In Search of Freedom by Mark Chapman, CEO Part III

In Search of Freedom by Mark Chapman, CEO Part III

Between mines, trucks and engineering there was a back story going on. It turned out while we lived in Greece Mel who suffered eczema all her life, had no issues while we lived there. It was only on return to Australia did we realised she had been free from symptoms. Attempting to work out what it was that stopped her symptoms was a task. We started to experiment with making products we had used when we lived in Greece, natural moisturisers, lip balms, soap amongst many other things.

Friends and family also wanted to buy our home-made products. We listed on eBay and all of a sudden we were getting 1,000 lip balm orders and 5,000 bars of soap orders, and it felt good. 2016 we built a clean room on our property and made our own equipment to enable mass production. Producing packaging, learning about bar codes, standards, INCI names etc. Hired staff and it was off to market. Not one to shy away from hard work we put everything into Clean & Pure. Hours, money, favours you name it we gave it everything.

2018 we moved back to Mandurah, both of us had considered all the places we have lived and simply didn’t want to be anywhere else. We setup a commercial premises and set about taking over the world one lip balm at a time.

We are now distributed nationally in Australia although it turns out Australia is possibly the hardest market to get distribution in. Over 80% of our potential customers are serviced by only a couple of retailers that are very difficult to get listed in. Export wise we do much better, we won 2 State and 1 National export award during 2021/22 while finding 8 new countries to distribute to. We are again short listed for this year as finalist in the WA Export Awards so watch this space.

These days I get up in the morning and eagerly make my way to our office, our oldest son Lachlan now works full time in our facility and most days we ride our skateboards to work together. Mel manages our socials, ordering stock and transactions, all while homeschooling our kids. Our next eldest Lewis and Grace work part time when we have large orders. And our youngest Georgia also gets involved every now and then, putting lip balms in packages. I think she just likes the idea of helping out like her older siblings. We struggle with cashflow, design, product development, taxes, dealing with lost orders and distributors who don’t pay bills.

We have fabulous loyal staff who live the lifestyle and goals with us, when C&P does well so do our staff.

I can’t for a second imagine I would swap any of this for the high-flying days of being a $135m property developer living on our own private golf course on the Gold Coast. As good as that might sound, the stress it puts on you can take years away. At C&P we get to create, influence, and directly see how we help our customers and our community. We spend far more hours together as a family than anyone else I know. Work / life balance? No my work is my life and vice versa.

So, for us Clean & Pure is how we found our freedom.

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