1. The elevator pitch? Tell us about your brand?
In 2007 we set out to produce British-made plant-based products which are non-toxic and kind to the planet whilst being extraordinarily effective. We still manufacture in Britain to this day and are a proud member of Made in Britain, the organisation that unites close to 2,000 British manufacturers by their licensed use of the Made in Britain collective mark.
15 years later, we’ve won a raft of awards, we’re bringing professional eco-cleaning to every home in the UK, we’ve been awarded two Royal warrants and we’re in the process of expanding internationally. We’re growing fast as consumers wake up to the impact of climate change and look to make a difference through their purchasing decisions. Our range continues to expand, and we’re proud to be the first company in Europe to house our cleaning chemicals in 100% recycled plastic bottles.
2. What was the biggest challenge in Year One?
There wasn’t one overriding challenge – there were plenty of challenges that all seemed to come together! For me – these were very much around founding a business in a sector that I knew very little about (beyond the harm that cleaning chemicals were doing to the planet). It was a ‘monster’ learning curve and especially as I was doing this during the financial collapse of 2008/9/10 – a triple-dip recession. In hindsight, it was not the best time to give up the day job! High up there on the list of challenges was trying to hire talented individuals who truly got my vision and mission – and do all this on a shoestring budget of course!
3. What would you say has been your biggest marketing success?
Certainly, my proudest marketing success was managing to get an audience with HRH, the
then Prince of Wales team, which led to us being awarded his majesty’s Royal warrant. For a start-up brand to have Clarence House as a regular customer was truly massive for us, and continues to remain so. at that time. We were subsequently awarded HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Warrant making us one of the very few businesses to hold two Royal Warrants. For me, that was an incredible endorsement that signified the importance of what we were looking to achieve.
4. What has been the biggest mistake you made?
My biggest mistake was setting up a subsidiary business in South Africa with local production,
team on the ground and taking significant investment. But not having nailed our home market (UK), meant I was stretched and ultimately, ended up not leaning into each market properly. This meant I had to shut the South African business and alongside that, lost lots of money. I learned some very hard lessons and my best advice to entrepreneurs who are looking to expand fast is to get your home market firing first before looking to enter foreign markets.
5. Tell us about your plans for the future?
I am hugely excited about the future. Amazon has changed the landscape for international expansion. It’s still hard and expensive but so much easier than before. And there is a raft of exciting elements in the pipeline that we are currently unrolling. For example, we’ve just signed a five-year collaboration deal with an electric vehicle car brand to create an eco-friendly car cleaning range, which has immense potential for our business, we’ve launched a 2L refill range, which has some of the highest dilution rates on the market saving both money and carbon.
We’ll be launching a laundry range later in the summer (which is a huge market and driver of water pollution), and we’re about to launch our ‘Delphis Heroes’ campaign (incorporating Sustainability Heroes and ‘personalities’) on our bottles along with their stories – we’re launching this across the London Underground and it’s breaking new ground for us…