Written by The Strategy
It’s time for the world to realize that the future is female. There are so many female entrepreneurs who inspire us and we wanted to know more about how they got their companies off the ground. Welcome to our series: The Future Is Female, where we sit down with inspiring female entrepreneurs and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how their companies operate.
Many of us are making the move towards sustainability. Whether it be through the clothes we wear, the food we eat, or the choices we make in our daily life – sustainability is top of mind for many consumers. It has also been on the mind of co-founders, Jackie Price and Liz Drayton.
Moving out of their tech and social backgrounds, the two used their time in the pandemic to create a sustainable home care brand, Guests on Earth. The brand is as effective as it is aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally friendly. Actually, though. With vessels and vials made from the most recyclable and recycled material – aluminum, and concentrated formulas that save 10x the carbon emissions by using water from your tap, Guests on Earth is a brand that has sustainability at its core.
Currently, Jackie and Liz are working on a carbon assessment to help Guests on Earth reach carbon neutrality in its first year of operation.
With a current product range of 5 essential home care products that includes hand soap, all-purpose cleaner, their accompanying vessels and a cleaning cloth, Guests on Earth is currently working on their next launch, set to make its debut in the fall – Dish Wash.
We spoke with co-founder, Jackie Price to learn more about Guests on Earth and their female founder journey.
What inspired you to create Guests on Earth?
I was working from home and I became hyper aware of all the trash we were accumulating – especially plastics. I did some research and learned that only 9% of plastic is actually recycled, and the vast majority accumulates in landfills or ends up in the natural environment as litter.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial inclination – having started InstaDerby, a social media competition platform, and self-publishing and promoting a book, Chloe Has Chlamydia, while I worked full-time in NYC. But nothing had previously motivated me as much as the idea of doing something, at least in a small way, to help the climate crisis.
I continued to look into the home care space and after trying over 20 competitive natural/eco products, I realized there was an opportunity to approach this low interest, under-the-sink category in a smarter, more enjoyable way.
Liz and I met in NYC and reconnected when I moved back to Toronto. She had a similar story, having created a small product herself and always wanting to build her own business. When I told her the concept for Guests on Earth, we instantly connected on the idea of creating something beautiful – a brand that people would love, but also striving to help the planet in any way possible.
It’s been about 20 months of research and development, tests, production runs, supply delays and a number of challenges, but we are incredibly excited to be live and working toward our ultimate vision.
How did you come up with the name?
We knew we wanted to create a brand with sustainability at its core and have the name speak to that. ‘Guests on Earth’ was one of the first names we came up with. We cycled through a number of them and always came back to “Guests on Earth.” It signals that we just live here. The Earth was here long before us and it will be here long after us. The name is meant to be a subtle reminder to us each day. It also speaks to a community of people who share common values of creating and consuming in a more thoughtful way for the planet and our collective future. Coming fro social and tech platforms, we both understand the power of a community brought together through shared values.
What inspires Guests on Earth the most?
The opportunity to have a real positive impact on a massive industry and the consumer behaviour associated with that. We relive the future of this category is small format refills and we are incredibly excited and passionate to be at the forefront of that space.
Our mission is to create elevated home systems that are delightful to use and restore the balance between people and the planet. Our ambition is great and we are committed to identifying the most efficient, sustainable ways to transform the home care category into one that can create a clean home and a cleaner planet.
What was the biggest struggle or hurdle when you first started?
Knowing where to begin! My background is in marketing and technology – I had never created an actual product before. It was a lot of learning by doing, cold-calling manufacturers and suppliers. When you don’t exist as a business yet, it’s challenging to get people to take you seriously. It was very much about being confident in and selling the vision, as well as finding the right partners who could make it happen.
What did your career look like before you started Guests on Earth and how did you get to where you are today?
Jackie’s background is in marketing, social impact and tech. She was based in New York for over a decade and worked at a number of creative agencies, most recently Meta. Development of Guests on Earth began while she was contracting at TikTok as a Creative Strategy Director.
Liz started her career as a CPA with PwC in Hong Kong and San Francisco, but made the switch to Brand Strategy consulting after getting her MBA from NYU. In 2014, Liz moved back to Toronto from New York to work for Google. She has spent the last 3 years scaling Toronto-based start-ups through high-growth e-commerce strategies.
Has there been a moment when you realized you were making it?
At the time of this interview, Guests on Earth has been live for three weeks. We have seen some early traction and exciting customer engagement and are exceeding our goals for this stage in the process. We’ve also been receiving a lot of wonderful attention from key press/publications, which is very encouraging. We are proud that we have gotten this far and have successfully brought a product to market, but we have big goals still ahead. We’ll let you know once we know we’ve made it 😉
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
A few things:
- Be clear and confident in your vision. You need to be able to sell people on what you want to build and why you’re the right team, or individual to do that.
- Embrace a learning mindset. Find people who can advise you, even if just via a phone call or email, to learn more about a relevant space or subject that isn’t your expertise. Reach out on LinkedIn, ask for introductions. We have met so many founders who are generous with their time and want to see us succeed.
- Iterate. It doesn’t have to be perfect or complete the first time, it just has to happen. Building a business is a process and it will evolve to your full vision over time. Taking small imperfect steps, measuring your results and adjusting for feedback and improvements over time will get you to where you want to be.