove up and down the country with a boot full, and just knocked on doors of supermarkets,’ Stine said.
‘You get knocked a bit – but that is the benefit of being mature and confident.’
‘And it is scary because you have just used so much of the family money – but we believed in this.’
Soon they were in supermarkets across the country, then they started their own website and now they are selling in Australia as well.
‘It is an amazing feeling when people say yes to you, and you see your stuff on the shelf. Even better when they call you back to order more.’
the mums have managed to build a carbon-neutral cleaning goods business – and are excited about the positive impact their idea will have on the environment
Kristy said there have been ‘lots of sleepless nights’ willing the business to succeed, and working out how to tell the kids holidays would be cancelled for a while.
‘But we have the ability to laugh things off and because we are so positive challenges seem to float over us,’ she said.
The friends say building a popular business comes with a few extra struggles – trying to manage cash flow and stock levels are high on the list.
‘We were growing massively, which meant we had to watch the cash, because it was tight,’ Stine said.
‘It is easier now we have some big chains on board because we know what orders are coming and can plan ahead,’ she said.
Their kida are proud of the business and have rolled their sleeves up to help their mums
The families had to tighten their belts and ‘cancel holidays’ for a while but are now thriving
The women came up with their business plan together then did a business course in Sydney before launching their Good Change products.
‘We have never been so excited about cleaning,’ they laughed.
They had to tweak their plan to be business to business operators when Covid hit – which is why they decided to launch online as well.
Now they are turning over a million dollars each year – and have huge projected growth.
They have also branched out and sell cleaning products alongside their hallmark clothes.
The sprays are all in glass bottles, as the mums wanted something that looked good and lasted well, the refills are in a concentrated form.
The mums are proud to show their kids how one idea can change lives and even the world
‘We worked with scientists to make the perfect product. My husband was a cynic but now he loves it,’ Stine said.
The refills are tablets, which when added to water make a full bottle of cleaning spray. This means they can be packaged with limited waste.
The mums are proud to have a carbon negative business – which aligns with their eco values.
They have also opened a warehouse in Melbourne and have a core 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 mums worked with scientists to come up with their cleaning chemicals – as they wanted something as environmentally friendly as possible – but still wanted it to be effective
The range now includes the iconic cleaning cloth as well as cleaning sprays which are refillable using a tablet and water
‘It is important for me to show them that dad doesn’t make all the money while mum spends it,’ she said.
And even though they had to cancel a few holidays and tighten their belts a bit the whole family have ‘gotten involved’ with the brand.
‘The kids love helping, they pack the products. Everyone does. We roll up our sleeves and get it done together.’
The mums also give money to charities as part of their businesses and are currently helping to provide families in Cambodia with safe drinking water.