After moving out of the city, Nicole Gibson found herself living on acreage during drought times where water restrictions were in place and septic systems were the only method of watering the grass.
Told by her husband to stop wasting water in the laundry sink and make it more user friendly for him to wash his hands while she was soaking clothes. In true entrepreneurial spirit, Nicole accepted the challenge setting up Brisbane based company Soka Australia and designed a water saving laundry soaking system.
Determined to design an innovative concept that allowed multiple items to be separately soaked in different solutions, Nicole also wanted to design a product that could be the solution to many other household problems, reducing the need for unnecessary purchases and excess household clutter.
Her concept was simple – increase the usability and functionality of the laundry sink whilst saving water, detergent, space, time and money. The innovation had to solve the problem of multi-tasking in the laundry sink, at the same time allowing access to the tap for rinsing and handwashing.
Determined to encourage people to save water and use ecofriendly cleaning solutions, Nicole is also passionate about providing daily value to her followers by sharing earth friendly stain removal ideas as well as laundry tips and hacks from using non-toxic products from around the house. Inundated with stain removal requests Nicole seeks to share easy solutions to prevent throwing clothes away.
The Soka Tub is proudly made in Australia and Nicole actively supports local business through donations and mentoring. Nicole often shares how even regular Australians can do extraordinary things simply by asking what problem are they solving and what makes them unique?
Nicole believes that many great ideas go to the grave, and that if there is still a hole in the market after numerous years, then that is a sign to fill that hole with your business idea.
Here’s our chat with Nicole.
My husband was always complaining that he could never wash his hands in the laundry sink because I was always soaking clothes in there. He said do something about it, so I accepted the challenge and designed the Soka Tub!
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
4 years after making a cardboard prototype and doing the research there was still a hole in the market. I decided to fill that hole.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
Ask lots of questions from different sources and avoid people who call themselves business coaches who have no qualifications.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Solve a problem with your business idea
- Have a unique product or business
- Know how to be creative on a $0 budget
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
- Petria from Cocorose eco
- Robyn from Busy connecting
- Ange from Eversohomely
What was the best advice that you have been given?
So many great ideas go to the grave. If there is a hole in the market, then that is a sign to fill that hole with your business idea.
What do you think your key to success has been?
How have you personally measured your success?
Increase in brand awareness, increase in followers, increase in media coverage, increase in sales, customer satisfaction.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
Depends what it is. If it is highly technical outsource it, if it is a very simple task outsource it, if it forms the basis of your constant business practice learn the skill.
How do you generate new ideas?
Always carry a pen and notebook, I even have a waterproof one in the shower! My brain is always thinking up creative ways to engage my customers and give value.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Mentoring other start ups.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Petria from Coco Rose Eco has similar values to me and her membership programs to support sustainable businesses is honestly outstanding and value for money.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
Not paying school fees and employing more staff!
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
My business mentors, closest girlfriends, family and friends.
With over 2 decades as a registered nurse and having 4 kids, Nicole shared her knowledge in a parenting book which saw Nicole provide the community with solutions to everyday problems as a parenting expert on local radio for 3 years.
Her passion for teaching continues when coaching college and club basketball where she empowers young athletes to have both personal and team growth, gaining valuable insight from both Nicole’s playing and referee experiences.