When Cathy Horton, Nutek’s
director of chemical solutions
founded the company in 2009
she wanted to offer a biodegradable line of wipes. Nutek’s product lineup includes Gas Off
Wipes for removing gasoline
from hands or surfaces; Grime
Off Wipes for removing brake
dust and thick grime; Green
Carpet Wipes for carpet stains;
Simply Soy lubricating wipes for
cleaning and lubricating sliding
glass door trays and other areas
that are difficult to spray; and
Grill Wipes, for cleaning barbecue grills.
“A lot of mechanic shops use blue towels that are filled
with toxic cleaning fluids and engine greases and degreases and because the towels don’t biodegrade they sit with
that toxic chemistry and fester in our landfills. We have
nontoxic cleaners for automotive shops to use on our
wipes that are not impregnated with toxic chemistry and
they biodegrade. When they biodegrade, whatever chemistry is on them can be captured in a cylinder and recycled
too. You are not putting something on a cloth on a permanent basis to fill up a landfill,” said Ms. Horton.
Emphasizing that Nutek’s wipes are sold to individu-
als through Kroger as well as mechanic shops, Ms.
Horton said, “Our products are both consumer and busi-
Gas Off wipes take off smells and stains. Hoover
bought my company last July. I had launched my products
and they had only been in the market for a year and a half.”
When it comes to launching niche wipes, Ms. Horton
said entrepreneurs need to listen to consumers and
respond. “Consumers are telling us what’s wrong with our
wipes and if we keep producing things that rip, tear and
dry out or mold and have brown mold lines in them
because we don’t have our chemistries right, we are going
to blow it for ourselves. We have to produce things that
have product integrity and that people want.”
Nutek interviewed consumers about what they wanted
from wipes. “We asked them what they wanted from the
smell, how they wanted them to work, how thick they want-
ed them on their hand, what scrubbing capability they
wanted. We did a lot of work. They are tired of little wipes
that rip. They want a wipe that covers their hand and actu-
ally works like a cloth. They aren’t interested in more
wipes that tear up and are
worthless. If you make a quali-
ty product and it works I don’t
think people will ever stand
down from buying it,” she said.
When it comes to advertis-
ing and marketing, Ms. Horton
advised companies to choose
their medium wisely. “Most
people do not watch TV and
read standard periodicals any-
more so how are they going to
choose products? They look
online, listen to their friends
and they like to have samples.
You get people talking by them
seeing and experiencing the
use themselves. We do a lot of
sampling, a lot of trade shows, a lot of giving away of
product. We go out and demonstrate the product. We
spend quite a lot of time in the streets,” she said.
In order to promote its products Nutek also uses social
networking, including Facebook and Twitter and Ms.
Horton has a blog. Still, Ms. Norton said, “There’s nothing
that substitutes for going out in the street and demoing
product. Going places and demonstrating how they work,
talking to people and showing them. We’ve put up a You
Tube video. We get more traction from face to face and old
Finally, when queried whether it is difficult to enter the
niche wipes market, Ms. Horton said, “If you have a com-
pelling story and a wonderful product that outperforms
others in the market, it’s easy. You have to have great per-
formance and a great story.”
Wine Wipes are packaged in a compact mirror to help wine
drinkers keep their teeth clean.
Bamboo for Baby’s Bum
A few years ago, when Sonja Sheasley couldn’t find a
wipe made of natural materials for her baby, she had no
idea the quest would ultimately lead to launching a company that makes bamboo-based wipes. But, after studying herbals and aromatherapy and conducting some
research, she gave birth to another baby–Bum Boosa
Bamboo Baby Wipes.
“I felt there was a need in the market for a more
environmentally friendly wipe that was made from a
bio-based material. I looked at PLAs and bamboo,”
said Ms. Sheasley.
After seeing ads for bamboo clothing and bedding
sheets and realizing how popular they were, Ms.
Sheasley began contacting manufacturers in China.