Gill Nicholson, Distributor of the year 2017 Platinum Premier Distributor 10 ISSUE 1, 2018 After a roller-coaster year in 2017, Kleeneze came together ready to start a new chapter, stronger together. In five years’ time, the business will mark it’s 100th anniversary – an incredible milestone. We’re rooted in history and throughout many changes in the business, Kleeneze has continued to create incredible lifestyles for people from all walks of life. One of the business’s biggest supporters, someone who embodies the slogan ‘stronger together’ and who has experienced over 5 decades of Kleeneze success, is our latest Distributor of the Year. It is, of course, the lovely Gill Nicholson, who took to the stage last year to tell us her story. My story is slightly different from most. Our family has been involved in Kleeneze for over half a century – 56 years. It feels like a blink of an eye. You can’t imagine how many changes I’ve seen in that time. Change for all of us is scary, but it’s exciting. If Kleeneze hadn’t changed in all these years, you’d still be knocking on doors like I did, selling your products from a suitcase. The joy of Kleeneze is just that – the ability to change. My dad started Kleeneze in 1961. Like many of us do, he started part time to help buy the kids new shoes, help with the mortgage and to afford food for his growing family. Part time agents, as they were known back then, didn’t get a suitcase to sell out of. What he got was an A4 sheet of paper, folded in half with products on them. After about 18 months, he left Kleeneze.
GILL NICHOLSON Distributor of the year 2017 After he left, he was approached by the area manager to go out for lunch. He found out then that he was one of the top five salesman. He never knew. His manager never told him and, as a part-time agent, he never qualified for the monthly newsletter. Today, thank goodness, we’re recognised at every step of our Kleeneze journey. Dad returned to Kleeneze and after three years decided to leave the fire service and become a full-time door-to-door salesman, losing his pension in the process. In that last year of being a fireman, my dad earned £950 per year. His very first full-time year in Kleeneze, he earned £2,500. We had nothing like the products today, but work ethic was key. If dad was late home, it either meant two things: He was having a bad day and hadn’t hit his goal of selling £10 worth of products or he was having such a good day, he didn’t want to leave it. As is sod’s law, as soon as you decide to change and go full time with Kleeneze, something major will happen. The wheel will drop off your car or, as in my dad’s case, he got very poorly for the next 9 months. Mum had taken a job to ease the pressure, because she knew how much he wanted to do Kleeneze, so we started helping with his deliveries. In 1967, dad asked if I wanted to do Kleeneze. He knew I didn’t like travelling to London to work, so he gave me extensive training on all the products and the uses around the home, a quick demonstration on the doorstep and off we went. Dad hid behind the hedge as I knocked on my first door and listened in horror as I said: “Hi, I’m Gillian, your Kleeneze agent. You don’t want to buy anything do you?” Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. Three years later, dad’s group – the Chelmsford office – lead the company. Dad became a Corporate Executive. There were many changes over the years. The suitcases disappeared, we stopped making our own products, areas and branch managers went, we moved, moved and then moved again. I think this latest move has been the best, though, I feel we have taken control of Kleeneze once more. When I was retailing at 19, deliveries were every two weeks. If we’d not cleared half the balance on the following week, we didn’t get goods after that. No bonuses and no territories. People left because the territories went. Some people left because the suitcases went. Some of those changes didn’t work, some of them were painful, but throughout it all, Kleeneze did work, which has been proven time and time again. Kleeneze has given those of us who saw the bigger picture, a chance to carve a new life for ourselves. After two heart attacks and two strokes, mum and dad asked me if I wanted to take over the business. It was 1994 and it had been a terrible year for our family. I had lost my son, Jamie, whilst on holiday in Corfu. My boss had given me an appraisal and had expressed concern about the time I had off. He felt after nine months, I should be getting over the loss of my son. At that point, I jumped at the chance to take over from mum and dad and leave my job. I made so many mistakes whilst learning – but I’ve loved my life in Kleeneze over the past 21 years. “Kleeneze has given those of us who saw the bigger picture, a chance to carve a new life for ourselves” Through Kleeneze, I started to learn my lifetime goals. I certainly have the travel bug, but with Kleeneze I can work all over the world. I can allocate leads, I can speak to prospects. I always wanted to own my own home, so in true Essex girl style I bought three: a villa in Spain, a bungalow which I rented out and my home in Tewkesbury. All my life I dreamed of owning a home in the middle of a field, so I built one. Kleeneze is an amazing journey, as is life – full of peaks and troughs. It’s what we choose to do with it that’s key. To see Gill’s full story Visit our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/kleenezeHQ ISSUE 1, 2018 11