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Entrepreneurs

Growing A Clean Business

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Oct 18, 2019
Jayna Crittenden, founder and co-owner of Wilmington-based SQUEAK, stands inside her new retail space and manufacturing facility where she recently moved to expand production of her line of cleaning products. (Photo by Michael Cline Spencer)
When it comes to clean, Jayna Crittenden knows her stuff. But not just any stuff. Crittenden, founder and co-owner of Wilmington-based SQUEAK, describes her natural and organic cleaning products line as an alternative to traditional methods of cleaning homes and offices, even yoga mats.
 
Crittenden moved SQUEAK’s manufacturing operations from the small basement of her home into a 1,500-square-foot facility at the Dutch Square Industrial Park. A grand opening for the space, which includes a small retail shop, was held in September.
 
Now Crittenden aims to get SQUEAK’s products to more online retailers and store shelves.
 
Crittenden, a mother of three and health advocate, has questioned the use of chemical-based name-brand cleaning products that possibly contain toxins. The main goal of the business, she said, is to educate and inspire others to make safer choices.
 
Crittenden began making her own cleaners and started sharing her methods through a do-it-yourself video on Facebook.
 
At the time, the video was a way to teach others how to make safer cleaning products for themselves, Crittenden said. But the video, and her self-made products, began to gain traction.
 
“I started making it for a few friends who asked and would leave it at my front door just in a glass bottle – no bag – with their name,” Crittenden said. “I made one DIY video about how to make a glass cleaner and an all-purpose cleaner [and it] turned into a business that I never saw coming.”
 
Crittenden’s journey to what has now become SQUEAK began in April 2018.
 
Last fall, SQUEAK landed its first major retail order of 900 units with Earth Fare.
 
Its products are now in 19 Earth Fare stores and in other retail shops, such as Tidal Creek. The firm also sells products on its online store.
 
SQUEAK’s line of 22 cleaning products include all-purpose, glass, floor and yoga mat cleaners. To make its products, SQUEAK uses water that has been filtered through reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light and combines it with natural and organic ingredients, Crittenden said.
 
Those ingredients include essential oils, baking soda, castile soap, witch hazel, vinegar and glycerin. And the company isn’t shy about what it’s using – SQUEAK lists all ingredients used to make a single product on the front label.
 
SQUEAK is also working to get an online shop going for its products on Amazon to soon go live, she said. Crittenden also has a goal to eventually get SQUEAK products on Target.com.
 
“If we keep growing that means we’re helping people make safer choices with their cleaning products and that’s a huge win for us and a good start for [our customers],” Crittenden said.


 

Creating Healthy Chores

SQUEAK

6700 Netherlands Drive, Unit D, Wilmington

No. of employees: 3
 
Year founded: 2018
 
Top local officials: Jayna and Joel Crittenden, co-owners
 
Company description: SQUEAK manufactures and sells natural and organic cleaning products.
 
Products made locally: The company manufactures 22 cleaning products, including all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, a floor cleaner, a gentle scrub, everywhere mists and a yoga mat cleaner.
 
Product distribution: Online at getsqueakywithus.com, Tidal Creek Co-op in Wilmington, Earth Fare and coming to Amazon.com in late October.
 
What made the company decide to make its goods locally? Jayna Crittenden: “We have lived here in Wilmington for over 25 years and wouldn’t have chosen any other place to grow SQUEAK.”
 
What’s planned next? Jayna Crittenden: “We have so much planned! No exact timeline, but we will always be adding and swapping out new products. Our customers are asking for: hand soap, dish detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, essential oil blends for diffusers and laundry detergent. We will continue to tackle this list all while growing our online business, our retail presence and so much more.”
 




















































EDITOR’S NOTE: To be considered for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s MADE feature, contact [email protected].
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