Q&A: A dazzling solution to the problem of plastics

This week we chat to Kim Gould, a mother of four who became a distributor of a brand of environmentally-friendly cleaning tablets in response to a challenge posed to her by her five-year-old and eight-year-old kids during a family holiday.

ISB: What was the inspiration behind bringing DAZZ to Australia?

KG: Last year we went on a family trip to Laos and Vietnam and our kids were appalled at the amount of plastic choking waterways and strewn over the streets, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. Our five-year-old and eight-year-old demanded we do something about it. Like most parents we nodded politely and moved on. A month later they raised the issue again and set us a challenge to do something about plastic.

My husband and I looked far and wide for a solution and discovered DAZZ Cleaning Tablets in the US. They enable consumers to reuse their existing cleaning bottles over and over again, rather than being discarded and ending up in landfill or being processed in developing countries. DAZZ takes the essential ingredients found in supermarket cleaning bottles (less the water) and places them into an effervescent tablet. Consumers simply drop the tablet into the empty cleaning bottle they would have previously discarded, add water and start cleaning.

ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting the enterprise off the ground?

KG: As with most new concepts, our biggest challenge is overcoming ingrained behaviours and making consumers aware of a problem they think does not exist. Consumers are used to trolling the cleaning aisle to grab their favourite bottle of cleaning product. Taking that bottle home, consuming it, and disposing of it into the yellow recycling bin and repeating with the next weekly shop. They feel good about seeing the yellow recycling bin filled up. The problem, however, is that recycling is a bit of a feel-good fallacy. Government studies show that only around 10 to 12 per cent of plastics are recycled, the remainder end up in landfill. And those that are recycled undergo a process that consumes a huge amount of energy and can mean the plastic being exported.

Our challenge is to move consumers from a use-and-dispose mentality to a use-and-reuse mentality. When you finish your cleaning bottle, drop in a cleaning tablet, and reuse the bottle again and again. As with the replacement of single use plastic bags, it will take a lot of effort to get the ball rolling, but once it does we hope a snowball effect will occur.

ISB: I understand your kids play an active role in the business, please tell us how.

KG: As many entrepreneurs have said, schools do not teach enough business skills. Our two older kids (13 & 15) are learning how to use social media for business purposes, whilst our younger two have fun fulfilling orders and warehouse (garage) management. DAZZ has helped our 15-year-old improve her commerce marks by helping her relate what’s in the textbook to real issues our business faces such Conversion Rates and Return On Investment.

ISB: How do you see the business developing in the next couple of years?

KG: In early 2021 we are launching a new foaming hand soap tablet to coincide with our new compostable packaging and branding upgrade. On the business front, our growth will come from entering the supermarket and convenience sectors, replacing shelves of plastic bottles with tablets.

ISB: And, finally, what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on this journey you’d share with others looking to start their own business?

KG: think the number one learning is that there is always a solution out there. It might not be obvious; it may be the road less travelled, but it is out there. Sometimes you need to step back and relax, creativity tends to win through when you least expect it. Try too hard and sometimes you just get stuck. And, if that fails, ask your kids…you might just be pleasantly surprised!