Tony skinner 00:02
Hi, and welcome to the podcast on www.podcastmybusiness.com.au. And today we have Naomi Williams from www.kleenfreek.com.au. I love that name, I should have gone for podcast freak.
Naomi Williams 00:17
It is a bit of fun Tony, isn’t it?
Tony skinner 00:20
I love it. Yeah, no, it’s good. It’s good. And you’re called clean freek, not because you guys are cleaners but because you supply cleaning services or cleaning supplies and what have you. And I used to work in five star hotels. So I know for five star hotels. So how did that go in the middle of March?
Naomi Williams 00:42
And yeah, so basically, our business pre COVID was 100%, looking after the, five star hotel market. Tony, just to be clear for the, for the cleaners for your audience, not actually doing cleaning services, actually a different brand, called technology for hotels. And so we would put the high tech call stuff in hotels. And when COVID hit, we looked to what the hotels were going to need in the future. And basically sourced a lot of products and solutions. And then we thought, you know what, these are gonna help an awful lot more people than just the four and five star hotel market. So the new brand called clean freak was born.
Tony skinner 01:25
There you go. And you look, you know, it’s quite funny, I launched podcast my business in March as well. And I’d already started off thinking, you know, what, podcasts outside of the studio? easier and simpler and cheaper for businesses rather than in the studio? So I started off looking at it that way. And then COVID came along and was going, you know, what podcasting outside the studio is what we want. So
Naomi Williams 02:15
Yeah, absolutely. And I think anyone is in business knows forgetting curve, he cannot sit still, you’ve always got to be looking ahead and trying to anticipate the needs of people in the future. And fortunately, those skills, which we already had have been certainly bought to to great use lately.
Tony skinner 02:33
Yeah, absolutely. And you’re getting a lot of attention with a product called the COVID. Up.
Naomi Williams 02:39
Tony skinner 02:41
Hmm. So tell us a little bit about that.
Naomi Williams 02:43
So it said covid Cop that by the media. And we, we wish we thought of that name, actually. But basically, it’s a social way to do social distancing, that actually works. So that’s pretty unique. I think we all know, the markers on the floor that don’t work and signs that don’t work. And this one is, is a smart sign. We do love our tick. And it is actually green and welcoming. And just as just because it says a very audible thing, just two little characters that you standard social distancing icons, and when someone gets too close, it changes red, and it flashes on and off. And most people notice and most people go back to a safe place, which is fantastic for staff, for customers, for everybody. Because social distancing is very challenging and a little bit awkward, to be honest.
Tony skinner 03:34
Well, I could imagine in America, if they had something called COVID cop, it would go back away. Back away, back away.
Naomi Williams 03:44
Well, with the device, people want me to put it in a T shirt for them. And one person did say could you add the taser to plays? Because I’m sick and tired of people getting too close? So maybe that’s you know, COVID cop two?
Tony skinner 03:55
It could very well be for the American market. Yes. Because they are a little bit weird over there. But anyway, won’t get into that. So how does it work? Is it like infrared ray, or,
Naomi Williams 04:10
um, it’s actually pretty high tech. It’s pretty cool. It’s got LIDAR without getting too technical. It’s what measures distances in self driving cars. So we’re pretty all of us have often seen or certainly heard of that. So it’s detecting the distance of scanning ahead, basically, and it’s very accurate. So it knows the one and a half meters. And then if there’s something in the way it starts to flash on and off. It’s also got a sound alert. And it was actually interesting, we, to be honest, approach government about it, and much as they might directly endorse it. The minister fair got to get the wrong term but basically for disability and inclusiveness was incredibly impressed that this was a product that worked for vision impaired people and what have you. So yeah, and we’re obviously the sound is optional, but certainly our clients who have got an older demographic generally Finding that’s incredibly useful.
Tony skinner 05:03
Right? And what I like about it is you can order it direct from the website. So it’s nice and easy.
Naomi Williams 05:09
Yeah, well, we, you know, we saw it just thought, brilliant. And we’ve imported it. It’s actually made in the Netherlands. And so we’ve imported them. It’s we’ve always done importing. So we actually know how to do that stuff. So we were able to pull them in and get them into our Sydney warehouse. So yeah.
