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Female-led startup aims to transform household cleaning with new line of zero waste products
Jackie Prince is on a mission to kick guest etiquette up a notch. And it has nothing to do with politeness.
As co-founder of Guests on Earth (guestsonearth.com) — a Toronto-based startup she launched in partnership with Liz Drayton in March — Prince is hoping people will be “good guests” to the planet by choosing to change their household cleaning habits.
“The earth was here long before us and it will be here long after us; but it’s up to us how long that will be,” said Prince, who spent the better part of the pandemic creating a new, small format cleaning system that reduces waste, uses all-natural, cruelty-free, biodegradable ingredients, and lowers emissions.
After more than a decade in New York, building her career in marketing and branding at top creative and social impact agencies, Prince returned to Toronto in 2020 with her husband and two toddlers.
The goal was to find a larger home closer to extended family but in the process, she was forced to leave her role with Meta’s Creative Shop due to cross-border work rules.
“I’ve always been very passionate about sustainability and the environment … and just being home with the kids during the pandemic, I saw how much waste we were accumulating, in particular the plastics,” said Prince. “It pushed me to take the leap and the risk to start something.”
After learning that less than 10 percent of the plastic used across the world is actually recycled, Prince uncovered a gap in what she calls the “low interest, under-the-sink category” of cleaning products and decided to fill it.
“We found everything looks quite similar. It’s just plastic and either super basic and clear, or brightly colourful as if it were made for children,” said Prince. “There was nothing that spoke to a design aesthetic for people who take time to curate their spaces, and want to have things around them that make them feel good and positive.”
Prince spent months cold-calling manufacturers, researching packaging and talking to sustainability consultants to build a brand with both environmental- and counter-worthiness.
The resulting Guests on Earth flagship products are concentrated refills for foaming hand soap and all-purpose cleaner that mix with water in smart-looking dispensers designed to be seen, not hidden.
All vessels and vials are made from aluminum — a material she calls “infinitely recyclable” — and labels are heat transfer printed, making it easier for them to break down in the recycling process compared to sticker labels.
The company launched with two signature fragrances: Desert Dawn which has top notes of citrus and mint, and Dunes at Dusk which is more of a woodsy scent. Retail boxes are made from 100 per cent recycled materials and are 100 per cent recyclable and compostable, and Prince is already working with a consultant to ensure Guests on Earth is carbon neutral in its first year of operation.
At the end of the day, she said, the goal is to create a new paradigm in home care.
“I didn’t start this brand because I like to stay home and clean up,” said Prince, who is already looking ahead to her next product, a foaming dish wash. “ … I really want to build this community of good guests who have similar values around trying to be more conscious consumers.”