Industry Leaders Forum: Lisa Michalson, Director, Cleanstar/XPOWER

Cleanstar/XPOWER's 2023: Unveiling the groundbreaking new product and navigating global challenges, setting a dynamic course for 2024.

How was 2023 for Cleanstar/XPOWER? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?
The number one highlight of 2023 would have to be the phenomenal response that we received after we showcased our new, soon to be released battery powered floor brush called the ACTIV8 at the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo.
After eight years of hard work, design changes, and a significant investment, it was incredible to see everyone’s reactions to this world first product. This tool will cut down the cleaner’s time by half and revolution the industry. We will be introducing this into the Australian market early in 2024 and then the international market. Exciting times ahead!
In terms of challenges, the global economy is tough, and Australia has plenty of challenges that we need to be aware of and reactive to. We must also understand that Australia is affected by global financial trends and our industry must work together to keep it strong.

What are the company’s main priorities for 2024?
Our number one priority is always our customers, servicing them well and providing them with the latest innovations, quality products, and good supply. Our priorities remain the same, to continue to keep our brand at the forefront of the industry.

How does Cleanstar/XPOWER plan to adapt and innovate this year to meet the evolving needs and expectations of customers?
The cleaning industry is ever evolving and as a business we must keep up and be ahead of the trends within the sector and continue to look to cater for other industries (with our wide variety of products). With the innovation of the ACTIV8 floor brush, we are also working on some other new and exciting products set to launch in 2024.

What are the most significant opportunities and challenges in the industry? How can the industry leverage or address these?
Our industry is blessed as cleaning is required in all industries, businesses and homes and we need to make sure that we make consumers aware of what we offer and to maintain the importance of cleaning, hygiene, and good air quality (especially after the pandemic).

What do you expect to be the big trends of 2024?
I believe companies will be looking for ways to mitigate the current global financial situation. Products such as our ACTIV8 battery powered floor brush (that significantly boost productivity and cut cleaning time down by 50 per cent) will be sought out more and more as we look for cost saving measures that won’t compromise the quality of the service provided.

What do you expect to be the big floorcare trends of 2024?
Our ACTIV8 Battery powered floor brush, in our opinion, will be the most important floor care trend for 2024. This revolutionary tool has been designed in Australia for the operator to clean in a figure eight mopping motion using both hands and standing upright. This allows to the user to cover the surface area quickly and immensely improving productivity.

What do you expect to be the big sustainability trends of 2024?
Cleanstar/XPOWER (along with INCLEAN) has always been an advocate for the Right to Repair in Australia. Thanks in part to our campaigning to the government, the Right to Repair movement is now being recognised within the cleaning industry.
We hope that this will only grow and that businesses will start to realise that there is no circular economy without repair. Repair rather than dispose and create waste. The government is looking closely to introducing a Right to Repair Law in Australia, following Europe and America’s lead in assisting to reduce waste back into the environment.

Are there any key sustainability commitments/targets Cleanstar/XPOWER has made for 2024?
As a brand owner we have been working towards APCO’s packaging targets for 2025 by removing polystyrene and reducing the number of raw materials in our packaging.
We will also continue our work with the Right to Repair movement are we’re hoping to see the government start to action some of the recommendations handed down in the Productivity Commission’s report on the Right to Repair.
We will also continue to expand our range of compostable products with our Bonnie Bio range which currently ranges bin liners and gloves.

What is your leadership philosophy?
I am the same person in my professional and personal life. Therefore, my leadership style is the same as my personal style. Be good to people, respect them, give them opportunities, lift people up, and then you get the best out of them and it also makes me happy.

Do you have a message for the industry?
We are a strong industry, and we all need to support Australian businesses and brands. Australian innovation must always be supported and encouraged.

This article first appeared in INCLEAN magazine

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