Kate Jakubas & Mike Mayer
Meliora Cleaning Products, Co-Founders
Kate Jakubas and Mike Meyer, Co-Founders of Meliora Cleaning Products, on their journey from engineers to entrepreneurs, the power of the consumer, and using business for good
“I wasn’t one of those kids that had a lemonade stand, you know, those entrepreneurial kids that love business!?! I had a rock collection. Like, I was one of those super nerdy science kids and it wasn’t until later, like waaay late, like a couple years ago, that I realized business could be a part of problem solving.”
Q & A with Kate Jakubas and Mike Mayer:
1. City of residence: Chicago, IL
2. Place of birth:
Mike: Northwestern Wisconsin
Kate: Chicago suburbs
3. In under five sentences, define your business: Meliora (meh-lee-OR-ah) is Latin for “better.” Meliora Cleaning Products manufacturers people- and planet-friendly home cleaning and laundry products. As a Certified B Corporation, our triple-bottom-line approach to business (people-planet-profit) guides us in everything we do. We look at the products themselves, how they are packaged, and how we pay and treat the workers that make them. We believe you deserve to know what’s in every product you bring into your home, so we put the ingredients on the front of every package.
4. What social or environmental impact is your business making? We make a lower-impact version of the cleaning products that you use to keep your home clean. We don’t use: dyes, optical brighteners, preservatives, or synthetic fragrances. We package in mostly steel and cardboard and are striving to eliminate plastic from our entire product line. We sell lower-impact products such as refill bags of powder and work with packaging-free stores to continue to reduce the impact of consumable cleaning products. We work with nonprofits including MADESAFE and Women’s Voices For The Earth to help change regulations and put pressure on larger companies to make the needed changes to reduce the impact of our industry.
5. What is the best part about the work you’re doing? Why? People are looking for a better solution for food, cosmetics, and cleaning. It can be frustrating constantly having to re-evaluate what brands you buy, and we LOVE when they tell us about the relief they feel when they buy our products and have finally discovered something that works and they can be proud to use.
6. Out of all the products you produce, which is your favorite? Why? Our Soap Stick constantly gets comments that people are amazed at how well it works. In addition to saving t-shirts with deodorant stains, we traveled for 2 weeks in Africa this summer using only the stick to get our clothes clean. We love it.
7. What book(s) are you currently reading? Cradle to Cradle and Doughnut Economics – two books that we picked as the required reading for when we teach a Sustainable Entrepreneurship source for MBA students in Spring 2019.
8. Quote you (try to) live by? “Don’t be a d*ck” – not sure where we heard this, but we use it to call each other out if needed. Too many entrepreneurs have a “us vs them” mentality; you can be a decent person AND run a business.
9. Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
10. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you? Mike and Kate met at work! They used to be engineers together at a plumbing products company.
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