In my continued quest to find the easiest, safest cleaning products that also look good in my home, I came across Murchison-Hume via their beautiful Instagram feed… and then noticed that the brand is carried at one of my favorite shops, which really does seem to carry only the best available options.
Murchison-Hume was created by a former fashion editor and mother, Max Kater, when her son developed allergic sensitivities to common household cleaning products. She made it her mission to create products that would be safe, easy to use, beautiful and effective.
I’ve been using these product for the past month and it is safe to say that Max has achieved her mission – I particularly love the Cook’s Hand Soap and the Boy’s Bathroom Cleaner. Read on for an interview with Max about her experiences, her advice, and what gets her through the day.
HOW DOES YOUR BACKGROUND IN FASHION IMPACT MURCHISON-HUME?
I guess the biggest thing is the way we approach the presentation of our line. I never understood why house-cleaning products had to look so tacky. They are tools to care for your biggest investment, after all. Our take on it is that cleaning products don’t have to look or smell ugly to work well!
I LOVE THAT YOU WERE INSPIRED TO START THE BUSINESS IN ORDER TO PROTECT YOUR SON FROM HIS ALLERGIES – DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE A BUSINESS FROM THE BEGINNING? HOW DID YOU EVEN EVEN BEGIN TO START TO TAKE ON THIS INDUSTRY?
Seriously, I had no idea. I never set out to start a business. I was just a Mother, desperate for something to clean the house that was safe for my baby. Of course I wanted them to look nice, so I found some brown bottles and nice triggers that resembled like my vintage apothecary collection. And of course, I wanted them to smell lovely and not like a traditional cleaning product. I used cosmetic grade fragrances because that’s all I could find. I slapped a label on them because a friend opened a shop and really wanted them. We sold out in a day and it just sort of snowballed from there.
WERE YOU AWARE OF THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE CONSUMER PRODUCTS INDUSTRY BEFORE YOU STARTED?
Again, I no idea. The more I researched household chemicals, the more anxious I became about the chemicals I was bringing into our home. We’re not scaremongers, but we all need to re-think what’s under the sink, let’s put it that way. You just don’t need things like ammonia in your life (or in the house).
HOW DID YOU EDUCATE YOURSELF ON INGREDIENTS?
The Internet (and reliable chemistry and science journals). There is a lot of misleading information out there. It’s a tricky to know whom to trust on either side. Luckily, my husband comes from a medical family and I can always turn to my in-laws for the real truth about safety and science.
NATURAL PRODUCTS NECESSITATE A CHANGE IN HABITS FOR MANY CONSUMERS – HOW DO YOU INSPIRE THIS CHANGE? HOW DO YOU EDUCATE YOUR CUSTOMER?
I think it’s important for people to know that making these changes is not a big deal. We’re not asking anyone to give up driving and knit their own shoes! It’s just about being more mindful about the products they buy everyday. Luckily, now there is a healthy version of almost everything, so change is easy.
WHAT GETS YOU THROUGH THE DAY?
Coffee in the morning, Pinot in the evening and Adidas Adissage slides in-between.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU KNEW THEN WHAT YOU KNOW NOW?
I would have named my company Facebook or Apple! Something easier to pronounce, anyway. People do struggle a bit with the name Mur-chi-son-Hume. But once they learn it, they never forget. I named it for my Father-in-Law, Dr. Roderick Murchison-Hume Kater, because he is the embodiment of our company’s core values: Practicality, Sustainability, Durability and Style.
HOW HAS LAUNCHING YOUR COMPANY CHANGED YOUR PERSONAL CONSUMPTION HABITS?
I’m not perfect. I’ll still hit the drive-through with the boys occasionally or buy another Nerf gun, but we try to limit those things rather than making them the norm.
ANY SECRET CLEANING TIPS OR COMBINATIONS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Oh yes. I have two: Diligence and Accessibility.
1. Clean as you go. A little spritz each day means your house will never get out of control.
2. Don’t hide it. Keep your cleaning products out where you can see them (or at least keep one under each sink in the house). If you have to go to another room to fetch them, you’ll never do it. Make it easy for yourself to stay clean and you will!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER MAKERS/ENTREPRENEURS?
Be prepared to sacrifice everything except your family. There will be almost no time for a social life when you have a start-up.
WHAT IS NEXT?
We are launching bigger into Personal Care this year. Watch this space!
Images c/o Murchison-Hume
Disclosure: I was given samples to test. I only recommend products that I believe in and continue to use.