When Cyndi Prince decided to use cloth diapers with her newborn son, she searched for an alternative to dryer sheets after reading that harmful chemicals were used in some of those. That’s when she began exploring the use of wool dryer balls.
“I purchased some online, they worked great and I started to see all the benefits that they offered, but the quality was lacking and those only lasted a few month before they started to unravel,” said Prince. “So I gave it a shot and tried to make some of my own.”
In 2010, Prince launched her company, LooHoo – she changed the name last August from what she had originally called Wooly Rounds – and has been growing ever since. LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls help separate laundry, allowing more air to circulate around the clothes, reducing dry time.
She still handles most of the company responsibilities herself, though she does employ the services of a local manufacturer to assist with the production of some of the dryer balls. Her husband also supports her in the business, delivering products or assisting in other ways.
Prince markets her product online and through local retailers listed on her website www.loo-hoo.com. She’s proud of the alternative that she’s been able to provide.
“I love that this business is really about providing a sustainable alternative that will help protect your family’s health and that helps to reduce our impact on the environment,” she said,
One of the aspects of being in business for herself that Prince enjoys most is being in control of her own destiny.
“If the business does well, it’s because you made it do well,” she said. “Your destiny’s in your own hands.”
What were your most important needs in getting started?
I attended the New Venture course offered through Women, Work and Community and that program was essential in helping learn the fundamentals of starting a business. I needed to learn to produce a solid finished product that I could confidently bring to market and that research and development took months. I put together a basic website and started looking for customers in my community.
What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
My father was a farmer, and I watched him take calculated risks a lot. Besides that, my parents helped me to believe that I could do anything, and that anything is possible. When I took a look at the jobs I had during and after college, it was a wide range of positions that took me all over the world. I was fortunate to travel a lot and live in different cultures and that has a lot to do with my courage, confidence, and being flexible and adaptable.
What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
I think there are a lot of opportunities specifically for female entrepreneurs – grants, programs to work with other businesses. The networking opportunities (especially in Maine) are amazing and wonderfully supportive.
What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
Focus on sales. Keep moving forward toward your goal despite fears. Surround yourself with an amazing team. Be sure to network.
If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
I would have built my team sooner and set up regular meetings to help with challenges and to help move the business forward.
– Wanda Curtis