While on maternity leave from her job in the health sector, Jane Anderson felt inspired to reduce the chemicals in her home, live a more simple life, be more conscious of the planet and its resources, and prioritise the health of her family. Figgy & Co. was born with the vision to help you make your home clean and fresh, without the burden of unsafe or untested chemicals. Their thoughtful formulations bring together ingredients that are easily recognisable, non toxic and effective – better for your health and for the environment. Here, Jane, co-founder of Figgy & Co., talks to The natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind the business, their biggest breakthrough, and their hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: what inspired you to set up your business?
In a nutshell: to have less chemicals in my life, to live more simply and prioritise mine and my family’s health, and to live lightly and not overuse the planet’s resources. Figgy & Co. came to life while I was on maternity leave from my job as a paramedic. I have always enjoyed cleaning and actually always had jobs that had an element of cleaning in them – like working in restaurants and as a paramedic. I found I was becoming sensitive and reactive to both personal care products and home products. The combination of new chemicals, sensitivity, nesting and doing more cleaning than ever (hello motherhood), presented a problem and Figgy & Co. was the answer. I also am inspired by the belief that mothers and women lead change and pass down wisdom to the next generation (hello Ces Lashley). When I became a mum, it really clarified what I wanted to teach my kids, knowing it would be what they would teach their kids – I wanted this legacy for my family.
The launch: how did you start out in the beginning?
Figgy & Co. started as hobby business. I was making my own home cleaners in an effort to both lessen my chemical burden and also to keep track of what chemicals I was using in my home. I found sourcing reliable recipes to make home cleaners and the ingredients they called for was taking up too much bandwidth as a busy mum with a wee bub. Going to several shops to pick up supplies was about the last straw with a grumpy 18-month-old while pregnant with a second. I was committed but I also wanted it to be easy and convenient. I thought there must be other mums out there like me. I mused over this for a while then over a cup of tea, asked a paramedic work friend who was also on maternity leave if she would like to go into business with me. All your pared-back home cleaning needs in one place and shipped to your door.
The innovation: what was the biggest breakthrough with your business?
Mastering castile soap. Right from the beginning we knew we would use soap, not detergent, as the primary cleaning agent in our range of cleaners. Soap is the original cleaner, over 2500 years old. It is considered non-hazardous in the chemical world and also a better option for our waterways compared to detergent. Soap is recognisable on a product label to the consumer and is safe, natural, and effective. Castile soap was also all made overseas, expensive and formulated for general use. So we decided to make our own in-house, from scratch. We found a great supplier of fair-traded coconut oil, where the oil can be traced right back to the pacific island it is grown. Then I set about teaching myself how to make traditional castile soap and worked and reworked the formula till I created a soap that retained its gentleness to the user while also being a very effective and concentrated cleaner. It took months to get the process and recipe just right, but I am very pleased with the result.
Yin & Yang: how do you balance work and family?
Being a business owner has allowed me to drop off and pick up the kids from school every day and also have breakfast and dinner together at the table. Having this is special; being able to set my own hours is fantastic. To work from home when the kids are sick or take a day off to go along for school sport makes being a working mum easier. But it’s not always easy – I tend to deep dive into work and can be tied up in problem solving, even when home, because as a small business owner – if there is problem then I have to fix it. To prove my point, I have just as many business photos on my camera roll as I do of my kids. Figgy & Co. is another baby!