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What the Press is Saying
Frank Makes It Big in the Big City - on his first visit there! He's pictured in the New York Daily News. apparently, he's Born to be famous
The Chronogram, March 2009
Ann LaGoy featured in Leaders in Localism segment. Learn about 6 local individuals and businesses that are blazing the trail for a more sustainable local market.
Natural Awakenings, May 2008
Hudson Valley Manufacturer of Natural Cleaning Products Debuts at Local Whole Foods Market
Fishkill, NY April 2, 2008. -- Sound Earth, New York State’s only manufacturer of natural cleaning products and recognized as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise, is now on the shelves of the nation’s premier supermarket for natural and organic products. The White Plains, New York Whole Foods Market is the first local Whole Foods to carry the innovative cleaning line.
Scented with pure lavender, eucalyptus and lemon essences, Sound Earth infuses a sense of play to household cleaning, making it a more pleasant and safe experience. The proven effectiveness of the products, all natural ingredients, and whimsical packaging caught the attention of the Whole Foods buying team after reviewing the line.
Equally, they were impressed with the philosophy behind the brand: its emphasis on the environment and doing business close to home. 90% of Sound Earth’s business, from suppliers to customers, remains in the Tri-State area. As much as 10% of their profits are donated to local charities.
Whole Foods, a long time advocate of the local first initiative, and Sound Earth are hoping their shared commitment to local first will inspire other large and small businesses to follow suit.# # #
Sound Earth was founded by Ann LaGoy in 2003 after she experienced an acute reaction to commercial cleaning products. The line is found in the Near and Natural, Organic Connection and Whole Foods Market health food stores. Visit the company website: www.soundearth.com for further details on the entire line of all natural, cruelty free household cleansers.
If you would like more information on the product line, or to schedule an interview with Ann LaGoy, please contact Ann at 845-896-4079, or email email@example.com
Business is All In the Family: Sister Entrepreneurs Collaborate to Bring a Sense of Play to Household Cleaning
Fishkill, NY Forget what you’ve heard about sibling rivalry, these sisters are teaming up for business success. 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.
Home is where the toxins are: Everyday items can be health risk
By Dan Shapley, Poughkeepsie Journal, Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Five years ago, Ann Lagoy was cleaning a shower when she began to feel dizzy. The bleach she was using reacted with an ammonia residue from a prior cleaning to produce toxic chloromine gas. ''My lungs were burning for a few days. Now that I've read about it, I'm lucky that I didn't pass out,'' the Fishkill resident said. ''That's one of the worst gases that you can come in contact with. That really scared me.''
Lagoy, who ran Home Assistance Cleaning Service at the time, got a copy of ''The Naturally Clean Home,'' a book with recipes for natural alternatives to common cleaners. Soon she had not only stopped using off-the-shelf cleaning products in favor of vinegar and baking soda, but she soon started marketing her own line of non-toxic home cleaning products -- Sound Earth.
''I do hope that I'm doing my body a favor, and that I am able to get rid of those toxins,'' Lagoy said.
Vapors from water
Local residents have been made more aware of the potential for chemicals lingering inside homes to cause health problems in recent months, as environmental agencies test the air in two neighborhoods in East Fishkill. There, toxic vapors seeping into homes from polluted groundwater are a concern.
But many are unaware that experts are increasingly concerned about the chemicals released by common household products and furnishings.
To get accurate tests inside homes at the polluted sites in Dutchess County, the Environmental Protection Agency asked residents to remove a host of common household products that could muddy readings for the pollutants.
Paints, lacquers, stains, de-greasers, air fresheners, cleaning products and hair sprays were among items Debra Hall was asked to remove from her East Fishkill home before the EPA tested the air.
Even after those products were removed, test results showed a host of chemicals at very low levels, only one of which was associated with groundwater contamination.
The EPA installed a ventilation system to remove any toxic vapors seeping up from the ground. Hall, who uses natural cleaning products, said she's not concerned about the other substances in the air.
''I'm not going to upset myself,'' she said.
Some indoor air contaminants have been studied closely, and efforts have been made to reduce their threats. Smoking cigarettes indoors is discouraged. Lead is no longer added to paint and asbestos is no longer manufactured. Many new home buyers test the air for radon -- a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into homes and is second only to cigarettes in causing lung cancer.
