Vanessa Bossart

I founded Sparkling Clean Agency in 2005, and a lot more goes into the story behind my company than meets the eye. My company is not only my business, but also my community, my priorities in life and also a little bit like my family.

My background is actually in Business and Marketing. I decided to spend some time in the US to do community work, as we have a large Brazilian Immigrant population here in the Bay Area. That’s how I ended up teaching ESL English to recent Brazilian immigrants here, and really became more and more involved in the community and in the lives of my students. Many of them were cleaners employed by various Bay Area Cleaning Services. They earned very little money but didn’t have the language skills and know-how to branch out on their own, so they began turning to me for advice, eventually suggesting I start my own agency to partner with them.

This was a new experience for me, but I immediately liked the idea. I have always believed in local-run businesses, and here was my opportunity to start my own. From the very beginning, I had a vision for my business. I wanted to do it the right way, and saw a chance for me to push my personal beliefs in green living. At the time, the concept was not nearly as common-place, especially not in the cleaning industry. “Clean” by definition meant using lots of bleach and harsh chemicals to remove (natural) dirt, and eco-friendly cleaning was not quite taken seriously. It was associated with using baking soda as all-purpose cleaner, and generally thought of as ineffective.

For me however, green living and cleaning went hand in hand. If I wanted a healthy lifestyle, I needed to have a healthy body and a healthy home, and incorporate the green concept into all areas of my life. I buy organic food, I use natural materials for my clothes and home, and I prevent at all cost to infect my home with toxic chemicals. Though this is especially true now that I am a mother to two young children, these principles have always been at the forefront of how I was raised and how I live my life, and I am proud that my business truly incorporates these ideas. This business to me is also a contribution to my local economy and society in a way, as we are doing our part to reduce as much as possible consumer waste and reliance on toxic products that harm our families and the environment. The cleaners we refer are all dedicated to using green and eco-friendly products, and our clients choose us because of our dedication.

In the seven years since I started this company, a lot has changed. Our referral system works very well, as it reduces the cost to the client, while empowering the cleaners to be self-employed and grow their own client list. We now have 29 teams of cleaners that we refer all over the Bay Area, serving over 350 clients on a regular schedule. As my business has grown, so has the community and the Sparking Clean Family. I’ve known many of the workers from my ESL days, and over the years, I have come to know their families as well. I am grateful to be able to support my native community and spread the importance of living a non-toxic green life. We now regularly teach free ESL English classes to every cleaner we refer, and I am happy knowing that while working very hard, they are not exposed to daily chemical toxins anymore. Even though the green concept has exploded in popularity over recent years, I feel proud knowing that our company has been committed from the start and based on principle. We truly believe and understand the green cleaning industry, and know which products are best for your home, your pets and your children. Our clients appreciate this and many have been with us from the start.

But despite the boom, there remains a lot to improve and there are a lot of things I’ve planned. Now that I am a mother, I have become more and more aware of how precious time is. Having the right help that makes life easier has been a life saver. It is something that we focus on very much when referring cleaners and we’ve been very successful in going the extra-mile. The cleaners we refer all take immense pride in their work, and show the initiative needed beyond simply cleaning your home. Whether you are career-driven professionals or young parents, every busy person knows that helping you do tasks is only half the help. The true help lies in not needing to think of every task. That’s what really reduces the stress, the worry, and saves precious time. When we refer cleaners, we always underscore to them the importance of thinking one step ahead. Being a mother also has taught me that green cleaning is not just a principle I endorse but a necessity for the health of my family. More than ever, I worry about what’s on the surface, on the ground, and in the air of my home. Every mother understands this, and I’d like to think that we do our own little part in alleviating these worries, and educating parents on how to best keep their homes healthy. This is something I am very proud of.

Looking back, I’ve really enjoyed being a local business, empowering my community and the workers we refer, serving our clients in a meaningful way, and continuing to grow our commitment to green cleaning and living.

Why is Sparkling Clean a green cleaning business?

Sparkling Clean is a green cleaning business for many reasons. The short explanation would be that green cleaning is better for your home, better for your family, better for the cleaners, and better for the environment. And while this is true, there are also many pragmatic reasons for green cleaning. We now have countless green cleaning products that, while posing no harm to the health of your family and home, are just as efficient as, or even more efficient than conventional cleaning products. In addition, Sparkling Clean is a cleaning referral agency, which means that we charge similar or even lower rates than many cleaning services, with a significantly larger portion of the fees going directly to your cleaner. To us, it simply makes the most sense to use a green cleaning service, because it is just as efficient as and not more expensive than conventional cleaning services, while offering so many benefits, both to your immediate family and their health, as well as long term to the environment.

When you have such a choice, we see no reason not to use a green cleaning service. We feel that many households may not choose a green cleaning service because they may not really see the connection between green cleaning and green living. When we think of green living, we primarily think of food, and of reducing waste. To live more greenly, we buy organic for our family, and we recycle more and try to consume less. Cleaning does not necessarily come to the forefront of this change in lifestyle. But to me, cleaning has always been a huge component of living a healthier, toxin-free life. Cleaning products contain some of the harshest chemicals and they literally take over your entire home. What you put into your body is just as important as the environment you expose your body to. It is simply the other end of the same stick. Green Cleaning also means taking care of your house – your home – in a more natural and sustainable way. It’s an important step in becoming aware of environmental health concerns and natural living.

As you can see, Sparkling Clean is really a green cleaning business because we truly believe in green cleaning and green living. As the founder, and staunch believer in an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, I have worked hard to ensure that my company reflects these principles and beliefs. Making green cleaning a priority in Green living is not just a personal commitment, but something we truly take pride in as a company. It has meant that more and more Bay Area families now truly live toxin free, from the food they eat to the homes they live in, and we feel that’s a pretty good reason to be a green cleaning business.