Inspired by the tried and tested methods our grandmothers would have used, she has created her own natural cleaning products using mineral and plant-based ingredients.
Not only are they kinder to the environment, but avoiding harsher chemicals has also had many health benefits for Nicky.
“It’s all based on old-fashioned ideas. I’ve always cleaned windows with newspaper and vinegar. People will remember their grandma cleaning with lemon or using bicarb to clear the drain. It’s evolved from there. It was trial and error until I found combinations that worked. I also learned about essential oils so I could add those in,” she explains.
Since 2010, along with her husband Jay, Nicky, who lives in Kidderminster, has been running house cleaning business Mrs Sparkle.
They’ve always offered eco options to their customers but two years ago decided to switch to only using their own natural products when cleaning homes.
After many years working as a domestic cleaner, Nicky was only too aware of the impact of synthetic products were having on her health and the environment.
Often left with problems such as dry skin and sore eyes, she noticed she never suffered from the same symptoms after cleaning with her greener products.
“I clean full-time every day. When I used synthetic chemical products all the time, I had dry skin, I was wheezing all the time, I developed bad asthma and I had sore and itchy eyes.
“On the days when I used the eco items, I felt a lot better.”
When I switched to using them full-time, all of the problems cleared up,” Nicky says.
The products proved such a hit with their cleaning clients that the couple decided to start selling them online last year.
“We launched a few items in June last year via our website and have had a wonderful nine months since. We are stocked in other online eco-conscious retailers and have since expanded our range greatly.
“Due to the success of our own products, we now offer an eco shop on our site allowing customers to get everything they need for easy and affordable green household items.”
Their biggest sellers are toilet fizzies, which are said to be a good alternative to using bleach, their zero-waste cleaning sticks, which are disolved in water, and their scented floor cleaner.
Customers loved the smell of the latter so much that Nicky has since developed a room spray and wax melt with the same fragrance.
The couple have always been keen to do their bit to help the environment and reduce plastic usage so use compostable paper and glass bottles for packaging. All of the products are vegan, organic where possible and cruelty free.
They aim to use local ingredients as much as possible to lower their carbon footprint and offer plastic-free shipping to customers.
“We’re not putting anything harmful into the environment, we’re not breathing anything in and or putting them it down the drain,” says Nicky.
“Reducing waste and chemical pollution as well as all environmental issues has always been a big part of my life so to be able to directly help with these problems is brilliant,” she adds.
Nicky estimates that by using her own natural and zero waste products she has managed to save around 20 to 30 bottles per week from being recycled or disposed of.
Mrs Sparkle recently caught the eye of retail entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis. She tweeted the Ryman Stationery chairman about their natural products during ‘Small Business Sunday (SBS)’ and was “totally surprised” when she as was one of six weekly winners to gain a retweet by Theo to his 500,000 Twitter followers.
This resulted in extra orders for their handmade, plastic-free and eco-friendly household items and many more followers on social media. “All of our own products are handmade and so it is thrilling to have support and recognition from Theo. It can be tough to raise awareness of our brand when current circumstances allow only online sales, but Theo’s backing has been an amazing boost,” says Nicky.
“My vision is that everyone who has ever won an #SBS re-tweet from me becomes part of a friendly club; like-minded individuals who can share successes and learnings. The website will also give a valuable profile to the winners chosen and I wish Mrs Sparkle’s Natural Products every success,” says Theo, who is also chairman of Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue.
Nicky says she is delighted that her products have received such a positive response. “It’s nice to have these ideas and see them come to life. It’s nice to see things develop. I really enjoy introducing these things to people and hoping that they will like them and use them.”
Nicky is offering readers a 10 per cent discount on all their products until April 30 using the discount code Star10 at www.mrssparkle.co.uk