Tony skinner 05:27
What do you like this mahogany gold one? Wow, that’s great. That’s special.
Naomi Williams 05:32
Yes, they do. They look really nice. And they’re quite small. So they’re because they’re elite, people can see them, but they’re not disruptive to existing fit outs and layouts and things, they can go anywhere, they can actually ever work off a, you know, battery that you might power a mobile phone off. So if you can’t get power to it, for some reason, it doesn’t matter. It will still work.
Tony skinner 05:52
Fantastic. Okay. So how did you find out about the cover crop? Because what I’m interested in is that Yeah, you and I’m sure there’s going to be a new wanqi word besides pivoted that you pivoted airways? Yes, there will be one you watch. You pivoted pretty rapidly. So how do you cope with having a good successful business having pretty much no business?
Naomi Williams 06:21
Um, I think because we’ve worked in different environments, we’ve survived the GFC, we used to do tires for the mining industry as an example. We’ve always done different things and looked ahead to see where opportunities lie, we’ve been very much involved in the hotel space for sort of 10 plus years. But even then, it’s always changing. So we’re always looking ahead. And initially, we saw this product, and we’re thinking for hotel reception desks. And then we very quickly went, well, that’s a pretty narrow vision isn’t that and expanded our vision. And then, likewise, is another completely different product, but to help with cleaning. And again, you know, cleaning is king at the moment, and we saw a way to do that. And, again, recognize that not just hotels need this technology. And this support, because this is long haul, we’re not talking, you know, we’re out of this in two weeks.
Tony skinner 07:16
Yeah, that’s exactly right. You need a good long term solution. And what am i true? You know, I’ve had I’ve been lucky or not lucky. No, let me rephrase it, you haven’t been lucky either. We’ve both been smart. We’ve both taken advantage of what we can get our grubby little fingers on and push the boat out. So what I like about it is that it’s made people more hygienic. Nothing wrong with that.
Naomi Williams 07:44
And look, look generally COVID. I mean, we’ve seen the flu season be far less severe than anticipated. And I don’t know that everybody knows this. But much as the devastating effect of COVID in aged care has been very sad. Overall deaths are down because they’re not getting exposed to other diseases. Now, obviously, we’d rather they didn’t get COVID as well. And I think that as a, world will be far more just germ aware and aware that sometimes simple things like you know, washing your hands, has a very, very big impact on keeping people safe and healthy.
Tony skinner 08:20
Yeah, that’s so true. I always use, I’ve always carried a hand sanitizer in my car. So if I pull up somewhere to have lunch, you know, restaurants have always been like, in the past, providing nothing to clean your hands, I was always cleaning my hands. So it’s a very important thing. So, but you’ve had lots of experience in this realm in this market. So what sort of tips would you have for businesses that can they can simply do the steak homemade friend.
Naomi Williams 08:49
And I think one of the big things is they need to assure their customers that they’re a safe place to come to. And people need to see something visible as a sort of sign saying we’ve implemented new regimes, and we’ve done this is kind of whatever, and probably doesn’t get read anyway. So I think they need to visibly do things to make sure that their clients understand and the stuff that we’re taking this seriously. And, you know, we are we’re on the front foot. And being proactive in managing this, whilst still building our business. And that’s where there’s a bit of a challenge.
So, specifically, why I like the sign is it’s respectful for everybody. It allows for social distancing. But unlike sneeze guards, it’s a two way protection. sneeze guards only protect staff. But you can still talk you can actually have a relationship with someone and have a chat now i’m not talking, you know, let’s get married. But what did your kids do on the weekend while your coffee is being made is a pretty good discussion to be having these days and it helps businesses rebuild overseas, who are further in some countries along this COVID journey, though Taking out the snakes guards and putting those in because they see it as sustainable for their business, and a great visual display. And then it’s also really important that people think that this is long term, their headspace needs to change because it is long term. So temporary solutions, we’ve gone past the gaffa tape on the floor, that’s just not okay. And without sort of getting too detailed, like we’ve got, we’ve got another product that’s electrostatic sprayer And long story short, it allows you to disinfect large areas quickly with very little chemical. And again, that’s sustainable, where’s a lot of businesses now are doing an awful lot of physical cleaning, and alcohol wipes, the law and all sorts of things, you can’t do that forever. And we’ll certainly be doing this for months, if not longer.
