Today’s Mompreneur Spotlight is on Monica Leonard, the founder of Molly’s Suds. Molly’s Suds create soaps, detergents, cleaners and more which are all safe for both the environment and your skin and body, both on the outside and inside. Molly’s Suds products are made with earth and plant derived ingredients. If there’s something which needs to be cleaned, Molly’s Suds has a healthy solution for it!
GG: How did you decide to launch your business? Tell us a little more about Molly Suds.
ML: We launched Molly’s Suds in 2008, 3 years after the loss of our daughter, Molly. I was a nurse and mom to 3 at the time she was born, and never would have expected a stillbirth. Though I have a faith in God, I wondered why she was not breathing, no life at birth, what did my body do different. As a pediatric nurse, lactation counselor, and mom to 3 other healthy children, I was struggling for answers. After a few months passed, we were pregnant again, and I started doing research about stillbirths. I came across a study that would change the course of our lives forever.
It was my moment… I felt duped by the system, fooled, defeated. I found out the chemicals that we come into contact with every day are not really regulated, alter our endocrine systems, are found in the cord blood of newborns, and are passed on for generations via DNA. It was outrageous. And who knew? No one knew including my obstetrician, coworkers, and family.
I felt like I needed to educate myself more on the chemicals my family and I were being exposed on a daily basis, and see where it took me.
I started small by filling a big black trash bag with all of the toxic products we had after researching the ingredients and discovering the negative effects they have on human health.
We were not left with much on the shelves. I started to learn more about ingredient integrity, and talked to people that were on the same quest for safer products. I talked to people in the environmental science, healthcare, alternative medicine, and chemical industries; and I didn’t stop there.
I really talked about it to anyone who would listen; a lot of family and friends thought I was nuts. They believed the products on grocery shelves were all completely safe, and that the household names we all came to know and trust were just fine.
At this point, I had given birth to a healthy baby boy following Molly’s stillbirth, and I was able to find better organic or natural alternatives to use in place of the conventional brands we had been using…except when it came to laundry detergent. It was the only product I could not seem to replace comfortably. We decided to work with an organic facility to help us perfect a product I worked on for a couple years. I ultimately found my audience at farmer’s markets, mom groups, La Leche League, and other similar places, and in late 2008, at a farmer’s market in Buford, GA we sold our first bucket of Molly’s Suds – the rest is history!
GG: How do you balance work and family?
ML: Work life balance is very important to me. It can be done – we just have to set limits. I’ve had a pretty experienced journey at the game of life, and realize that we don’t get these years back. I’m manufacturing and selling laundry detergent, and so I have to remind myself, it’s not heart surgery. Emails and calls can wait. After work hours, I spend time with my family, which in turn keeps me less stressed and more productive when I am working. I also have an extremely supportive and loving husband, whom I think is the key to my success in our family business.
GG: What’s the best part of being a mompreneur?
ML: I love being a mompreneur because nobody can tell me I have to miss a field trip or performance, or find someone to watch my sick child. When I was a nurse, I missed a lot when it came to kids and family, because my shift always had to be covered. So I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to be there when I need to be. It’s hard work owning a company, and after the house winds down, I still may send out a few emails or sit on the patio with my husband to strategize. It’s good for the kids to see me working out of passion, making a difference, and allowing Molly’s little life make the world a better place one wash at a time!