On any given day, I’ll be the first one to say that I am truly blessed. Owning a bed & breakfast allowed me to be “home” as my four children were growing up, but it created a unique situation in that “home” was also “work.” Fortunately, each child developed their own unique personalities, & I feel being around such a wide variety of guests has introduced them to the world outside of Lubbock, Texas.
Today, I get to brag a little bit about my oldest daughter, Paige. While she has been away at college at Texas A&M University-Commerce, an entrepreneurial spirit has emerged, & it has turned out to be an unexpected boon to Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast. Paige decided she wanted to try her hand at direct sales when a friend introduced her to Norwex cleaning products.
She recently had a chance to share information about Norwex with other bed & breakfast professionals at the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association Conference & Trade Show in New Braunfels. It was her first time to step out in this type of role, & I was extremely proud of her!
A Page out of Paige’s Book
Before I tell you about Paige’s business, I want to tell you about Paige herself.
Paige was born in 1991, so she was still quite small when Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast opened in 1995. Growing up in an inn could be considered unconventional, but David & I worked really hard to keep life as normal as possible for all of our children.
When I asked her what her best memory was in relation to living her childhood in front of strangers, she said, “I guess it was growing up in a big house.” She was quick to add that she didn’t mean that statement to sound devoid of humility, but rather that she knew she was fortunate to have a home with so many interesting rooms. Paige stated that she loved being able to play hide & seek throughout the Inn with her friends & siblings.
The only drawbacks she remembers were the lack of privacy & having to share a bedroom in our living quarters. Fortunately, she turned that lack of privacy into a talent for speaking with complete strangers at the breakfast table & discovering the world through their eyes while they spent a night or two with us. It is true that she did have to share a room, but the up side was being able to host the best sleepovers & being able to choose one of the unique guest rooms to share with her friends. Looking back, she said Granny’s Attic was her favorite. “I loved how big it was, especially the bathroom with its big, claw-foot tub. I loved the slanted roof angles in that room.”
Today, she also counts the Honeymoon Suite as one of the most beautiful spaces we have to offer to guests. Again, the bathroom, with its rainfall shower heads, is a favorite. She also noted how much she loves the luxury of the sheets in that room (I’ll tell you more about our Comfy Co. sheets at another time).
Going, Going, Gone
In my opinion, she grew up way too fast. She graduated from Lubbock High School in 2010. Her love of music, particularly percussion, lead her to audition & travel the nation with the Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps for two very intense summers. Paige then moved to Commerce, Texas, where she is pursuing a degree in music education at Texas A&M-Commerce. She chose Commerce because she was looking for a school that could offer more personal interaction & because of scholarship opportunities. A little bit of home eventually followed her, as she shares a house with our middle daughter, Courtney, & three additional roommates. Our grandpuppy, Maggie, also enjoys a very spoiled existence in Paige’s place.
She currently is preparing for her senior recital in November, student teaching & then graduation next May. Paige hopes to initially teach at the elementary level & then earn a master’s degree in music therapy.
Back to Business Where Green is Good
If you are like me, you may be scratching your head because you’ve never heard of Norwex. Paige discovered the company was better known in northern states, Canada & Europe. One of the main ideas that caught her attention was the fact that Norwex was dedicated to improving the quality of life of its consumers by “radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care & cleaning.”
I guess she was paying attention to my focus at the bed & breakfast as I attempted to incorporate “greener” approaches to running my business. I would like to say it was a sheer desire to reduce my “footprint” on ecology & keep guests free from exposure to chemicals, but I also understood that it would affect my bottom line & save me money over the long haul. These practices often are as simple as suggesting guests who are staying multiple nights consider the frequency of linen changes in their rooms. The decision to sleep several nights on the same set of sheets saves water & electricity & reduces the amount of detergent & fabric softener required for laundry. From a pragmatic approach, my staff saves time in cleaning a room that doesn’t need a complete linen change, & there is less laundry to deal with on a daily basis. All of these little steps eventually trickle down to the guest by allowing me to keep rates as low as possible.
