Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interview: Murchison-Hume

Silhouette fanatics stick together!
From "The Practical Aesthete"
Murchison-Hume is an impressive company. Started by a husband-wife team (formerly an engineer and fashion editor) as an alternative to toxic cleaning products, they make an attractive and effective line of household cleaners in keeping with the original goal: 
"to create safe and effective home keeping products that look and smell as beautiful as they work."
Featured in everything from Vogue to In Style to House & Garden, their meteoric rise reflects the modern consumer's desire for transparency, effectiveness, and simplicity. Their success has already moved them from Syndey to LA and the future looks bright (and clean)!
Max and Peter Kater
Thistle: It's so exciting to finally get to speak with you! As a domestic goddess in training, I've been particularly looking forward to this interview. We use Murchison-Hume product to clean our store and encourage customers to take home The Bag Butler when they purchase a handbag. But your product comes with punch and heart!
MK: Ah, we love a DG in Training. I will do my best to be lucid, although I have only just had my coffee this morning. Let's hope it kicks in...
Thistle: What were some of the greatest challenges you faced in starting Murchison-Hume?
MK: Well, like most "Momtrepreneurs," finding the time to dedicate to your work projects is always a huge challenge. We have to do everything that our male counterparts do, but we also have to keep everyone clothed, fed and going in the right direction. Tricky.
Bag Butler - $14 at Pickwick's Mercantile
Photo Credit: Murchison-Hume Website
Thistle: Moms are definitely warriors. You stick to a code of strict transparency, even to the point of including a list of your ingredients on your website. What do you think is the value of transparency and do you feel that companies have a responsibility to be upfront with their customers?
MK: Of course! People still advise us against listing our complete ingredients list and it's still not required by law. But I started this company because my son, Charlie was allergic to most common household cleaning products, so for me it was important to provide all of the information right from the start. We're actually redesigning our chic, artsy labels to include more information on them! I think people want to know what they're buying and our stuff is for real. We are proud of our ingredients and people should know that.
Sample of ingredient listing from Murchison-Hume site
Thistle: Your cleaning products are a neat-freak's dream- super effective and fresh- but let's talk design. We are crazy over your chic and simple aesthetic. What was the thinking behind the design of your "little brown bottles"?
MK: Oh that's easy. They are the love child of Kiehl's and Aesop (the cosmetics brands). I thought, if everything else for the home has had a makeover, why not cleaning products? I also have always collected old fashioned, apothecary bottles. Obsessed! So that's how I wanted my cleaning products to look. I think we succeeded.  

Kiehl's & Aesop's
Classic design inspiration behind M-H's "little brown bottles"
Thistle: We love The Practical Aesthete (read that HERE) ! What led to that jump into the blogosphere and what do you most hope people take away from reading?
MK: Thank you! I actually didn't intend to start a blog. I think my staff actually encouraged me to write it so I would stop ranting around the office. Welcome to my mind. 
Thistle: Trust me, I understand completely. I'm purchasing Counter Safe surface cleaner for my mother and the Ladies Bathroom Cleaner for myself, to cap off the spring cleaning season! But it was so hard to choose! If you could only purchase one of your products, which would it be?
MK: Ooh, that's a Sophie's Choice moment. If I could only have ONE, I'd go for the Counter Safe. It's the closest thing to an All-Purpose Surface Cleaner. I would, of course try and sneak a bottle of Furniture Cleaner in there somewhere. It's like a little housekeeper in a bottle.
Velvet Glove Hand Cream & Superlative Hand Soap
$14 at Pickwick's Mercantile
Thistle: For parting words, do you have any advice for our readers on living with "practicality, responsibility, durability, and style" (the core values of Murchison-Hume)?
MK: Tons (see The Practical Aesthete). But to sum it up in a sentence: "Buy fewer, but better things. Make sure that everything you buy ticks at least two boxes: beautiful AND practical. And no more Happy Meals. Ever."
We so enjoyed speaking with Max and Peter Kater! Thank you again! If you have started to love Murchison-Hume like we do, you can follow along with their exciting enterprise at their website, blog, pinterest, and twitter. They keep it fresh. And, of course, come in to Pickwick's Mercantile and we'll set you up with a starter kit to keep your home beautiful, responsible, and cleaner than ever!

Can't come in for yourself? 
 Send me an e-mail at
and we will make sure your goodies come to your doorstep!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the interview, Thistle. I love connecting with my readers (and our customers)! We're in this for the long haul and look forward to learning and growing with all of our Murchison-Hume families. xx, mk