Protect your company assets. This means get trademarks, patents, written agreements, and contracts. Also be sure to hire a lawyer.
Interact with other entrepreneurs. As business owners, we have some of the same challenges and so it is great to bounce ideas and discuss challenges with each other, as well as genuinely support each other.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Richardson, founder and CEO of PUR Home, a line of eco-friendly, all-natural household products that are safe, effective, and challenges greenwashing in the CPG space. PUR Home products are made sustainably from organic and raw ingredients that are plant-based, biodegradable, sulfate-free, ethically sourced and non-toxic.
Angela founded PUR Home in 2017 out of necessity after realizing that she didn’t see any all-natural cleaning products on the shelf that delivered on efficacy. The inspiration for the company came to her five years prior when she did the “big chop” and embarked on an eco-friendly lifestyle. After realizing that most “natural” hair, cosmetics and skin care products available on the market contained a high level of toxic ingredients, Angela decided to make her own organic bar soap, which she began selling online and via local farmers markets. After a year and a half of doing this, Angela felt a bigger calling to create a product line of everyday sustainable household essentials that were safe and effective at cleaning. Over the course of 18 months from 2015 through 2017, she researched and developed all-natural formulas for laundry detergent, dish soap and multi-purpose surface cleaners — and in May 2017, PUR Home was born.
Prior to launching PUR Home, Angela worked in higher education, helping students to obtain financial aid to further their education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and is currently based in North Las Vegas, NV.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In 2012, I did the “big chop” and began my natural hair journey. After searching for natural hair products, I began doing research into the ingredients that made up these products and learned there weren’t many that were truly “natural”. I also began looking at skin care, food, and household products, and was astonished to find that most contained a high level of toxic ingredients.
By 2015, I still could not find a natural household cleaner that was both non-toxic and could clean effectively. Most household cleaners on the market were sulfate-based and what I wanted was a good sulfate-free cleaner…so I decided to create my own. I started researching raw ingredients and testing formulations to make my own dish soap, laundry detergent and multi-surface cleaner. In 2017, I launched PUR Home because I saw that there was still such a need for non-toxic cleaners.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When I first started PUR Home, I experienced difficulty in developing a secure supply chain where I could purchase all of our ingredients, packaging, and labels. I was not aware of some of the best companies to engage and I ended up purchasing from third party suppliers, which made the costs of ingredients, packaging, and labels more expensive. I became aware of the wonderful vendors that manufactured the ingredients I needed through industry journals which had a list of ingredient suppliers and manufacturers — and we’ve had great working relationships ever since.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I 100% believe in the mission of PUR Home. I want to help people change the way they think about “clean” and give them an alternative to conventional cleaners and laundry detergents filled with harmful chemicals to the body and the environment. My customers tell me all the time that they love the fact they can purchase safe and effective cleaners, and that helps me to persevere through the difficult times.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Things are going great today! We have seen a lot of new growth and exposure stemming from the pandemic and social justice issues. There were a lot of times when I had less business and exposure and didn’t want to continue, but then I would be reminded that my purpose for starting PUR Home extends beyond myself as a person. It is a true passion of mine to create these products and know that the people that use them have access to safe cleaning products.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the funniest things that happened was when I was still manufacturing my products out of my home. I used to make 5-gallon buckets worth of product and one time I had a bucket of water and accidentally spilled it. I saw the spill while it was happening, but because I was tired from working long hours from a full-time job and developing my business, it felt like I watched it in slow motion with no ability to stop it. It was quite hilarious, but the cleanup was not fun. It is a great memory looking back.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes PUR Home stand out is the true eco-friendliness and sustainability of our ingredients. We stand by our safe ingredients that are powerhouse cleaners and want to help “change the way you think about clean.” Our laundry detergent comes in a fully recyclable container with the outer shell made of newspaper and cardboard and the inner plastic made of water bottle grade plastic. The outer shell can be recycled or composted, and the inner plastic can be recycled along with your water bottles and other typical recyclable items.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Rest. Rest and self-care are so important. I never understood this until I started PUR Home and am realizing that I am most effective when I am well rested.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My spouse is my biggest supporter. She supports me always and through everything. As I have been building PUR Home she has supported me and our life through her own career outside of PUR Home. She has been here every step of the way to help support and motivate me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We love supporting schools and local community organizations. We give away PUR Home products to organizations that help the homeless, women, and children. During the height of the pandemic, we gave away our products to our customers and their families who were in need.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why.
- Build a team. Building a solid team is so important and pivotal to company success.
- Understand your numbers. Understanding your money and being able to manage it is essential. Hire someone who can do this for you if needed.
- Protect your company assets. This means get trademarks, patents, written agreements, and contracts. Also be sure to hire a lawyer.
- Find a mentor. Having a mentor has been one of the best decisions I’ve made because they are able to help me work through business challenges, give me advice and celebrate my successes!
- Interact with other entrepreneurs. As business owners, we have some of the same challenges and so it is great to bounce ideas and discuss challenges with each other, as well as genuinely support each other.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My movement would be LOVE. I know this sounds cliche, but I do not think enough people know what love is or have fully experienced true love.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!