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Scott Shields, CEO of Eco Nuts

After two appearances in Disney movies, what does a former pirate crew member do next? If you're M. Scott Shields, you break into the green cleaning products market with an offering like EcoNuts. Scott Shields hung up his pirate hat, long curly locks, and the role of Duncan to take on the role of President of EcoNuts, an organic, hypoallergenic laundry soap alternative.

While attending a natural products expo, Shields looked for an untapped area of green cleaning to dominate; something that didn't rely on plastics or chemicals, and that offered something unique. Shield's own sensitive skin and a few soap nuts he had at home helped spark the idea behind EcoNuts, an organic, all-natural dried fruit from the Sapindus mukorossi tree found in India and Indonesia

Going Nuts for Green Technologies

The initial idea for EcoNuts started with Shield's own allergies and sensitive skin issues. Realizing that even hypoallergenic, allergen free detergents on the market used plastic containers and chemical compounds, Scott found soap nuts, an earth friendly, naturally occurring dried fruit shell containing saponin. Shields knew a superb surfactant with promising cleaning and softening properties wasn't enough; he needed to do more. By eliminating all plastic packaging, using innovative, proprietary selection techniques, and harvesting f rom wild Soap Nut trees, EcoNuts ensured a unique place in the green cleaning product market.

Growth Through Giving Back

What is the proudest accomplishment for EcoNuts? According to Shields, it's working with charities like Walden House, a charity that assists parolees and transitioning inmates in need of help returning to society. Shields and EcoNuts were able to help Walden House and similar charities reduce the cost involved in domestic care expenses like laundry. Laundering clothes and bedding resulting in thousands of loads of laundry per month for the charity. The use of EcoNuts reduced cost by nearly 90%, f rom nearly $18,000 per month to just $1,800.

The True Challenge

Selling directly to the consumer was not difficult, especially given EcoNut's unique selling proposition of plastic-free, chemical-free laundry soap with zero ground contamination. Scott admits, determining a profitable price for direct consumer sales was not hard. The real challenge came when moving the business f rom direct sales to wholesale distribution.

Finding a profitable price, given the 30-40% discount needed by wholesalers was truly a challenge for EcoNuts. Luckily, EcoNuts' unique selling points – core company values, proprietary processes, and innovative product - helped carry Shields and his company. Even when tough economic times mean few new businesses will succeed, EcoNuts has managed to resolve pricing challenges, ramp up production, and work hard to get products available to the mass market.


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