Going green sometimes requires just a simple idea and a little hard work. Take, for example, Michelle Cook, who last year started Simply Green Cleaners, a house-cleaning operation that uses homemade organic products. She shared more on business, family and her eco-friendly philosophy.Name: Michelle Cook Age: 31 Day job: Founder, Simply Green Cleaners Neighborhood: Westerville Hometown: Westerville Web: simplygreencleaners.com
When I started Simply Green, I was actually looking for someone to clean my home. There were great companies, but no one that would exclusively offer organic products, no one that seemed environmentally conscious.
I make almost everything we use. I make all of my own all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner. Honestly, it's so basic: vinegar, borax, lemon juice, lots of essential oils. It's pretty much everything your grandmother would use. I do a new batch every month, and I try to match the seasons.
My personality isa little bit type-A and OCD. Almost every girl that works for me hates cleaning with me because I'm such a freak. We play a game: I'll do a room, and if you can find one thing I missed, I'll give you five bucks.
Our house is always last. My husband thinks it's ridiculous that we own a cleaning business and ours is the last to get cleaned.
So many people told me I couldn't do anything. I didn't graduate college. I was pregnant with my first kid at 17. I had a hugely failed first marriage. The best thing someone has ever said to me is, "All you can do is ask. They can only say no."
To go green is so unbelievably easy. I try not to be a freak about it. We watch our water. We try to grow as much as we can. We definitely recycle a ton. The biggest impact that our family has is that we watch where we spend our money. We choose to spend with local people, local farmers, local businesses.
In my spare time, I like renovating. Our house is actually two houses that they smushed together back in the early 1900s. We've torn down walls, repainted. I've re-tucked an old chimney that I found when I had torn down a wall.
I'm also a big foodie. I love to cook. My favorite thing to do is wake up early on Saturday mornings and hit the Worthington Market. The kids aren't too thrilled. [Laughs.]
Three things I can't live without are red wine, my husband and my contacts.
Something interesting about me is that I don't think I've ever seen the same movie twice.
Living in Westerville, I really love the convenience of it. I love the mixture of the college campus, the older residents, the new families. We can walk to Uptown, which is really fabulous. It's grown so much and changed so much in the last couple years.
What really keeps me here is family. My husband and I both grew up here. Having three kids, I have to have family within a five-mile radius. My husband says, "Don't you want to move somewhere warm?" Are you kidding? If we move anywhere, we'll have no babysitter.
Playing FavoritesFavorite movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Favorite book: Belly Laughs series by Jenny McCarthy Favorite TV show: Anything on HGTV or Food Network Favorite food: Northstar Burger Favorite drink: Tequila or herbal tea Favorite color: Green Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.