“Find the hole in the marketplace and fill it.”
That’s what any business expert will say is the key to success in entrepreneurship. What they don’t tell you, however, is that the more important secret to success is the greater purpose behind the business, and that is the thing that really creates impact.
“I think that drives any successful entrepreneur. There has to be an inherent value that ties in with their mission statement.”
Andrew Miller, the co-founder of Purple Frog Products, puts high importance on running his business with purpose. Their tagline, “We sell clean air and good vibes,” shows they think on a different level. It’s a distinct way of looking at everything, which comes from an obstacle filled past.
The Past and a New Beginning
Andrew’s purpose-driven lifestyle started the day he started questioning everything at 17. He was getting ready to go university, the first big step into adulthood, when he developed Hodgkin’s lymphoma, caused by a chemically ridden environment.
“We grew up near Nanticoke coal-fired plant in southern Ontario, and I found out that’s one of the largest source polluters in North America. At the time, it was the largest source of pollution.
I was involved in some other things too, landscaping and dealing with pesticides and herbicides and really ignorant to all of it.”
It was through these discoveries and the conversations he had during his treatments that made him really think about his health and what was important to him, and that sent him in a new direction.
“From that, academically, and then professionally, I really incorporated wellness, holistic living and holistic practices, and these sort of things into my routine, into my life.”
The Idea that Launched it All
Purple Frog Products embodies that holistic style, using 100% essential oils and using all plant based ingredients. It is the Canadian natural air freshening company, a healthier option than the chemical-laden air-fresheners found in any grocery store.
“What we like to say is we’re an air freshening company for people who think aromatherapy is weird and we’re an aromatherapy company for people who think regular synthetic air fresheners are gross, which we hope is most people.”
Things really took off for Andrew when he met his business partner, Irfanali.
“We’re very right brain, left brain, the two of us. And we sometimes call ourselves the Bert and Ernie. We’re very different. But extremely complementary and just really, really good friends.”
They collaborated on some projects together dabbling in the industry, until they came up with a natural health product that they thought would really work in the Canadian market. At the time, Health Canada was really restricted with the natural health products and the two faced some challenges, but that only got them more engaged.
They dived head first into the entrepreneurial world with an insect repellent pod which was safe for kids. The pod was chemical free and didn’t need to be applied to the skin.
“That was the primary focus. Doing a lot of research, and having a biological background, and understanding chemical components and how they can infiltrate our systems, our physiology, through our skin, it’s scary.
It’s really scary. It scared me. And specifically with kids growing up.”
That innovative product helped them get accepted into the District Ventures mentorship program in Calgary, a move that had them looking at their venture in very different ways, and at a much bigger, grander picture.
The air freshening space needed to be disrupted, and they would do it by offering a “true natural alternative” for air-fresheners.
While many people focus on on the chemicals we ingest from our food, not many think about the air we breath, or what’s in the air fresheners we use.
“Is it GMO? Is it organic? Is it local? Where’s it coming from? We find that very few people are asking the same sort of questions, or demanding the same kind of quality from air fresheners.”
Most of our lives are spent within enclosed spaces and some of the chemicals used in everyday air fresheners that we inhale and ingest are “exceptionally scary and toxic.”
Andrew hopes that thinking this way will make a big difference in the air freshener space, and in people’s health. That’s the thing he loves most about what they’re doing, and it’s the motivation behind the purposeful products that Purple Frog develops.
“The consumers, the other advocates, the stores, our peers, our cohorts, our mentors, they think differently. They think with a purpose. They live with a purpose. That’s what lights me up the most.”
It’s this mentality, having passion for the work and making sure that every decision is made with a thoughtful purpose that creates a strong foundation for Purple Frog Products. Their keen eye on the industry and ability to pivot has them up for success now, and for future.