Tonya Newsom discovered first hand just how toxic chemicals in cleaning products can be after working as a cleaner for 20 years. Newsom started experiencing health problems as a result of constant exposure, but found many all-natural cleaning products were too expensive. She knew there had to be a better way, and so The Hoot All Natural was born. Today the Norfolk, Virginia-based entrepreneur is continuing to grow her booming business while also facing the many complications of running a small business during a global pandemic.
Newsom’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Natural all-purpose cleaner that contains no harmful chemicals and is safe for entire family. The Hoot comes in 5 amazing scents and be used to clean bathrooms, pet’s area, kitchen , glass , cuts grease and more.
I had been cleaning houses for over 20 years and due to the harsh chemicals in cleaning products I started having some health issues; headaches, respiratory problems and peeling hands. I found that the natural cleaning products that were available were too pricey for me. Around this same time my son was taking an eco-friendly class in college and was sharing a lot of the information he learned with me. So, armed with this new information, my hopes to be able to use a natural product that was also affordable, and my desire to create generational wealth, The Hoot was born.
For me personally, my vision of success includes financial freedom, peace, joy, and the ability to give back to my community. So far I have achieved 3 out of the 4, I am still working on the financial freedom.
My biggest success to this day is taking a simple idea that I had and growing it into what it has become today. Being 57 years old, and not too familiar with technology, there was a huge learning curve that I had to get past. Things that may seem simple to many others definitely took a lot of work for me to get done, from website design to bottle labels, but I have an amazing team that really has helped a lot. Now we have reached a point where we are receiving attention from major retailers and our sales have steadily gone up.
My top challenge, like many other businesses, has been the impact the pandemic has caused on business. It has been extremely hard to get many of the supplies needed to make our product, which has caused us to miss many sales and opportunities. We have also had issues with capital. Much of this business has been bootstrapped. As far as handling the situation, I take it one day at a time, I am constantly filling out grant applications and looking for supplies.
In my personal life, I wouldn’t say I really have many role models. I do get a lot of inspiration from successful entrepreneurs that achieved a lot from not much all. Its quite a range of people I look at, from Warren Buffet to 50 Cent. I take little pieces from each of their stories to help me achieve my goals and vision for success.