A friend recently told me about Squeeky Green Clean--a fairly new local green business started by California girl, turned Philadelphian Patty Giron. I felt both inspired and compelled to alert our Griddle readers about the environmental businesswoman that I reached out to Giron right away! As a current resident of University City, Patty started the locally-operated Squeeky Green Clean, a cleaning service that's earth and health friendly.
Rated #1 on thumbtack.com’s top rated cleaning services in Philadelphia, Squeeky Green Clean strays away from commercial products. Every product Giron uses to clean counters and mop floors is biodegradable, or even handmade. Needless to say, for an affordable price, Giron can make homes cleaner and greener than the rest. Luckily, Giron was able to squeeze me in for a quick chat between cleaning jobs!
Read the One on One after the jump!
When did you start Squeeky Green Clean, what drove you to start your own business?
I started it last summer down in Ocean City, [New Jersey]. My mom lives down there now. I had been at a place for over two years in Center City, Philadelphia, but it was time to move on and grow and allow my experiences to challenge my future endeavors. I had worked for a cleaning company for a couple of years when I was in high school in South Jersey, and I also worked at a local bed and breakfast. After I let go of the place I was at for over two years, I needed some time from the city, and I needed to work, so I decided to start up a cleaning business. I knew the basics and I felt I could really be creative and funny and let loose. People appreciate that too, I think.
I mean its weird being a business person (I still think its common sense, honesty and some social research that can make you one), but this business helps me stay me.
Do you have any help, or is it mostly a one woman job?
If it is a big job I’ll ask for help, usually from my boyfriend, Andrew, or my sister, Kathy (who helped me start up, and helped me clean many vacation homes).
Is your service profitable? Affordable?
Right now Squeeky Green is for profit, but I make enough to pay my rent, bills, and to live. I work with people and their budgets, if it is something that is worth it to me, I will go as low as I can. I do believe I am particularly "cheaper" than many other cleaning companies, but competition isn't my style, Its getting that knowledge of, "Oh god, what am I putting into my home, what am I using, why do I feel like crap.” There are so many factors, but cleaning products play a huge role in how you feel. If I can make your intimate home life clean AND healthy at the same time, we have both won.
Where are most of your clients?
Fairmount, University City, Center City.
How is your cleaning service greener than the rest?
The products I usually strive for are as local as possible. There is a company, Sun and Earth that is in the King of Prussia area. I also walk, or take public transportation if I can as well.
I noticed that you make some of your products...can you explain this process?
Oh, haha. I use concoctions of baking soda and vinegar. Sometimes all it takes is something natural like that to get the worst stains and/or crud off. I also try and use oils like lavender and tee tree oil. They have magical powers of their own!
I read that you grow a relationship with your clients, how do you manage to do this?
I know people have their personal bubble that they need untouched, but like I said earlier, I try and educate them, and myself, about the environment and to do little things like clean a little "greener", use 5 minutes less of water in the shower, wash with cold or warm [water] instead of hot. I am able to connect with people. We are all so separated, so it feels good when we can connect with people on a level of knowledge, learning something together—there is something really cool about that. And hey, if I can put a smile on your face, or if I can get a phone call back from a person saying how good they felt when they came home, then that’s so awesome!
How important is living a sustainable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle for you?
Extremely. I am not sure about what happens after death, but I was born in this time, and this planet is super cool, so I want to give back what it gives to me. Plus, feeling good is all about being healthy. It’s a cycle: Do good, and you’re going to feel good.
Have you always had a green mindset?
I think so. Since I was young, I was the one in the family telling everyone to turn the water off when they brush their teeth, and tried to find better places to dispose of things. It felt right.
I take it you practice being green outside of your service?
I am starting to finally grow my own food and starting to compost my food from the kitchen, to a worm bin, to the seeds in my garden. I try and stick to recycled clothing. I reuse containers and bags. I try and walk everywhere, and I am saving up for a bike to get to those places a little faster! I mean everything in my house has been used before, even my cats are recycled! Ah that’s awful, no but I found them outside!
Any advice for those looking to start up a business, similar to yours?
Make sure it's something that is important to you that is going to make you happy. SO many people jump into work because it's work. When you can relax and take a step back and see yourself in perspective, you can start doing things because they make you happy. Plus have a little reach and use some creativity. And have fun, man!
To learn more about Patty's service, visit www.SqueekyGreenClean.com