Person of the Week
Entrepreneur and owner Clean Bee Laundry
In addition to the regular things we do helping people get their laundry done, we spend some time out in the community. Periodically we volunteer for organizations. We call it “Worker Bee Helpful”. This is paid time for our staff. It gives us all a chance to get out and interact with the people that we ultimately serve as our customers.
1. What led you to the mission of being an entrepreneur and owner of Clean Bee Laundry?
I started a diaper service about ten years ago. A couple of years later, I realized there aren’t quite enough babies here for me to feed my own babies and make a living cleaning diapers. I wanted to stay in Maine and the way to do this was to buy an existing laundromat and turn it into a business that worked for my family and my family values.
I have a degree in English and theater. This is totally how people stay in Maine. You have to reinvent yourself. I took some business classes at Women, Work, and Community.
2. What does this mission mean to you?
This is a business where I can feed my family. This is important, but I also get to hear people’s stories and connect with people.
3. What was your best day as an entrepreneur and owner of Clean Bee Laundry?
In addition to the regular things we do helping people get their laundry done, we spend some time out in the community. Periodically we volunteer for organizations. We call it “Worker Bee Helpful”. Our staff all wear tee shirts that say, “Worker Bee”.
Four times a year we go out into the community and help out. We’ve helped at the food pantry and other places that are chosen by answering the questions: What does our staff want to do? Who do they want to be helpful to? This is paid time for our staff. It gives us all a chance to get out and interact with the people that we ultimately serve as our customers.
The worst day is when the customers yell or are angry. We put a lot of energy into this staff that we have here. We want to be able to help people. I’m always aware that this relationship doesn’t always go both ways. Those are hard days for me.
5. How did you survive your worst day?
My worst day is when I have a particularly difficult customer who will insult me to my core. I tell myself that I am glad that I don’t have to share Thanksgiving dinner with those people. I distance myself. It’s not me that they are really angry with. It’s something that happened to them in their life. Maybe their mom didn’t reach them when they were little.
It’s something else that they are angry about. It’s really not about the shirt. It’s really not about me.
I also find a place that I can be alone and I can think or not think. I will try to find a place near the water. For me, being near the water is very helpful. It’s cheaper than wine!
6. What advice do you have for someone who is looking for a mission and hasn’t found it?
I would suggest that a person do some job shadowing and see what it is like to do something. This way without making any other type of investment, you can learn what you like to do. The cost to shadow is very little. I would suggest that they read, read, read. The more you can learn about the world and the more you can learn about yourself, the more you will be able to know what you want to do.