Tony skinner 10:51
Well, yeah, I started off thinking I will be out of this by now. But I think probably, by this time, next year, we’ll be less concerned about it, I’m not saying that I’ll be gone by then or anything will be less concerned, we have to live with it. And what I like about again, you’ve really nailed it on your site, we have all had to react, now it’s time to evolve. So we have to evolve. And we have to accept that in business, there’s always an element of risk, of course. But every business can reduce that risk. By buying this or other tools.
Naomi Williams 11:31
Yeah, and I think risk is the big thing. And it’s the degree of risk, and what’s acceptable. So there are fines nobody wants to find, but there’s other risk as well. And there’s the PR risk, there’s the losing loyal customers risk. And there’s also a huge opportunity, because it’s almost like a reset button. So people aren’t necessarily going back to where they used to go back to. So, you know, when people from your competition, if you were showing to be you know that one step ahead. And there’s plenty of other things we can do a lot of quite a few of the companies that we support, that are doing this specialized cleaning service that you know, they’re doing it themselves, we don’t do it, it’s the whole idea is that it allows the business full control. They’re videoing, like we’ve got gyms who’ve got videos playing, saying, you know, while you weren’t looking, I went and sprayed this all over my gym, so you know, you’re safe. And so that’s a really positive message to say to people, I’m actually doing something really active to keep you safe. And and, you know, to be honest, kept themselves in business as well, let’s, you know, let’s face it, most businesses won’t cope another deal with another shutdown terribly well possibly go completely unknown.
Tony skinner 12:42
Well, you know, our poor friends in Melbourne, you know, it’s like, possibly another month, that businesses aren’t going to be open at all. So how do businesses stay closed? and survive being closed for six months? I don’t know how they do. I don’t know how what they’re expecting. It’s one of those difficult things, but
Naomi Williams 13:05
it is I think, I think it’s important. I think there’s a lot of sympathy for Victoria, there should be so it’s quite devastating. But it was only a, you know, a few little things that went wrong that literally shut down the state and we deal with cross Australia and I find it really interesting, in particular Queensland, they are really proactive. And I think because they can see what could happen. They want the tourists back. They want people back in from New South Wales and Victoria, but they are literally built some braces with all the measures they’re putting in place to make sure they can do that and stay safe and stay operating.
Tony skinner 13:47
Yeah, I think that’s a controversial thing. There’s an election. So I think that
Naomi Williams 13:52
I’ve talked to business owners, I don’t I don’t talk to politicians.
Tony skinner 13:56
Yeah, exactly. And they’re thinking Yes, I say, look, again, the element of risk and you don’t risk in society, but I think society has to accept, and probably is a bit more accepting all there is risk in life and whatever. So how much risk do we want to bear is a good conversation ahead. Cool. All right. Anything else you’d like to add?
Naomi Williams 14:18
Um, look, no, I think, you know, your your audience are all business owners. And I think, you know, hats off to anyone who owns their own business and is still, you know, hanging in there. For a lot of people. It’s been incredibly challenging. Because we’re small business owners claim freak is about helping small business owners. That’s, that’s our sole aim. And, you know, it’s a pleasure for us working with so many different businesses in so many different industries and hearing their experiences. It’s quite phenomenal what people are doing. I don’t think their customers know how hard they’re all working behind the scenes. And I think you know, it’s, it’s a phenomenal time for us all. And, yeah, wish everyone Good luck and if we can be of support thought we would be really privileged to to help anyone out.
Tony skinner 15:05
Yeah, absolutely. And again, it just shows the value of causing and looking to the future looking for new things, new ideas, new ways of doing things instead of standing.
Naomi Williams 15:15
Tony skinner 15:18
Right. Thanks very much for your time.
Naomi Williams 15:19
Thank you, Tony. Much, much appreciated.
Tony skinner 15:23
And I’ll mention www.kleenfreek.com.au is win free.
Naomi Williams 15:30