Yorktown Heights, NY (PressExposure) September 05, 2007 -- Forget what you've heard about sibling rivalry, these sisters are teaming up for business success.
But they aren't partners in the traditional sense.
Ann LaGoy is the owner of Sound Earth LLC, a Fishkill-based manufacturer of all-natural cleaning products. Jann Mirchandani is the owner and designer behind Mirchandani Consulting Graphic and Web Design.
Sound Earth is a spin-off of LaGoy's first business endeavor, Home Assistance Cleaning Service. It was while cleaning the bathroom of a client's home that she had a serious reaction to chemical cleaners. "The client had cleaned the bathroom with ammonia," explains LaGoy, "and I was cleaning with bleach." The toxic fumes knocked her out of commission for several days.
It was shortly after that episode that Mirchandani gave her sister a book on all-natural cleaning.
LaGoy started with several of the recipes in the book and continued to test and refine those recipes over the next several years with the help and support of her cleaning staff and clients. In 2003, she sold HACS to focus full-time on her chemical-free cleaning-products line.
Mirchandani took a very different path to entrepreneurship. She had been working full-time in the marketing department UBS Asset Management. When UBS and Swiss Bank merged in 1998, she was laid off. "I had just found out I was pregnant," she recalls, "I took my severance and decided this was my chance to spread my wings."
She recalls training her replacement at UBS - her first project as a business consultant: her former employer becoming her first client. Now based in Yorktown Heights, Mirchandani's clients are more typically small to mid-sized businesses and start-ups.
Collaboration between the sisters was a natural progression from these early beginnings starting with casual exchanges of ideas to a more formalized business relationship. In the beginning they would share ideas on specific projects and offer feedback to one another. Over time, as Sound Earth grew, LaGoy had less time to dedicate to marketing-related projects and would turn to Mirchandani for help.
Their latest alliance was, without a doubt, their largest to date. Sound Earth products were making their way into retail outlets and needed UPC codes on the labels. LaGoy took the opportunity to redesign the labels for all her products. With nine products, five custom scents and three different sizes, over 70 separate labels were required.
The results were well worth the effort both women agree. "The response from my retailers has been terrific," says LaGoy. And working with someone she could rely on both as a designer and a sister helped to ease some of the tension during the project, her largest single investment in Sound Earth.
Mirchandani points out that the business side of their relationship is not one way. When dealing with issues relating to client servicing or business management LaGoy is a ready counselor, offering perspective from the clients' side. "It's easy to get stuck in your own way of thinking," she says "and having someone to give you a reality check is so important."
"Our great-grandmother owned her own millinery around the turn of the last century," says LaGoy, "and continued to run the business even after her marriage which was quite unusual for that time period. So I suppose we come by our entrepreneurial spirit naturally."
"We've both come a long way since the beginning," laughs Mirchandani. "She no longer pays me with babysitting."
Sound Earth cleaning products can be found at numerous retails stores throughout the region.