Business · Environment

From cleaning women to business owners

I like this story I read in The New York Times. Five house cleaning Mexican women decided there had to be a better way to earn a living. Due to their determination to enhance their life and their creativity they started their own Apple Eco-Friendly Cleaning cooperative.

From daily waiting on Brooklyn Street corner waiting to land couple of hours jobs cleaning houses to a weekly meeting brainstorming, reviewing their finances and progress.

Their creativity is due to advertising on recycled paper and make their own cleaning products, from ingredients like lemon juice, glycerin, borax and fruit oils.

When we say weโ€™re from a company with a business card, they treat you differently from the time you arrive, I feel very good, very happy and I have very high self-esteem. [source]


10 thoughts on “From cleaning women to business owners

  1. South American immigrant women tend to be very proactive when it comes to earning a living in the US. They take pride in being able to support their children without relying on any handouts or public services. Many times they’re limited to domestic jobs but that doesn’t stop them from working hard and wanting to capitalize on their skills.


  2. This is so cool. One of my jobs as a teenager was housecleaning (which I did again in my 20s during a financial crisis, like the other commenter said, no handouts) and it made me decide early that I did not want to be the one cleaning others houses. It lead to some creative thinking, and a new career.

    I wish we could get some Jordanian women on this track. There are two sisters I know who have created a cleaning business in Amman, they are fast, efficient, have a great attitude, and are trustworthy.


    1. Nice to hear about those two sisters. I am a big fan of small businesses.

      I applaud you for saying that you worked as a housecleaning. Not many people do that. Living in Jordan I think you know what I mean. Unfortunately, the social pressure (shame) in Jordan forces many young adults not to seek temporary jobs. Which is the biggest mistake because these small jobs what makes one a “street smart.” Learning how to deal with different type of people at a young age, facing conflicts, etc.


  3. The video wouldn’t load, I was unable to watch.
    Their story is similar to a lot in this country not only women but also men immigrant or not. This is one thing I always wish people back home can learn. It is sad that we, and am talking about Lebanese here, associate work with “3eib” especially among women.. what is shameful about earning a decent living and be self sufficient ?? it is shameful not to !
    I am very impressed by the mentality of work is work regardless..

    A funny story, In a recent visit to Beirut, people and relatives criticized me for carrying my own shopping bags from the supermarket to the house, bear in mind it was a 5min walk and I raised a few eyebrows because I dared to criticize the presence of so many foreign helpers in the majority of households where the ladies spend their day drinking coffee…!! That is sad.. So, kudos to those ladies ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I am not sure why you couldn’t watch the video. Here is the youtube link:
      I hope this one works.

      I think the shame or “3eib” culture is not just in Lebanon but in almost all the Arab countries. One more thing beside that many look down on low-wage labors many people in the Middle East have the show off mentality. It is more important how people will think of me than can I afford it. Even to the extent that carrying your own shopping bags is considered “3eib.” ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Thank you, it took 20min to load but that was well worth it. Very inspirational. Boiling apple for a fresh smell reminded me also of a wonderful apple cobbler recipe..(I am a fan of everything “appley/cinnamony”) ๐Ÿ™‚

        In a way am happy to hear that “showing off” exist in other countries beside Lebanon although in my beloved city it is pretty bad. You know this mentality stands in the way of progress and no matter how long I stay away, I go back to find them at a standstill, complaining about financial hardship yet not doing anything to fix it.

        Thank you again ๐Ÿ™‚


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