Pandemic inspired entrepreneur to grow hygiene products business

Starting a business is not easy and when she started, she was operating from a backroom with only four employees.

Hygiene products
By Nonhlanhla Ntuli

During the pandemic, the World Health Organisation emphasized the importance of regularly washing hands and disinfecting surfaces. This led to an increased demand for cleaning products especially during lockdown when many shops were closed and low on stock.


According to Statistics South Africa, there were 997 liquidations of companies and close corporations between January and June 2021.  While many businesses were struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, Evodia Phahlo, saw an opportunity to grow her business, Deedee Hygiene Solutions.


The demand for her cleaning products was high during the pandemic and she saw a gap in the market to manufacture biodegradable household and industrial cleaning products.


Side hustle turned into a profitable business


Phahlo ditched her job as a business intelligence analyst in the banking sector to focus on turning her side hustle into a business that will provide jobs and keep communities clean with locally produced products.


Starting a business is not easy and when she started, she was operating from a backroom with only four employees. “Back then I used to sell my products to only my close friends and family,” she recalled. Today, her business operates from a factory in Botshabelo, Free State and her products are sold in her two shops and from the factory.


Deedee Hygiene Solutions manufactures fabric softeners, pine gels, diffusers, window cleaners, dishwashing liquids, washing powders and provides a disinfecting service.


After taking full advantage of the Covid19 pandemic, her small business now has 14-employees and can produce 2000 litres a day per product. Deedee Hygiene Solutions’ production capacity is flexible with the ability to produce a variety of products. The 32-year-old entrepreneur has a Bachelor of Science Degree that she uses to create her products from scratch.



Environmentally conscious and locally manufactured cleaning products


Having a competitive edge allows small businesses to enter the market and compete with big brands “I would like to see more South Africans using local products because this grows our local economy,” she said.


Nowadays consumers want to use products that are not harmful to the environment because for many years, harsh chemicals were used to manufacture cleaning products. Some of the harmful chemicals end up in wastewater systems and can cause serious health issues in humans, nature, and animals.


The cleaning industry still has a long way to go in reducing the negative impact their products have and the introduction of locally produced and biodegradable products is a step in the right direction.


Deedee Hygiene Solutions is proud to be supplying cleaning products to schools, healthcare institutions, day-care centres, and restaurants.


Even after the pandemic, it’s still important to clean and disinfect surfaces. Unhygienic living conditions have germs which cause a health and environmental risk. Using proudly South African cleaning products helps to prevents the spread of germs, boosts the economy, and creates jobs.


This article was first published in Free State Sun.

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Evodia Phahlo is a participant on the SAB Foundation’s Tholoana Enterprise Programme, an 18-month business accelerator powered by Fetola which supports the lasting success of businesses from across South Africa, particularly those owned by women, youth and people living with disabilities, and those in township and rural areas. Read more here.

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