In 2018, Pure & Clean’s annual revenue was $350,000. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you say sales of your natural disinfectants have surged in the last month. What were March sales?
It was equal to [total] 2019 sales, which were more than double 2018 sales. It’s kind of an interesting feeling in this time of so many people hurting with small businesses and even large businesses. We’re a great solution for what’s going on, for protecting yourself and then also for disinfecting surfaces and areas. Scaling to that is obviously something that you can’t prepare for and we obviously weren’t ready for.
Have you hired more employees? Increased production hours?
We’ve hired more people. We’ve outsourced a big part of our business, which is our optometry and ophthalmology, vision, side of our company. That has been a huge part of our growth, adding hundreds of optometry clinics around the country. It also takes time and energy and effort to get your fulfillment moved over to another company and get them educated on how you do things and what you expect and what your customers expect. Every day was new opportunities for us, but also new difficulties in figuring out how we can take care of front-line people that are fighting this, from firefighters and emergency personnel to hospitals and clinics, to just essential businesses that need to be open to keep taking care of their customers.
Why did you start Pure & Clean in 2014?
We really started off trying to just take care of athletes and protect them from skin infections – some things that they could get that would affect them for the rest of their life. From there, we grew and developed. We had two divisions. One was focused on sports and protecting our athletes, and the other side was focused on the medical side and wound care and hospital business. We have hospital-grade disinfectants, and we have over-the-counter and Rx solutions for wound care. All kinds of things to help people heal and recover from a trauma or a post-surgical wound or infection.
Where are you seeing the demand locally for these products?
It’s from individuals just wanting to get something to protect themselves. A lot of those individuals are people who are working on the front lines of the health care systems in town. A lot of people are in long-term care facilities that are taking care of a high-risk population. Honestly, our business right now, a lot of it is from all over the nation. Large companies reaching out that need to protect their employees. We work with some of the largest hospital systems in the nation.
Have your costs or prices changed during this time of high demand?
We definitely have had a lot of increase in our costs as far as our hard costs to us with more employees, expanding our facilities and outsourcing our fulfillment center. But we haven’t increased any costs to our end users or even our distributors. That’s the last thing we want to do when people are struggling right now is to price gouge or increase our cost to them.
How have the other parts of your business changed in the past couple months?
We were supposed to be at the NCAA wrestling championships in March in Minnesota. I was supposed to go from there to Vision Expo East in New York and that was canceled. We were supposed to be at the Olympics this summer with our products. Team USA had already purchased product to be shipped out to Japan for the Olympics. Our sports line has pretty much been shut down, and our medical and consumer side is just crazy. We have to take care of our existing customers, and their medical side that are front line and we’re also working with some new ones, but we definitely can’t meet all the demand. The largest companies out there can’t come close to meeting all their demands. So, obviously a young, family-owned business like ours, we’re doing the best we can.
Trent Freeman can be reached at email@example.com.
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