Linette Isaacs – ENJO UK
Business Name and Description
ENJO UK is a direct selling business and a member of the Direct Selling Association, the trade body for the UK’s direct selling industry. ENJO Consultants teach people how to use ENJO fibres and water to clean their home instead of using harmful chemical cleaners.
How long has it been running?
ENJO UK launched in autumn 2003.
When did you first come up with the idea?
A friend of mine came back from visiting her family in Australia. She told me about these “magic” cloths that everybody was going crazy about and had become a household name there. She knew I was very house-proud but that I hated cleaning.
I remember spraying cold water, feeling a bit silly, then wiping off grease with the green kitchen glove. My stainless steel surface was sparking in an instant. No elbow grease, no scrubbing. I was instantly convinced and set about setting up ENJO here in the UK. Becoming a member of the Direct Selling Association was one of the most important decisions I made as it gave me a network of support to help build my business.
Strangely, it was 18 months later when I was expecting identical twins that I really began to appreciate the enormity of the choice that I had made and the business that I had created.
I guess you could say that the penny dropped. Not having any chemicals cleaners in my house and not having any toxic residue on my surfaces was a massive benefit to a young mum. Knowing that I was raising my family in a safe and healthy home environment made me incredibly motivated to share it will everyone on my path. It was also at that point that it really began to irritate me how chemical cleaners were being advertised and promoted. I was now a mum on a mission!
How did you put your ideas into practice?
ENJO already existed in 12 countries around the world, so there was a certain amount of global brand out there already, but with very little social media around 10 years ago, the message certainly hadn’t reached the UK yet.
So, in 2003 I started as the first ENJO Consultant in the UK. A typical start-up, I was doing the demos, packing the boxes, writing the manuals, doing all the admin and creating the promotional materials. The Direct Selling Association played a key part in this process as it gave me extra confidence that I could make a real success out of the business.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been to try and make people understand that we don’t need to use chemical cleaners to clean their homes. Most people know that chemical cleaners aren’t safe and healthy to use, but they still chose to use them every day. We are bombarded with TV adverts convincing us that we need to use chemical cleaners in order to clean hygienically. Ironically, these messages scare people into using harmful chemicals in order to protect their health!
This simply isn’t the case, but the messages are frequent and the advertising budgets are huge.
Thankfully once people see and try ENJO in their own home, they experience the benefits of a quicker and more advanced cleaning system that protects the health of their family. The beauty of selling ENJO via direct selling is that we are able to give home demonstrations so shoppers can see the results themselves.. We find that good news travels fast and people tend to trust their friend’s recommendations over advertising so one meeting can often generated several more.
On a personal level, I remember going out doing demos with my boys just being three months old. It was difficult to do this as I was breastfeeding the boys, so sometimes I had to rush back to feed them.
When was the best moment?
One of my favourite moments was when ENJO was mentioned as a great alternative to using household cleaners in the Times newspaper. . It was a great moment and so wonderful to see that journalists were writing about us and our products without us knowing about it.
It is always very special to see our UK consultants on stage receiving awards for doing an outstanding job with ENJO; to be able to support someone else to reach their goals and see their success is just the best. In January 2013 in Paris, we were awarded Distributor of the year and I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t a part of my personal goal, so that was another moment I will never forget.
And the worst?
I once did a demo for a group of nursing mums. Eight enthusiastic mums turned up with babies and toddlers. Over the next 1.5 hours chaos reigned. There was a continuous sound of screaming babies and a constant flow of mum’s feeding, changing nappies, fetching potties or chasing down runaways. I was stood in the midst of it all trying to explain and demonstrate. At one point I was in the kitchen with a baby on one arm and a kitchen glove on the other. It was crazy and I ended up forgetting about my demo and started helping with the nappy changing, making the tea etc. Amazingly, everyone bought into the concept. I found it tough ‘in the moment’ because it threw me but this experience always reminds me that connecting honestly is so much more important than a slick presentation.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give yourself?
I would advise to listen to the people around you who already know the business and learn from them. You can’t know it all from day one!
Listen and learn from others who have done it before. That was a definite benefit of being a member of the DSA as they are on hand to offer support when you need it and also drive lots of networking events which are good opportunities to speak to other people in the same industry.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Hard working, passionate and caring
Do you have any hobbies?
I have always been into sport and especially skiing. So to travel to the mountains to ski with my family and friends is just the best. I’m a social bunny so I love spending time with my friends and family with lovely food and wine. I enjoy anything outdoors, travelling and anything that keeps me fit and active.
What jobs did you have before you went into business?
I studied dental hygiene at Copenhagen University. In 1996, I moved from Denmark to the UK (English husband) and worked as a hygienist in central London for several years. I have always been very interested in interior design, so I did a course in London with the view to starting my own business. It was at this time that the ENJO opportunity presented itself and I chose ENJO.
Looking back, I can see that I was ready and searching for something that I could believe in and put my energy into.
About your Family
How many children do you have?
Twin boys, seven years old.
How do you manage childcare with running your business?
That can at times be a bit tricky, but one of the best things about direct selling is it enables you to work around family commitments. With good planning it always works out.
What are the main challenges with running your business around your family?
Work never stops and there is always a lot to do so sometimes it can be difficult to manage that. To just close the doors and not think about work all the time can sometimes be tough.
What is your favourite family activity?
We love spending time together and at weekends. It is great to sit at home and watch a family movie or in school holiday to go travelling and enjoy each other’s company with friends and family. We are a sporty family so to be outside somewhere doing things together is just the best.
Favourite Family Film
We recently saw life of Pi, which we all loved.