Introducing Liston Newton client, Frankie Layton, co-founder of the Dirt Company, an Australian company that believes in making products that are better for customers and the environment. Here she shares insights about her journey to launch ‘Dirt’, a laundry detergent that is a sustainable kind of clean that wholeheartedly embraces a life full of natural, messy goodness.

Tell us a little bit about the product?

Dirt is an Australian made laundry detergent, that I believe is the most exciting, and sustainable option on the market for 13,567 reasons (not at all biased). Here are the top four.

  • It’s 100% biodegradable, jam packed with natural, powerful goodies.
  • The aluminium bottle / refill system, has reduced the amount of plastic packaging by up to 90% compared to category average.
  • The product design is more user friendly than any before (it had to be possible for a Mum, with a baby on her hip to use the detergent with one hand, while on the phone).
  • We give 50% of our profits to an organisation called the The Ocean Cleanup.

Why did you start Dirt Laundry Detergent?

Definitely not because I love washing clothes 😉

I was in the supermarket about two years ago, trying to work out which laundry detergent to buy. I couldn’t buy powder because my housemate’s sensitive skin often reacted to them – so my choices were narrowed down to about a squillion.

I spent a long time looking for an option I was happy with; one that was good for the environment, worked bloody well and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I came up short. This happened pretty much every time. I’d spend a lot of time assessing all my options, and always left with one that I felt was a compromise for one reason or another; the price, the Eco credentials, the performance etc.

I started researching the category to work out how much room for improvement existed. Turns out a fair amount, laundry detergents haven’t evolved enormously in the past few decades. They’re definitely more efficient, but they’re still hamstrung by a ‘more is more’ mentality that we have when it comes to our cleaning chemicals.

I decided, that the category wouldn’t change until our purchase preferences did, and they wouldn’t change until we had preferred alternatives, and that’s why I created Dirt.

How did you start Dirt?

I had this idea nearly two years before we launched it, so very slowly!

Working out where to start was the hardest part. I explored almost every connection I had, from friends, to friends’ parents, to old work mates. I traded my professional time, lunches, equity, and small amounts of money to bring together the things and people I needed to get the company going.

It wasn’t a hugely stressful process per say – I was still working my regular job, but I nearly gave up many times because maintaining the motivation and patience I needed to navigate this completely new territory was really tough.

For example, it took me 8 months to find the perfect pump, 12 to find the ingredients we needed, with the level of certification we wanted. I was confronted with many thousands of rejections throughout those months, it certainly would have been easier to stop.

I’m not sure I would have made it through if it weren’t for some advice I’d been given.“You’ve got to get yourself in so deep, it’ll cost you more to fail”. I kept thinking, ‘you’ve put so much time, money, effort in already – you’ve chewed off so many innocent ears, think of what’s wasted if you stop now’, and that’s how we made it through!

What is the vision for the company?

We want to make sustainable products the most popular choice.

Typically products for good, cost us in some way; their performance; their price; their availability. We believe that the only way to encourage many people to make better choices, is to make sustainable options better, and easier to purchase.

That’s why our laundry detergent is high performing, extremely easy to use and inexpensive. While our margins aren’t huge, we believe that our volumes can be if we stay true to our cause.

Eventually we would like to move beyond laundry detergents, into cleaning products through to basically any category we see has potential for a shake up!

How can we purchase your product?

Our products are available on subscription or as a one off purchase, at Starter packs including one bottle + one refill pack (65 loads) retails for $19.95.