Was there a lightbulb moment for Cleanest? Our lightbulb moment was in 2015 when we discovered reusable bottle systems for mixing surface cleaners from concentrates and tap water. We thought this was a game-changing delivery model both from the standpoint of the environment and also for optimizing home and body care products for e-commerce logistics...Having expertise in concentrates for blending higher viscosity products on an industrial scale, we knew the concentrates for products like shampoo, conditioner, dish soap and laundry detergent are very thick like a gel or paste and therefore could not be just diluted. We wanted to unlock the potential of onsite mixing with concentrates in reusable bottles for virtually all home and body care products and this meant we would need to develop a system that could replicate the type of mixing you might find in a lab or production facility.
What were you doing before you embarked on this project? My brothers and I were growing a family distribution business that specializes in raw materials and packaging for producing consumer packaged goods, especially home and body care products. The hybrid nature of our supply business provided us with an interdisciplinary background that made our lightbulb moment possible. Without our expertise in both ingredients and packaging, Cleanyst would not have been possible.
What has been the hardest part of the process so far? When you are a start-up, it can be difficult to get the attention and technical support of vendors and partners, including raw material producers and contract manufacturers for the components of our system. Our industry background and relationships went a long way toward removing some of the usual obstacles, but it has not been easy to find the right partners who believe in our vision and are willing to invest R&D resources to help bring our vision to life.
Why Kickstarter? Kickstarter is a great channel for attracting passionate supporters and outspoken early adopters who are willing to provide input and direction on what they wanted out of our system—both in terms of future product offerings and options for personalization. Kickstarter is a dynamic platform for testing our messaging and value propositions with different audiences, allowing us to condense an entire year’s worth of learning into a six-week campaign.
Michele Perkins, founder of Counter Culture (Indie Inc. May 2019), asks: when did you know you were onto a winning business formula and what keeps you motivated when the barriers seemed insurmountable? We knew we were on to something when we attracted the attention of established brands that were seeking to shrink the environmental footprint of their products and optimize them for e-commerce logistics. Our passion for sustainability and desire to leave behind a better world for our kids have kept us motivated during the more challenging periods of our journey.
Where do you hope Cleanyst will be one year from now? By June 2020, we hope that a few thousand households will be putting our system to work to save them money on natural products and to shrink their environmental footprints. We hope to announce partnerships with third party brands that share our values and seek to unlock the efficiencies of our delivery model. •