The Gold Coast girl has turned a messy state of affairs right into a multimillion-dollar thought, with the pandemic seeing demand for her product go “nuts”.
Suzanne Horton’s sons beloved browsing and the seashore however she was consistently having to take care of sand “everywhere” in her life.
The Gold Coast mum mentioned she was ceaselessly utilizing all types of buckets and towels to attempt to preserve the sand from going all over, but the mess and a chunk of synthetic turf has now modified her life.
She launched her thought to fight the mess, known as Muk Mat, from her eating room desk 5 years in the past and has now turned it right into a enterprise that sells in extra of $2 million a 12 months.
“The mess would involve a daily vacuum of the car and usually entail having to hose the kids feet and legs down, sometimes their whole body after surfing,” she mentioned.
“The other issue is with wetsuits when taking them off, there is no good way to get out without stomping it back into ground to pull off the feet, and at the end we would get a bits of gravel and grass and sand stuck.’
Ms Horton created a DIY mat made from artificial turf that her kids, now aged 16 and 13, could scrub their feet to remove the sand.
She said she was constantly stopped by people to ask where she had gotten it from, but at the time she never imagined she would end up running her own business.
“I have a background in health science and the majority of my working life has been spent doing that. But before our youngest was starting school I decided to take a year without pay because my husband travels a lot for work and life was getting absolutely chaotic,” she defined.
“After taking that year off which was just blissful, we realised we can scale back on one wage and for me to be available for the kids and it was the best decision from a family point of view.
“Having come from full on corporate life, I loved being with kids, being able to surf, go to yoga, it was fantastic so I had no intentions of starting a business at all. At that stage it was all a fairly relaxing lifestyle.”
Yet the “incredible” curiosity from others whereas out in public together with her DIY arrange led the mum to researching if something prefer it existed in Australia.
It did not so the household tipped in $10,000 to start out Muk Mat and the primary 500 merchandise, described as a “patch of grass on the ground”, bought within the house of three weeks.
Originally, it had been marketed as a technique to preserve sand, filth and grass out of a automotive after a surf, however then it turned clear that it may additionally work for cleansing toes and footwear after working, footy, golf, driving and tenting, Ms Horton mentioned.
Little did the 48-year-old know that her enterprise could be a lifesaver for the household three years later when the pandemic hit, as her husband’s company well being enterprise for the journey trade principally shut down in an occasion.
“His world pretty much folded overnight while Muk Mat did the opposite,” she defined.
“When the Covid lockdowns hit, domestic travel and car trips and caravanning exploded and that’s when Muk Mat catapulted. We saw growth up to 400 or 500 per cent from what we doing, everything went nuts and we were having to ramp up production significantly.”
Now, the product is available in 5 totally different sizes and two colors with the charcoal gray model a request from prospects for one thing extra “neutral”.
While the caravan and tenting market at the moment are the majority of her enterprise, Ms Horton has seen her mats used for extra uncommon functions.
“A lot of people buy them for their pets as a lot love to sleep on and curl up on them – that’s an area that’s been unexpected,” she mentioned.
“Occasionally, we get someone that uses it as a golf tee off mat and it’s used a lot for outdoor showers for the base and laid flat in their boot as well, so if you’re got wet shoes and towels you pop it on the mat and it hasn’t dripped or dirtied the back of the car.”
Despite now being a $2 million enterprise, Ms Horton mentioned she remained a “one woman show”, though she has lastly executed some outsourcing.
“I don’t have any staff. I contract people for project-based roles after the stress that came with managing, up until recently, customer service and wholesale inquiries, packing and shipping and twice a day I would pick up a car full of mats, bring them home and have my teenage boys rolling and putting thank you cards with them,” she mentioned.
“So I had stacks and stacks of Muk mats and then after dinner I would print off shipping labels and pack for a couple of hours and load my car and do two trips to the post office in the morning. They were long, full on days.”
She mentioned as a small-business proprietor it is a superb line between managing the place the cash goes.
But she scored an enormous win final 12 months together with her merchandise stocked in outside journey retailer Anaconda and plans to roll out extra sizes of the mats, specifically for the caravan trade.