Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Taylor.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2012 I was looking for a job to fund a move back to Chicago. I was living in my hometown in CO, after having graduated from Moody Bible Institute in spring of 2011. During my years in college in Chicago, I became involved with a church in the neighborhood of Little Village. I wanted to move back to Chicago and find a way to become involved with community development.
Although I had no experience, I decided to look for a job in the maid service industry, because it seemed like a job that could transfer well. I only wanted enough money to make the move to Chicago. I got so, so much more.
I interviewed with and was hired by the owner of a private maid service business as the company’s first employee. My new boss made me a deal: work for him for six months and he would train me to start a company. That company could then give me a livelihood in Chicago, and ultimately be the vehicle for me to do the community development by providing jobs and training, and (someday) time-freedom to be able to spend time in the neighborhood tutoring, mentoring, and teaching.
I arrived in Chicago on August 1, 2013, by myself with a moving truck of everything I owned, and the life savings of a 24 year-old. Over the course of the last nearly-four years, through the fear, pain, and long hours of starting a business, a clear vision has immerged for CLC. We are a high-end maid service company, servicing luxury high rises in the Loop and surrounding neighborhoods. Bur that is only half the picture. Our Team Members are committed to their own personal development. My commitment to them is that when it is time to move on to a better job, they will be highly desirable in their chosen career.
I want to honor the dedication it takes many of our youth to finish high school. Despite low-performing schools and unstable families and communities, they have proved themselves capable of focusing and overcoming. But for many of them, this is not enough. They lack life skills such as health and nutrition education, financial management, life planning and goal setting, and business and personal skills that open the door to better career opportunities and lives.
My vision is that CLC will create a non-profit arm that will fund a structured internship program that enables young people to think about what they want their life and legacy to be, and give them the tools to fulfill that vision.
The CLC Internship will be successful when Team Members graduate with a framework for creating positive habits that support the direction in life they choose with the financial knowledge to support themselves, the understanding of nutrition and healthy necessary to truly enjoy their lives, and the business and interpersonal skills that will make them highly desirable in their chosen career paths.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The physical effort involved both in cleaning homes and transporting supplies is enormous. For the first year and a half of the company, I transported my vacuum cleaner, spray bottles, rags, and all other supplies in a collapsible grocery cart. I pushed the cart full of supplies almost a half mile to the train every morning to go downtown to work. There are no elevators at the El stops by the buildings where I work. I had to take the cart down the stairs, and then back up the stairs, every day. The winters were especially difficult because the sidewalks in my neighborhood may not get shoveled all winter and the steps to the El are slippery. As business increased and I took on more hours, I often ended a 12-hour day of cleaning with a long walk pushing a heavy cart. Each day was an obstacle to overcome. Eventually, after many months of building relationships with the management offices in the two high-rises where I spent the most time, I overcame my fear of asking for help. I was given permission from both buildings to use a storage locker so that I could store a set of equipment at each building, thus eliminating my need to push a heavy cart full of cleaning supplies.
Additionally, I have never raised funding, taken investors, or drawn on a line of credit. I believe in building this vision the hard, slow, long-lasting way. This forces me to grow slowly, but grow intentionally and grow strong.
Chicago Loop Cleaners – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We focus on having a relationship between the client and the cleaner. Our clients value that they always know who is in their home. Each of our Team Members clean is just her own building(s), so she has the chance to get to know the door staff and management, and clean her clients’ homes exactly the way they like it. This consistency allows us to excel in our work, and gives our clients one less thing to worry about.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Getting to hear one of my Team Members talk about the Christmas presents she was able to buy for her kids amazed me. She said that this was the first year that she’d been able to really buy them gifts. To know that I got to be a part of making Christmas special for her family, by something so simple as being able to give her steady, reliable work, was incredible.
I’m regularly impressed by my Team Members’ dedication to serving their clients, going above and beyond what I or their clients ask of them, to be sure that each of their clients have excellent and beautiful experiences whenever we clean for them.
- Address: 22 W. Washington St. #1500
Chicago IL 60602
- Website: chicagoloopcleaners.com
- Phone: 312-620-2105
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: facebook.com/chicagoloopcleaners
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/chicago-loop-cleaners-chicago