Experts know dust, pet hair, bacteria and mold can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Many of the harshest hobby products, like paints, glues and solvents are no longer on the market, but some remain.
Leo Roach, a Rhinebeck resident and secretary of the Hudson Valley Railroad Society, has been working on a miniature replica of the City of Poughkeepsie train station circa 1930 for a display at the downtown station. Many of his friends use ''spray booths'' -- hoods that vacuum fumes outside before they can be inhaled. Roach uses mild acrylic paints, and simply opens all the windows in one room, even in winter.
''I try avoiding all the stuff I can. The plastic solvents are a problem, and we use a lot of plastic in the building of these models. So whenever you're using those, we make sure we have plenty of ventilation,'' he said.
Indoor air often most toxic
While steps have been taken to educate people about many indoor air contaminants, and to remove many from the market, the EPA reported in 2002 that indoor air is often more polluted than air outdoors. Levels indoors of common organic pollutants were two to five times higher than outdoors.
''U.S. environmental law has been very successful in reducing outdoor air pollution, but has paid much less attention to indoor air pollution,'' said Jonathan B. Wiener, an environmental law professor at Duke University. ''The EPA says indoor air pollution is a major health concern, but the EPA has no direct authority to protect indoor air quality, and Congress has even limited that authority.''
The health effects, if any, of the chemicals present in indoor air from household products and furniture are unknown. While few of the chemicals are known to be harmful at low concentrations, the cumulative exposure to different kinds is a concern. Children are also more likely to be affected by exposure to chemicals in their environment, because their bodies are smaller and they breathe more relative to their body weight.
Volatile organic compounds can be released from paints, air fresheners, cleansers, dry-cleaned clothes and new carpets -- to name a few.
Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment are among immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics, according to the EPA. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals, and some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.
Many of the 152,970 chemicals listed in the Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances are in use. The list is maintained by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yet many are not regulated by federal agencies and have not been tested enough to know if they are problematic at low doses over long periods of time, said Ed Olmstead, owner of Olmstead Environmental Services Inc. in Garrison. For 25 years, Olmstead has tested the air in workplaces and homes to identify and correct problems.
''The thing that can be worrisome is we're producing so many new chemicals, and we constantly substitute them into new materials,'' he said. ''Are we just waiting to find the next group of bad actors?''
Peter Iwanowicz, chief policy officer of the American Lung Association of New York, agreed.
''Our general inclination is to believe that we're not in a world where the stuff we're doing can poison us. It took a long time for people to admit that smoking indoors can be harmful,'' he said. ''We have to look at other sources.''
Baruch Fischoff, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who studies risk analysis and is president of the Society for Risk Analysis, said there are many potential risks we face in the modern world, and people must make choices in the absence of definitive information.
In this case, it's possible using off-the-counter cleaners, for example, pose no health problems. Fischoff advised considering sensitive people at home -- pregnant women and small children, and senior citizens -- and the cost of alternatives.
''If you're concerned, you might ask, 'Is there an a less toxic alternative that will be as good a cleaner as far as you can tell?' '' Fischoff said. ''You can do that and put it out of your mind.''
Bad air in the house
Signs of possible home indoor air quality problems
Be alert for these signs:
Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; Journal research
Dan Shapley can be reached at dshapley@poughkeepsiejournal. com
On the Web:
American Lung Association: www.lungusa.org
Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov/iaq
Three Cheers: To Ann Margaret LaGoy for putting the environment first in developing her line of cleaning products. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many of the pollutants in household cleaners have a wide range of effects on human health, from eye, nose and throat irritation to headaches, loss of coordination, organ damage and even cancer. LaGoy, 34, began experimenting with cleaning alternatives after an experience while she was a housekeeper. When a shower cleanser caused her lungs to burn as she was cleaning a customer's shower, she researched natural cleaning ingredients.This young Fishkill-based entrepreneur is a positive example of someone who is successful in business, and whose products benefit the environment and have a positive impact on others' health, a rarity.
Editorial from the Poughkeepsie Journal, July 12, 2004
"Woman Aims to Make Cleaning Painless" by Tammy Cilione, Poughkeepsie Journal
"Cleaning Green: Housekeeping That Doesn't Cost The Earth", by Susan Piperato; photo by Keith Ferris, Chronogram