Welcome to the third post in our Top10 blog series featuring women from around the world who kick butt as entrepreneurs AND make a BIG difference in the lives of others.
As you may already know, we've asked our Top10 women to answer a bunch of questions about their income, lifestyle and business strategies. In these posts we deliver the inside word on what we have found out. Last week it was the adventurous Suitcase Entrepreneur, Natalie Sisson.
This week we're introducing award winning ethical entrepreneur and Mum, Madeleine Shaw, one half of the dynamic duo at the helm of Luna Pads.com
With 25,000 newsletter subscribers, 6,000+ Facebook fans and 3,500+ twitter followers, it is clear that Luna Pads products are inspiring women all over the world to GO GREEN every month!
So what exactly do they sell, I hear you say?
Luna Pads manafactures and markets natural feminine hygiene products – in short – washable, reusable alternatives to mainstream disposable pads and tampons. Thanks to Luna Pads products, over one million disposable pads and tampons are being diverted from landfills every month. Incredible huh?
Madeleine started the company up in 1993 as an aspiring fashion designer with a passion for solving both personal health problems AND environmental concerns. Suzanne (a business-savvy Chartered Accountant) joined her in 2000 and the rest is history, so to speak!
Today the company employs 10 women and has sales approaching $1 million annually.
It seems Madeleine and Suzanne have picked a pretty great niche – in North America, the feminine hygiene industry is worth an estimated $3 billion dollars, and 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are currently disposed of in landfills annually in North America alone.
The Luna Pads vision, therefore, has the potential to make a BIG environmental difference, as well as a hefty profit for it's founders.
Like many of you, Madeleine is also juggling her business with the challenges of being a parent to her 7 year old daughter, Gigi.
As the first mumtrepreneur we've surveyed so far, we asked Madeleine to go into a bit more detail about how she makes it work. Here's what she said (we love your honesty, thanks Madeleine!)
The key to work/Motherhood balance for me is flexibility, and being in the position that I currently am at Lunapads for the most part supports that. That said, I am well aware that I am almost never one of the parents who goes on field trips with the kids, and I rely heavily on my own Mother, who picks her [Gigi] up from school every day. I should add that the one who has really made all of this work is Gigi herself, who is proud of her Mom!
In a way, it was easiest when she was really little, because I just packed her up and brought her to work with me. My business partner Suzanne has 2 boys, and all the kids were raised this way. We helped one another cope, and our staff pitched in as well – it just became part of the fabric of the business for several years to have little kids around. Since then, Gigi has been in a combination of family-based daycare, public day-care, and of course my parents and husband.
Parenthood is in many ways like being an entrepreneur: you're never going to be totally ready for it, and yet are willing to go for it regardless and get ok with making it up as you go along. If you try too hard to figure it out in advance, you'll never get it done!
The gals at Luna Pads are also kicking butt at developing exciting new ways for their business to give back.
Yes, these ladies are the bomb when it comes to practicing a triple bottom line. Not only does their product itself contribute hugely to reducing the waste piling up in our landfills, but they also support numerous community non-profit and environmental organizations.
[Luna Pads] is increasingly providing us with travel opportunities, which I love. To me, the best part is getting to do work that is completely aligned with our personal values. It's also evolving from being just a business to being a social enterprise, with opportunities opening up to support women entrepreneurs in developing nations. Madeleine Shaw
Madeleine and Suzanne's most recent adventure has been a trip to Uganda, supporting a women-led intiative that is producing and selling sustainable sanitary products, based on the Luna Pads model. This is an incredibly inspiring story and I highly recommend that you head over and read more about The Magic of AFRIpads on the Luna Pads blog (check out the Luna Pads team below with some of the amazing women they met while in Africa.)
Madeleine and Suzanne also make a regular practice of mentoring up-and-coming women entrepreneurs – lucky them, where do we sign up?!!!
What can you learn from Madeleine and the team at LUNA Pads about how to run YOUR business?
As you know, we've asked all of our TOP 10 women to share some tips on business success. We asked Madeleine...'looking back, what ONE thing would you do differently to achieve your goals FASTER and with LESS STRESS'. This was her reply…
I would have been less afraid to spend money on marketing. Most women still don't even know that we exist!
Are you currently investing at least 5% of your business turnover on marketing? If not, why not?
It's worth while to take a moment now to consider whether a lack of investment in marketing be holding you and your business back. If you invest more now, perhaps you will find yourself where you want to be a lot faster!
We'd love to hear your answers to these questions, so feel free to share them in the comments box below (Madeleine may even pop by and respond so if you have anything you'd like to know, pop it in with your comment). Finally, a big big thank-you to Madeleine for taking the time out of her busy life to answer our questions.
If you'd like to find out more about how to increase your profits in a purpose-driven and inspired way, check out our new 'Work Less, Earn More, Make a Difference' guide to a profitable lifestyle business, we'd love to assist you to make it happen!.