Madison and Jenessa Olson are repurposing their resources to make a meaningful impact amid COVID-19. The co-founders of Southwestern Ontario startup STMNT are tackling disrupted times with the same resourceful mentality that gained them early traction and success in the fashion space, as they establish their place in the sanitation game.
Recovery within our innovation economy won’t be as easy as simply re-entering common spaces. The ‘new normal’ of our business landscape is a delicate balance between caution, productivity and safety; as we consider what it looks like to reintegrate, gather and do business, effective cleaning solutions will be instrumental to diminishing lingering fear from this pandemic.
The co-founders’ first venture, STMNT, gained early traction by helping retailers breathe new life into their existing inventory with their technology-enabled clothing rental platform. Reliant on customers attending in-person occasions, COVID-19 shocked their business with an almost immediate downturn period.
Without a moment to forecast their business’ future, the duo got right to work on understanding how they might become part of a solution. “STMNT wasn’t a business that made sense in this economy,” reflects Jenessa.
Conversations and ideas in collaboration with fellow entrepreneurs including Diana House, presented the sisters with a new outlook on their place in the business ecosystem, and fresh eyes on an industry revitalized in the wake of a pandemic.
“Some of the machines we were using to sanitize clothes for STMNT were actually used to kill SARS – a very similar virus – when administered correctly. We noticed there was a way to utilize assets we already had, and make them applicable for the current economy.”
With reducing the spread of the virus top of mind, the Olsons started ClearZone, an air and surface purification business that leverages innovative ozone (O3) technology to kill bacteria and viruses.
“We thought, ‘Let’s use the tools that are already in our hands to serve the community in a new way,'” said Madison. Channelling their experience using ozone technology and passion to pivot towards a timely solution with a big impact, their residential and commercial cleaning services company was born.
The Olsons also noted that Ozone could directly benefit frontline workers, whose garments need frequent cleaning to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses. With many collaborative efforts underway to create new solutions for personal protective equipment (PPE), there’s an opportunity for this service to hook right into the pandemic response framework coming together in Southwestern Ontario.
Moving forward with ClearZone aligns perfectly with their business values. The co-founders note that STMNT was created out of a mission to tackle social inequities brought on by the fashion industry, as well as significant environmental impacts. “The environment is one of our big pillars at STMNT. Ozone is a naturally-occurring compound, meaning that no chemicals are used in the ozonation process,” says Jenessa.
Since their launch just a matter of weeks ago, ClearZone is operational and servicing businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Find them at https://clearzone.ca/ to learn more about the research behind ozone purification, its applications and bookings.
Southwestern Ontario’s innovation economy is creating new solutions amid COVID-19. Find out how innovators, entrepreneurs and industry are helping our community recover from crisis: https://techalliance.ca/covid19/