Bjorn Nicolaisen, Norwex Chairman, founded the company after thinking back on his childhood in Norway & remembering the pristine beauty of his surroundings. Over the course of time, he realized chemicals were having a negative impact on the environment & on the health of people coming in contact with more than 80,000 new chemicals. Company research has shown that indoor air pollution is one of the five highest-ranking environmental issues affecting consumer health, with chemical levels reaching up to 70 times higher than outdoor levels. Most of these chemicals have not been thoroughly tested. The Norwex solution addresses:
Health – consumers don’t breath, touch or ingest harmful chemicals
Time – products decrease cleaning time by 75% or more
Money – an average household spends $600-$800 a year on chemical cleaning products & supplies, but Norwex products can result in up to 90% savings
Environment – safe, natural ingredients protect & sustain the world in which we live.
Where the Rubber (or Microfiber Towel) Meets the Road
I was a little skeptical at first, as we’ve all heard numerous “new & improved” pitches that preach a better way to clean (I’m having a bad flashback to a ShamWow® commercial). My parental instinct kicked in, & I realized my daughter wasn’t one to chase a hair-brained idea – she’s too much like David in that aspect. I agreed to try Norwex on a limited basis. After all, cleaning at an inn is a very serious business, & it is almost a science.
My staff proved to be troopers & accepted this experiment with an open mind. We began our trial period by using the Norwex Enviro Cloths in our bathrooms. This product is comprised of fibers that are 1/200th the size of strand of human hair. They require no chemicals & work by lifting dirt, grease & grime off surfaces & into the towel. When the cloth is dry, it is used to dust, & when it is wet it is a powerhouse cleaner. Antibac micro silver in a wet cloth employs a self-purification process that guards against mold, fungi & bacterial odor within 24 hours. In between laundering, cloths are simply rinsed & allowed to air dry. We maintain the cloths by boiling them in water or washing them in Norwex detergent. I want to stress that the best feature of the cloths is NO cleaning products are needed for them to accomplish their task. I kept a very close eye on the level of cleanliness during this trial period & was pleasantly surprised.
Paloma Herrera, my Innkeeper, & Tawana Hamilton, my Assistant Innkeeper, were instant fans. Tawana is quick to point out that the introduction of Norwex products into our housekeeping routine has cut her cleaning time in half. That simple fact allows the staff to spend more time on customer service & promoting Woodrow House. Paloma finds that the customer service aspect is directly affected by Norwex. “We don’t have to be as worried about guests’ allergies & sensitivities to fragrances when we are using Norwex. Plus, it’s convenient for us – we don’t have to carry as much with us when we go from room to room.”
Paloma has been with me five years, having participated a high school hospitality program that brought her to me. I knew a good thing when I saw it & asked her to stay on when the program was completed. Her boyfriend, Junior Perez, works for David as electrician, so I guess we keep it all in the family. Together, they are raising three adorable girls, including a set of twins.
Away from the Inn, Tawana also has a full plate. She & her husband, Rodney, have five children (four boys & one girl) who range in age from 16 to a four-year-old. She also has a hospitality background.
Since the trial period ended, we’ve added many more Norwex products & use them exclusively. I could write a dissertation about the unique & helpful items Norwex has available, but I know Paige would be better suited to introducing you to a simpler, faster way to clean. Also, if you are looking for a rewarding career option, she can share information about becoming a sales consultant. Her own words illustrate her passion for this new aspect of her life:
“Before I even had the Norwex products in my hand, I knew I wanted to become a consultant. I fell in love with their products instantly & I wanted everyone to know about these products. So far, I have loved every minute of it. Norwex is my way of saving up to get a Masters in Music Therapy. I can continue this business as long as I want & it is a career that can follow me to college & back. I can set up shop in any town, as long as I get to know someone there. I believe this will be a life-long career that will help me in my future, & I am so excited to be a part of the Norwex family!”
Norwex Sales Consultant
Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast
David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Toll Free: 800-687-5236