Embarking on ‘journey of good’

Ecokaps operations manager Gena Nicholl and general manager James Higgs display a selection of...
Ecokaps operations manager Gena Nicholl and general manager James Higgs display a selection of their Ecokaps products. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
They're cleaning up the world — one tablet at a time.

About three and a-half years ago and through a mutual business contact overseas, marketing agency Lawford and Co’s managing director James Higgs and web developer Gena Nicholl came across the idea of a soluble cleaning product.

With their skills in marketing and web design, and a desire to be involved in a business which had a positive impact on the world, they decided to embark on what they called "a journey of good".

Many cleaning products were predominantly water which was bulky and heavy to transport.

There was "absolutely no point" in shipping water around the world, which was a waste of fuel and energy, and it was also "absolutely nonsensical" to use a plastic bottle once and throw it away, Mr Higgs said.

They were excited to discover they could transport the equivalent of 37 containers of everyday cleaning liquid in just one container using dissolvable tablets.

Ecokaps launched in February; in New Zealand, the focus had been on operational, marketing and logistical matters and sales had been a little slower than in Australia, where the product was being pushed through a business partner.

Products were available in about 250 stores in four states in Australia and feedback had been "awesome".

Now the focus would be turned to New Zealand, where it was already stocked in Mitre 10 in Dunedin and Wanaka. Approaches were being made to supermarkets.

They were grateful for the support of local businesses Taste Nature and the Good Food Company.

While there had been previous dissolvable iterations, Mr Higgs believed it was all a matter of timing and consumers had not been ready in the past for such a change.

"It’s about finding those who have a bit of passion and vision for the future as early adopters," he said, adding that it was about education.

The products were clinically proven, through a laboratory in France, to be as effective as mainstream products on the shelf.

Dissolvable laundry sheets were also available to replace traditional laundry powder.

Mr Higgs said Lawford and Co, which was started from scratch, helped many businesses get started.

Starting a business took perseverance and grit but they believed in what they were doing and the ability to make a positive impact.

The tablets were made in China but they were looking at ways they could bring parts of that process either back to New Zealand or Australia.

They also had other products in the pipeline, not in tablet form, which they were excited about.