January 29 2015 Latest news:
Kate Scotter, title
Thursday, August 28, 2014
A mum-of-four who has launched her own brand of eco-friendly cleaning products is hoping to take on household names in the industry.
Helen Kirkham had initially started her own barbecue cleaning project after she was made redundant from the Money Centre in Norwich.
The project, however, soon branched out to cleaning items after she became increasingly frustrated with the amount of chemicals used in many of the products currently found on the supermarket shelves.
With support from the Norfolk Knowledge Innovation Panel, based at the University of East Anglia, and a Norfolk-based chemical company, she developed a range of products under the Mrs Gleam name - and now is hoping to break the national market.
Ms Kirkham, from Thorpe St Andrew, who has self-funded the business together with her business partner Joe Smith, said: “I’ve got four children, two quite young ones, and there are so many harsh chemicals in cleaning products.
“I thought there must be a better way to do it and there must be some other products that don’t contain harsh chemicals.
“I don’t have a background in chemistry or cleaning but I was so passionate about what I wanted to have and somehow I have managed it.
“The products seem to be selling really well and I’m trying to get out there to shows and demonstrations to show people what we have got. The aim is to continue to get the Mrs Gleam name out there and to get into some national stores, and have it as a household name.”
Norfolk Knowledge Innovation Panel, which offers a free service to individuals or organisations to help them achieve their business objectives, provided Ms Kirkham with two mentors, gave her guidance, helped point her in the right direction and put her in touch with a chemical company.
The Mrs Gleam range includes a kitchen cleaner which is claimed to kill 99.9pc of bacteria within 30 seconds, a bathroom cleaner, stainless steel cleaner and a stain remover for carpet and upholstery.
All of the products, which are packaged with a 1950s retro-style label, are environmentally-friendly, bleach-free and non caustic.
They are currently available at Bakers and Larners, Loose’s and Dunelm, as well as online.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the product range,” said Ms Kirkham. “A lot of people think as it’s an eco product, it won’t clean as well as a product with a lot of harsh chemicals but what we have works absolutely amazingly.”
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