This article first appeared in our ‘Love is all we need’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 February 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
The UK’s ethical cleaning products market is booming, with sales reaching £68m in 2019.
Despite a growing sector bursting with small and often independent brands, most supermarkets’ household cleaning aisles remain largely unchanged, dominated by the big names and usual suspects.
This suggests smaller companies are finding innovative ways to get their non-toxic cleaning products (and refills) to increasingly savvy customers – and that it’s working.
Helen Bee, founder and CEO of Clean Living, decided not to sell her range of ethical cleaning products in supermarkets. ‘It adds unnecessary journeys that contribute to CO2 emissions’, she tells us. ‘We believe it’s better to go direct to the customer.’
Helen’s previous roles in natural health and beauty retail showed her just how effective direct selling can be.
‘I’ve seen first-hand how it can build a strong relationship with customers and get a brand’s message across effectively’, she explains. ‘Our Brand Ambassadors do this through sampling, demonstrations, events, promoting on social media, sharing with friends and family and creating online groups around their existing commitments.’
Clean Living Brand Ambassadors earn an income from sharing the product, and support Helen’s goal to create a community of people who are passionate about doing their bit to tackle the climate crisis.
‘So many of us feel helpless when we see headlines spelling doom for the planet’, she says. ‘There is power in people coming together to help the environment, which really is the only way we will change the fortune of our planet.’
Many Clean Living Brand Ambassadors have no previous experience in selling or cleaning, but are growing great customer bases because people fall in love with the cleaning products when they try them.
Clean Living was the first UK company to launch biological cleaning products in refillable aluminium bottles.
‘Our plant-based formulations use live healthy bacteria to attack dirt and grime, replicating exactly how nature cleans’, Helen explains. ‘They also biodegrade within a month of entering our water systems.’
As well as the usual Multipurpose, Glass and Bathroom Cleaners, Clean Living has developed a Limescale Remover, Odour and Spot Eliminator, Drain Maintainer and much more, making this is a really comprehensive range.
The multi-award winning Complete Cleaning Kit – voted Best Refillable Household Product by The Independent in February 2021 – provides products for the whole home, and comes in a handy card caddy to further reduce the need for plastic.
A refill subscription service is available to help customers avoid being forced to restock at the supermarket.
‘We know that it can be difficult to make the switch to eco cleaning, and it’s tempting to reach for a plastic-filled product on the supermarket shelf’, Helen acknowledges. ‘That’s why we offer the refill subscription service.’
Clean Living’s subscription customers can simply select which products they want to receive and how often. There is no minimum spend and it’s completely flexible.
The refill sachets are made from a foil mix because the bacteria inside would eat away at paper or compostable sachets.
Freepost return envelopes are provided so customers can send empty sachets back to Clean Living, which has a closed-loop recycling agreement with a company that disposes of them responsibly.
When Helen launched Clean Living in 2018, her main motivation was to educate and help us to think about what we’re cleaning with, what it contains, how it’s made and what will happen to the packaging afterwards.
‘I hope that the lessons people learn being a customer of ours will be adopted in all their consumer decisions’, she says.