Spotlight on: Kerry Mackay
We are delighted to introduce to you our new interviewee, Kerry Mackay from ScrubbiesUK!
Why did she decide to give up the long-built career of a chemist? How did she come up with the idea of plastic-free replacement for dishwashing sponges? And what motivates her to grow her business and support various social groups at the same time?
You are only 1/2 inch away from answers to these questions, so don’t wait and scroll down right now!
Please tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
I’m Kerry, 43 and originally from Edinburgh and now living in Glyn Ceiriog North Wales with my 10 year old son, Jamie. Having built a great career as an analytical chemist working in the aerospace industry, i made the decision to leave industry 9 years ago to spend quality time with my son.
My company, ScrubbiesUK, manufactures a home-compostable alternative to the plastic sponge which are machine washable, available in over 80 designs, completely plastic-free and compostable.
How and when did you get started?
After a forced house move with my son, (the landlord was selling the property), i found myself in a rough financial position. My small sewing business was unable to cover the cost of such a big life-change and at the end of 2018 I found myself using the local food bank for the first time. Something had to change. I designed my first Scrubbie and it took 3 months to scrape together enough money to fund my first batch of materials. In Feb 2019, ScrubbiesUK was born and I haven’t looked back since. I now sell both retail and wholesale across the UK and Europe and have manufactured and shipped over 60,000 Scrubbies from my front room.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Aside from my manufacturing limitations, my biggest challenge to date has been managing cash-flow and keeping up with demand. There are few people who understand the ‘Eco’ market or realise the potential a product like Scrubbies has. My only option has been to grow the business slowly and funded entirely by myself over the past 2 years in order to prove that I have a viable business. This has been tricky as a single parent, especially when you throw in extended lockdowns and home-schooling!
What has been your most satisfying moment so far?
This has to be the moment when i won my business awards in May this year. I had zero expectation to win my Sole to Sole category at The Small Awards, an award recognising sole traders from across. I was delighted to win and then blown away when i went on to win the overall Best Small UK Business award also. Two years of working 90 hours a week were all made worthwhile in one evening and i finally made the transition from surviving single mother to being a real businesswoman.
Would you recommend entrepreneurship to others?
I would, without hesitation, recommend becoming an entrepreneur to everyone with the right drive and determination. Nothing compares to orchestrating your own success and if i can do it from my living room with zero funding then literally anyone can.
What was your motivation to become an entrepreneur?
Initially, when i left my career as a chemist, it was simply to spend quality time with my son. I had no aspirations to change the world or build a large company. When i started ScrubbiesUK though, that was driven entirely by a need to survive. I didn’t see further than being able to buy food and heat my house. Sometimes great things are born from terrible situations. They recalibrate your mindset and create a focus and drive to succeed.
What drives you, what motivates you?
As ScrubbiesUK has grown, my motivation has changed. I have always believed that when you survive a situation and pull yourself to a position of safety, you have a moral obligation to turn round and help others get to that safe place too.
Setting up my manufacturing through the prison system gives me a chance to fund qualification and rehabilitation projects for inmates and create a better future and focus post-release. My motivation is now focused on helping others and empowering people who fall on the wrong side of social bias. People struggling to get ahead or be heard. I am now in the position to create real change whilst impacting microplastics and offering an alternative to a cheap plastic product used in almost every household worldwide. There is no greater motivation for me than leaving this planet and its inhabitants with a more positive outlook for future generations.
To find out more…
And if you want to read more about other successful entrepreneurs and freelancers, go to the ‘Spotlight on’ section of Revolancer’s magazine!