How To Turn Tragedy To $10 Million Dollars A Year Business
Amilya Antonetti struggled to find a cure for her son’s ailments, and found with it a successful business. Amilya had just given birth to her son, David, but her joy quickly turned to horror when the newborn would constantly cry in pain. The baby experienced shortness of breath and skin rashes. Not knowing what ails the baby, she and her husband consulted various specialists and doctors, to no avail. No one could them what is wrong with David or what triggers all the pain.
Her spirit undaunted, she made a careful record of her baby’s life in the hope of finding the triggers to David’s painful reactions. She discovered that David’s pain was worst on Tuesdays, the day she cleans the house.
Careful research led her to finally discover the culprits: chlorine and ammonia from her household cleaning products. The synthetic ingredients in the cleaning products caused David tremendous discomfort and pain. Amilya threw out her cleaning products and David’s crying finally stopped.
She then started her quest of developing cleaning products without synthetic-based ingredients. Using vegetable-based ingredients, she created a line of household cleaning products that are safe to use around David. Before long, word got around of the hypoallergenic cleaning products she developed. Her business, Soapworks, was born. It has now grown into a $10 million business in three years that it has been in business. Amilya’s company now offers a line of cleaning products: Laundry Powder or Liquid Laundry, Automatic Dishwashing Powder, All-Purpose Cleaner, Glass Cleaner, and Spot Cleaner.
This is what Amilya has to say.
I never really decided to start a soap making business and become “Amilya, the soap maker.” I was sharing all the products with friends and family and they kept encouraging me to start a business.
When I ran an ad in a local newspaper “Calling All Moms” and saw how many other mothers were in the same position I was, they also said you need to get this soap out to others. Because of these “mom gatherings” I was hosting with moms testing the products; the business really started without me even realizing it.
I started the business in 1993 making soap in my sink and later in my garage.
This continued into 1994 as I continued my fact-finding research on the hazards of chemicals. In 1995 with all my notes and research in hand, I hired formulator and SOAPWORKS was born.
Initially I gave my product to doctors, took it to PTA meetings and community and civic groups, schools, etc. It was basically word of mouth. The challenge – always cash flow, cash flow and cash flow.
Customers were very warm and receptive but the businesses (supermarkets, chain stores) were not at all receptive. I learned quickly that it is all about business and the money. The buyers wanted to know what they – their store – would get by purchasing the product, i.e. special discounts, coupons for their customers, etc. Store space is a premium and I was competing in an $8 billion industry for that space. No one was going to hold my hand and walk me through what I needed to do just because it was a good idea or a great product. I had entered a dog eat dog business.
We started as a family business but have gone way beyond that now. I balance my life by duplicating myself and building teams for everything. I have a team for David’s needs; for my business; a personal team that keeps me grounded. No one can be the “end-all” and if you think you are . . . well you’re in for a rude awakening. I surround myself with people who can be an extension of me as well as people who bring what I don’t have to the table – in both my business and personal life.
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