Very apt for this time of year, eco cleaning brand Homethings is shaking things up with an ingenious cleaning tab that activates with tap water. Co-founder Tim Keaveney reveals the story behind this planet-saving product.
As told to Miranda Wilkinson
“My co-founder and I launched our business in September 2020, during the second lockdown. But our eco-cleaning brand, called Homethings, had been in the works for a while. The lightbulb moment came when we discovered that traditional cleaning products are 90% water, and just 10% the active ingredients that actually clean.
It seemed bonkers to me. Especially when I thought about the sheer number of single-use plastic bottles we accumulated between us in the shared house I lived in at the time. We seemed to have a different product for every task and for every corner of the house. All of them came in single-use plastic, plenty of them half-used, and lots claiming to do exactly the same thing as one another.
Realising there had to be a more sustainable solution, I shared my frustrations with my friend, Matthew, and we began drawing up plans. By the time the first Lockdown hit, we’d already completed a presales campaign through Kickstarter that was five times overfunded. That meant that the pressure was now on to deliver the eco-cleaning dream we’d promised, and fast — global pandemic or not.
The perfect cleaning products needed to be refillable and sustainable, as well as being a powerful, non-toxic cleaner. We also wanted our brand to be fun. A well-designed product experience can be sustainable and make people smile.
After working with expert chemists on hundreds of different formulas, we finally perfected the recipe for our tiny, 5g tabs. Since they’re activated at home using tap water, our sleek glass bottles can be refilled and reused over and over again.
By the time we got round to launching, we were facing yet another Lockdown. Luckily, we’d always planned to start by selling our products online and had begun carving out a little corner of the internet to call our own by this point. Our podcast, blog and Instagram were up and running, and they were making waves.
In those long months of isolation, we poured all our energy into nurturing our online community. Following and collaborating with other people who have the same values as us, has allowed us to stay inspired and connected at a time when restrictions mean that people have never been more apart. We’ve gained close supporters and friends, but we haven’t shied away from calling out greenwashing by bigger brands either!
The pandemic seems to have been the wake-up call lots of people needed to realise just how much trouble the planet is in. But now we need the biggest companies to truly contribute to building back better and more sustainable practices, rather than just paying it lip service. In our eyes, greenwashing is no less harmful than the plastic-cluttered cupboards we first set out to address.
One day we might be uncovering the dark truth of fast-fashion with sustainability influencers on our podcast; the next we might be explaining the problem with ‘Cleanstagram’ on our blog. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from lockdown, it’s that you should always speak up for what you believe in. You’re bound to draw in like-minded people and ruffle a few feathers along the way; don’t let it stop you.”
- Tim Keaveney, CEO of Homethings