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NSW company Spewy sees mum use ‘gross’ idea to win $1m

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New South Wales had a harrowing and “stinking” 10 hour road trip, but when she looked for a solution to the problem, there was none. But the messy experiment will now pay off.

When Jo Hardie went on a family vacation that involved a 10-hour drive, her eldest daughter started throwing up just hours into the car journey.

It was a messy experience that created mountains of washouts.

‘Before we left she was running around and was fine but had caught vomiting and was sick the whole way,’ she told news.com.au

“I ended up using clean towels and clothes to catch the spit. We arrived in Queensland and I went online to try and find a product that would help when the kids were sick in the car.

But the mum-of-three was left blank on her search while dealing with the fallout from the road trip.

“Cleaning a leaky car seat is no fun and it stinks if your child has been sick in the car,” she added.

“It’s not just trying to contain the spit, it’s the smell, even with the windows down it’s still there.”

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This led the NSW mum, who lives in a country town called Dungog, to borrow her friend’s sewing machine and research what was the most absorbent material.

She then went shopping at Spotlight and Clark Rubber to create a product that would be absorbent enough to catch vomit and wouldn’t leak either.

The 35-year-old spent six months finding a manufacturer before launching her business, called Spewy, in November 2018.

She initially sold around 200 products a month, but said that has grown tremendously over the past four years to around 1,500.

That means the stay-at-home mom is on track to earn $1 million in 2022, a huge jump from the $57,000 she earned in the first year.

“I started the business from my house when we lived in Maitland and it got to the point where my husband had to build me an office and storage space under the house as we had no room to move into the house because of inventory and orders,” she said.

“We moved and got our first warehouse in November last year and in December we took over the warehouse next door and are now having a warehouse built to move into in August.”

Its first product — vomit rags that sell for $36.95 — has now expanded to solving another messy problem, bed mats for potty-training kids.

“It means you can take the bed mat off when they have an accident and put a new one on and it makes getting back to bed easier and there’s less washing up,” she said.

Ms Hardie said it was ‘overwhelming’ to see the response to her four-year-old business as it is set to hit the six million mark this year, but said it felt good to help people with a “gross” problem.

There are also big plans for the company. She launches children’s training pants and wants her husband to be able to quit his full-time job and come to work for her.

She added that she often reacted strongly to the name of her company, but did not regret using it.

“I get a lot of comments ranging from ‘It’s really Australian and I love the name’ to ‘The name disgusts me, couldn’t you call it something else? ‘” she said.

“At the end of the day, if a child has gastro, you don’t have to think about what the product is – that’s where I went with the brand on it, just to make life easier for parents so that they didn’t remember anything else.