In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Cyndi Prince, founder of LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls. LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls sells wool dryer balls, is based in Camden, Maine, and has been in business for over nine years. Shop dryer balls here.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Cyndi: I decided to start LooHoo because I learned through experience that wool dryer balls are super effective, but they were unfamiliar to the majority of households. I really saw a void in the market that was not being filled by this natural laundry alternative.
When I started taking my first business course just over 10 years ago, I had a completely different business in mind. But after I became pregnant, I realized that I needed a different business idea, something that I could work on while raising an infant. Prepping for the launch of the business happened during nap time and after my son went to bed.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
C: The first LooHoo prototype was absolutely disastrous. I have a creative background and I’m driven by persistence so I kept trying (for months!) to come up with the best combination of materials and the process to successfully manufacture quantities of wool dryer balls.
Even though we’ve modified a few techniques along the way, it’s a very similar method that continues to work 9 years later. Originally, we made only natural wool dryer balls and soon added colorful LooHoos to our product line.
R: How do you make your product? Yourself? A manufacturer? What’s your process like?
C: LooHoos are made by myself and by a local piece manufacturer. Essentially, we wind balls of wool then shrink them down to form a solid, durable ball using hot water.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
C: Most mornings, my son and I get dressed and head out for a morning walk. After we spend time together as a family, my husband goes to work and my son goes to school, I head upstairs to LooHoo Headquarters to start my day. We have a large 2-story studio space where I work out of, and I work on marketing, sales and shipping orders.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
C: The first place I started selling LooHoos was a local laundromat called Clean Bee. They used the product in all their service loads and were very familiar with the benefits, so it was easy for them to share their experience with their customers. They still carry LooHoos to this day!
R: Where do you sell your product now?
C: We sell LooHoos to over 300 stores nationwide.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
C: I would love to sell LooHoos to Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and other similar stores that have a sense of responsibility when it comes to how their products are made and what happens to them when customers are finished with them.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
C: Social media is a big part of our marketing and has always been an effective way to communicate with our community. We enjoy partnering with like-minded businesses for giveaways and focus our messaging on our vision of improving the health and wellness of families. We also have a weekly newsletter that we send to our community and a monthly blog post.
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with your business?
C: Some of the most frustrating challenges are dealing with the slower sales in certain seasons.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with your business?
C: Our greatest achievements have been being selected by Sara Blakely of Spanx as a Leg Up Winner, chosen by Eileen Fisher for a women-owned business grant, and the winning an SBA award for home-based business of the year.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
C: LooHoos sell well in stores who have customers that care that their products are made in the USA and to those that are open to trying sustainable products.
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
C: Start before you are ready. Say no to the good to make room for the great.
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
C: Flexibility. I love being able to shape and create my schedule each week. It really allows me to create a nice balance between work, family and taking care of myself.