When Gerard Windstein started his career in carpet cleaning, he quickly learned that it was actually a dirty business. He quickly became severely sensitive to the chemicals commonly used in the industry, which led him to organic-based cleaners that were better for him and his clients. Customers flocked to him, and this led Gerard down the path of offering more safe and organic products and services for the home.
Thus, Organic Living- The Home of EcoClean was born. A family-owned business for more than 30 years, Gerard now works closely with his daughter Nathalie Windstein. We wanted to get a better idea of what this family business was all about and got to ask Gerard and Nathalie a few questions:
Gerard - What got you interested in starting a business?
Gerard: I grew up in a family where my dad is an entrepreneur and I wanted to be independent, as well.
Did you learn anything from your dad or parents before starting a business?
Gerard: I learned about hard work and work ethics. My father also taught my compassion to try to be of service to people in need.
What kind of products and services to you offer?
G: We have a retail store dedicated to people who have asthma/allergies or chemical sensitivities. At Organic Living, we ask why only take care of the body and not the environment around it? The truth is they are vastly connected and treating one without the other only chips away at the problem rather than solving it. Family owned and with over 25 years experience in healthy and organic living, we are proud to provide a certified air specialist, medical grade air purifiers and the finest organic mattresses and bedding. Aimed at creating the highest standard of living, we also provide Zero V.O.C paints, sustainable flooring and non-toxic cleaning products allowing you to transform your home into the purest and safest environment possible.
We carry organic mattresses/bedding, medical grade air purification, non-toxic paints and flooring, organic personal care and home cleaners, etc. We also have a service portion of our business where we offer residential organic carpet, tile and upholstery cleaning.
What has kept your business going for 30 years?
G: What has kept our business going for the last 30 years is our ability to adapt to the needs of our customers. We listen to concerns/issues and do our best to find healthy products/solutions to help. We also provide a lot of education on existing dangers in the home and how to create a healthier place for you and your family.
Nathalie: What made you want to go into business with your dad?
Nathalie: What made me want to go into business with my father was being able to witness the people he helped and how appreciative they were to have someone understand their situation and offer healthy alternatives. I’ve seen my father help chemically sensitive people (and others) live their day to day lives in a way that makes them healthier and happier.
What's it like working with your dad?
N: Working with my dad is great! Some people are curious that we work together and wonder how we are able to get along so well. Everything we do is a collaborative effort and we are always exchanging new ideas and concepts regarding the growth of our family business. We love to watch our store evolve and to continue to research additional healthy home products that make a difference in people’s health and lives.
What's the most important lesson you've learned from your dad?
N: The most important lesson I’ve learned from my dad is to be compassionate and listen to people. If there is ever something you can do to help a person, you should. This has always been a personal mantra of my father’s and his kind heart is one of his best attributes.
What does it mean to you to be a family-owned business?
N: What is means to be a family-owned business is blood, sweat, tears, challenges, triumph and a great deal of personal satisfaction!
Where do you hope to see your company in another 30 years?
N: I hope to see stores like ours in every city and state!