Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mike Mayer, Co-Founder and President of Meliora Cleaning Products, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Meliora Cleaning Products manufactures people and planet-friendly home cleaning and laundry products. Our women-owned, family-owned, and operated factory is located in Chicago, IL. As a certified B Corp, we're committed to providing better products to people around the world. Through our website and network of hundreds of wholesale partners around the US, we sell plastic-free cleaning products that can be used every day in every home. All of our ingredients are cruelty-free, vegan, MADE SAFE certified, and listed right on the package, so you know exactly what you're bringing into your home.
Tell us about yourself
We started Meliora Cleaning Products in our kitchen ten years ago, purely as a side project. After talking with several stores and expanding our online sales, we outgrew our spare bedroom/closets/kitchen operation and moved into a dedicated factory and warehouse. We currently have over 15 employees at our Chicago, IL, HQ.
The greatest motivation I get comes from our partners and customers who write in and tell us how we work on making effective products that are better for them, their families, and the planet. Being able to help people while also providing living-wage jobs for our team members is an easy motivator to keep going and growing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We're turning TEN in 2023! Being able to keep our business operating throughout all of the regular challenges of starting up a small business (then tossing a pandemic on top just for kicks) isn't easy. Our focus on products that work while also being transparent with our ingredients and business operations feels pretty great.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There's no such thing as 9-5. Despite striving to "leave the work at work," your mind continually drifts back to what's happening now and what you need to do later. It's a constant challenge to ensure you get an adequate amount of personal time to reflect on yourself and your family and friends.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Perfection is the enemy of progress. Just start. You will always find ways to make things better, and that's great. But don't wait until everything's "perfect" before beginning because you'll never get going.
- Burnout is real. Don't do it alone. Whether it's internal business partners, or mentors, or collogues, find someone you can trust to talk through the challenges you face. Trying to solve everything 100% on your own will drain you and make it that much harder to push forward. Even if you're working alone at your desk at home, there are people out there to who you can talk and seek out advice and ideas. Those connections give you the energy to keep moving forward.
- Every once in a while, step back and look at where you are today compared to where you were six months or six years ago. It's really, really easy to get caught up in the work you're doing every day. Even taking just a few minutes to reflect on how all those small bits of progress you've made each day can really show you how far you've come in a short time. I've caught myself looking around our factory every so often, thinking about how this crazy idea that started in our kitchen has been able to help so many people. It's a humbling, exciting feeling to know we've been able to do what we do.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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