Cleaning and baking—two core categories in the housewares industry. CHESS presents two women who influence world-wide audiences about these home activities. Melissa Maker and Gemma Stafford saw fresh opportunities in the emerging social media space and they built their businesses and their audiences the old-fashioned way—with a lot of hard work. Melissa will be joined on by her partner in life and business, Chad Reynolds, and Gemma with her husband, Kevin Kurtz. These contributors to IHA’s Inspired Home run lean operations that deliver powerful marketing results for their client partners.
How does a young woman who hates to clean become a cleaning advisor to thousands of followers? IHA spoke with Melissa Maker, creator of CleanMySpace.com, to learn about how she found her place in digital marketing. “We make our viewers laugh, we make boring jobs fun. We joke around — viewers know that I don’t like to clean. They know I’m honest and that I’m looking for effective tools and shortcuts.”
Toronto resident Melissa started on a conventional path, with business school followed by a stint in commercial banking. After a year of considering her own tasks and hearing complaints about household chores from her acquaintances, she recalls, “The need just kept tapping me on the shoulder.” She left her job and started a cleaning service. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, ever since I was a little girl. My parents knew it was coming,” begins Melissa. “Chad, then my boyfriend, advised me, ‘You’re 23, you have nothing to lose. Take the leap and do it now.’
So she said goodbye to job security and discussed her business plan with her uncle, who gave wise advice. He asked her, “Who’s going to do the cleaning?” She answered, “I thought I would hire that out.” But he told me, ‘You have to do every single job yourself or else you won’t understand why things don’t go right.’” She was determined. “I knew it would take 10 years, and I could afford to make that investment at that time in my life.”
She plunged in, quite literally, to learn about cleaning a bathroom and a kitchen and studied about all kinds of household tasks. Chad, a serial entrepreneur, provided strategy and critical skill sets in marketing, design and media. “He designed a great website in 2006 and we were early to YouTube. The business grew organically. Our audience increased by a factor of five during the recession,” she explains. Fast forward 10 years: she runs a successful media channel, makes TV appearances, developed a book and her first product line—of microfiber cleaning cloths—and still manages the cleaning service.
CleanMySpace.com, powered by a small crew, offers tips for everyday life at home. Melissa and Chad and a few staffers do everything themselves: the filming and editing of the videos, answering viewer questions, daily Facebook and Instagram postings. The setting for the videos is authentic: There is no studio set – she cleans her own home and makes the tasks real for her viewers, as her cat might saunter into the room while she is demonstrating a product on camera.
Melissa, tell us what you will share at CHESS about how you work with IHA member companies to promote their products.
We’ll talk about how we help marketers figure out who their audience is, how to learn what channels they use, and how to reach them. For example, some messaging is best on Instagram, other content best for Facebook. We’ll give some insights into how attendees can build their social media following and create trust with their audiences. We guide strategy and beyond that, establish relationships for brands. We develop white label products too; we can do limited edition lines that might have limited runs. An influencer’s “stamp of approval” can be more powerful than a spokesperson’s statement. Featuring products in sponsored videos leverages the influencer’s built-in audience and proven credibility. Gemma and Kevin will share about how they have worked with major brands in the baking categories for great results. They may even offer some yummy suggestions!
CHESS attendees will learn from Melissa and Gemma about why having the right influencer is essential to your brand strategy; what a successful influencer campaign could look like; and how to effectively work with influencers and The Inspired Home to build trust with your consumers so they become fans of your brand.