Herb’n Maid is an environmentally conscious business located in Forest Park Southeast (FPSE). Their products and services are designed to be family and pet friendly. As a socially responsible business, they are committed to paying their employees a fair wage, in many cases, employees are making up to twice the market average. Owner and operator Richelle White states,” Paying our workers a fair wage is very important to us and our clients. Our clients are willing to pay a little more because they know the people that are working in their home are being treated fairly and are paid well. We are a lifestyle company, not just a cleaning company.”
The Herb’n Maid staff is made up almost entirely of undergraduate and graduate students as well as recent college graduates who are working part-time and trying to get their footing in their chosen fields One thing that is really unique to their approach to staff is trying to help try to help employees find something that they can really connect to this work. Richelle states,”…so if you’re obtaining a degree in education, then we do eco-education programming. Let’s say you are studying social work, well you’re nurturing people when you go to work for Herb’n Maid everyday. We had an interior design student a few years ago who could learn how surfaces and finishes wear.”
WUMCRC sat down to chat with Richelle about her growing Herb’n Maid business.
Richelle White: The really neat thing about my job is I’m out meeting people all the time, in their homes I meet with them for an hour, sometimes longer if they have a lot of questions, before I sign them on as a client. So it just happened that I came to Forest Park Southeast three times really close together for interviews with prospective clients One of those people was Guy Slay. Nobody can get you excited about this place like Guy. So he gave me more history and vision about FPSE since he works, lives and develops here. So I brought my partner Larbi here and I said “Look at this! This is a neighborhood that’s recycling itself! It’s where we need to be. Having grown up in Memphis which is more of an Urban environment, the diversity in the neighborhood was really home to me. I had been living in the county where everyone looked like me, drove a car like me. So this was more they way I grew up and felt like home to me. Being able to buy a house and rehab and do it “green” and get involved in the community and get to know our neighbors was very important.”
WUMCRC: How is Herb’n Maid unique to other businesses in Forest Park Southeast?
RW: “We don’t have a store front, but we try to maintain a presence in the neighborhood through our environment here. If we can inspire and educate our neighbors that’s really what’s important for us. We’ve brought two green events to the neighborhood so far. Once last year and once this year. We also worked with Grove Fest to make it greener. We view our house as a way to educate our neighbors as well. We’ve just gotten through our second season of our organic garden, so we feel more confident on sharing information on how to garden organically and show people how to do a container garden in their yard. We also began a landscape project in the front yard which will finish in the Spring during planting season. It is designed to be a community space in a way. It will be all xeriscaped using native, drought resistant plants so after the plants are established they will require minimal care except for pruning. The plants are being selected to attract birds and butterflies. So that will also be a good teaching space for our neighbors as well.”
RW: “We offer eco-education. It’s a really big part of what we do. It’s what makes this fulfilling for us. Meeting and teaching people are big parts of our job. I also do workshops. I’ve spoken to the American Lung Association about asthma, and I’ve talked with a group of interior designers about improving indoor air quality through selection of finishes and materials. I do green parenting workshops as well with getting your kids involved in age appropriate chores. If there’s an opportunity to meet with business employees in the Grove that’s something we’d be happy to offer in the neighborhood.”