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Will&Able: Good for the environment, good for the community

Change catalyst enterprise Will&Able is helping both the environment and the community by employing Kiwis with disabilities to help fill and pack its range of eco-friendly cleaning products.

Launched in 2019, the company provides people with disabilities with an opportunity to build a life for themselves, gain more independence and secure financial freedom, while also having support. General manager Craig Burston says the company’s aim is to create more than 100 jobs for people with disabilities by the end of 2022.

“We hope to become a world leader in showcasing a business model that can scale jobs for people with disabilities and pay the minimum wage. On this note, we are looking forward to growing our customer base to be able to create more work and therefore, jobs.”

Aside from helping those in its community, the brand is also dedicated to helping the environment. Its range of eco-friendly cleaning products includes hand soap, dish liquid and dish powder, multi-purpose cleaner, toilet cleaner and laundry liquid, packaged in 100 percent recycled milk bottles. The products are formulated and manufactured in New Zealand, with domestic and commercial requirements met by their team in Christchurch. 

“Everyone who hears about us loves the concept of supporting people with disabilities and choosing an environmental option.”

After appearing on Seven Sharp and gaining 20,000 new customers, the brand also caught the attention of a corporate CEO. Fast forward nearly a year and the brand has a partnership that has made the filming and production of two TVCs possible.

The two have also started an extensive recycling partnership, which will extend what was already in place. The initiative will allow customers to drop their product empties into any Aon branch, with 70 across the country.  The empties will then be shipped to sites to be cleaned, reused, and refilled by Will&Able, helping create a fully circular model for the brand’s packaging.   

Burston says the company has had a phenomenal response, however the challenge is to maintain consistent sales to generate enough work and cash flow to support their workers.

“We are looking forward to growing our customer base to be able to create more work and therefore, jobs. We’re also looking forward to having more New Zealand businesses regularly purchasing and supplying our products, extending our product range and growing off shore opportunities.

The eco cleaning range can be purchased via the brand’s e-commerce shopping channel either by individual purchase, as ‘packs’, or under a subscription model.  The range has also been available from Price Wise’s 14 nationwide retail stores from December 2020, has recently launched into Countdown stores, and will be landing in Foodstuffs stores within the first six months of 2021.

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