Who are you, what are you doing and how did you get to what you do today?
My name is Ronan Hardy. I come from Nantes, a city in Bretagne, France. After a starting career in purchasing which brought me to Frankfurt in early 2014, I founded Mary and Jarvis UG two years ago.
I wanted to create a service that I was missing and would have greatly needed. The most valuable commodity is time so the idea was to free the mind from a set of activities which has to be done but can be a hassle to do and or organize, even more in a foreign country.
What is your Motto?
In life we can do anything, but that does not mean we should do everything.
With that in mind, I settled for the visit of a helper through a neighborhood service because there are many potential benefits to generate for a lot of the stakeholders involved, especially in terms of social, environmental and local progress (more on the actual concept in the following question).
I am sensible to the topic of waste reduction and to be conscious about what we humans are as a specie, especially our duty to support one another and our natural environment. I mean to my opinion the activities and a business can only be operated under sustainable principles.
Being mindful about the impacts of our choices and taking them into account is the only responsible way to conduct a modern business. So I felt like incorporating this variable:
Social: we support people from a migrant background to have an entry job in Germany,
Environmental: we put actions and initiatives to present clients the opportunity to lower their carbon footprint at home.
Local: we become a focal point to then bring extra business to local services.
I am often asked what eco responsibility has to do with our service but to me it makes sense. On top of using the right products to ensure our clients’ home safety, many of our consumption choices start and end up (sometimes get forgotten) at home: stocked in our fridge, organized in our closet, or just crammed in our attic... I thought it would be great that our weekly service increasingly brings this type of value. In conclusion, we basically relieve stress (especially the mental charge) and increasingly support our clients to fulfill their part towards the planet, could a home service be greater than that?
How would you describe your business idea in a maximum of 3 sentences?
Mary and Jarvis is a turnkey sustainable solution for home-related service simplifying the life of urban dwellers. With one point of contact, we send a vetted employee to weekly support a client from their chosen domestic activities and we coordinate their on-demand requests via our home conciergerie. We simplify your home for a fuller, sustainable life.
What was your biggest learning?
It is hard to pick just one out of the many I’ve done. I think the main one was to start the company with so little resources in capital AND in manpower = on my own with an almost empty wallet. Starting alone teaches you valuable lessons, especially in humility and in people but the lack of capital makes everything so slow, so much more painful and frustrating as you have to make sure to keep the financial boat afloat every single month. Ok, it fuels creativity like crazy but it hinders speed through team dynamic which is key to succeed.
My advice would be to keep your work, manage your startup idea on the side, build up a network in the area your idea belongs to until you assess it is the time to take the leap. Not stop everything THEN take the leap. However, as the french say: “c’est la vie”! If you don’t take any chances, you never start anyway.
Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
In five years, M&J will have the team, the app and the network to power our vision to bring good into our clients home. Consequently we will be known as the premium home sustainable service operating in at least 10 main international hubs in western europe and we will be B Corp Certified.
What connects you to the FrankfurtRheinMain region? And what is happening in our startup ecosystem?
A career opportunity brought me to the region and I first thought that Frankfurt would be a mere quick stop. But this city spirit has one that gradually grows in you. It is big enough, small enough. It gets my needs covered and it creates a feeling like I know my city, with always something going on to surprise me. The city is super green with the parks, the cycling area and the Main. Furthermore, nature is around the corner for nice hikes and smaller towns full of personality. Plus, the international airport is right around the corner. So now I feel like home here, even though I still have to work harder on my german.
What is of primary importance is that you are located where your customers are. If that is the case, I believe the local ecosystem in FrankfurtRheinMain is well set up to help you speed up with your idea.
How did you manage Corona period?
Like many businesses, we lost 75% of our regular customers within two weeks. With the joy of home office, people were enjoying and using their home more than usual. But it didn’t mean that they were keen to do those domestic activities by themselves now, but rather that their homes were getting cluttered and dirtier faster. So after a month little by little, once reassured that we were enforcing the correct health and safety measures, clients started to come back.
For the rest, I put in place vouchers, applied to the various helps provided by the federal land of Hessen, and finally took the time to launch the company blog and work on creating a community.
The goal of the blog is to bring curated information on home sustainability’s various topics in order to bring awareness that our decisions to live a more mindful life starts at home.