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Updated: May 16, 2022 On the record

On the Record: Camden entrepreneur has big plans for home-based business

Cyndi Prince
Cyndi Prince of LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls runs her business from her home in Camden.

More than a decade after Cyndi Prince launched LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls in 2010 as an eco-friendly alternative to toxic dryer sheets, the Camden-based entrepreneur has big plans for her home-based business.

Mainebiz: For those not familiar with your product, what are LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls?

Cyndi Prince: LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls are a reusable, energy-saving alternative to dryer sheets that softens laundry and reduces dry time. Unlike dryer sheets and fabric softeners, LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls are reusable and will naturally soften clothes — all without the use of harmful chemicals. LooHoos are a high-quality wool dryer ball made from local resources and are ideal for those seeking earth-friendly and sustainable alternatives.

MB: Where does the name come from?

CP: I was looking for a fun memorable name for the business and when I was little, my siblings would call me Cyndi LooHoo, like Cindy Lou Who — the littlest of the Whos from ‘The Grinch.’ My sisters suggested the name for the business and I didn’t like the idea at first. A few weeks later after trying to come up with alternative names, I knew that my sister’s suggestion was the best idea and LooHoo stuck.

MB: What prompted your path from science and photography to entrepreneurship?

CP: I really wanted to create something of my own, be my own boss and have freedom in my schedule. I think being an entrepreneur requires a combination of a science mind and a creative mind and is the ideal challenge that I need from work.

MB: What sparked the idea for the business?

CP: When I became pregnant, I wanted to create the healthiest home environment for our newborn and that’s when I learned that dryer sheets are considered to be among the most toxic household cleaning products in the home. They contain a long list of dangerous and toxic chemicals that have been linked to many serious health issues. I started to search for a natural alternative to dryer sheets since I wanted my clothes to still be soft and that’s when I learned about a wool dryer ball.

I saw there was a serious lack of U.S. wool dryer ball suppliers 12 years ago and it seemed like the perfect time to enter that market. I set out to make my own and after lots and lots of trial and error, I came up with a unique manufacturing technique that worked to produce a consistent, high-quality wool dryer ball.

MB: What are some of the pluses and minuses of having a home-based business?

CP: Pluses are that it’s convenient to get to work and it worked out well being home for our family. Minuses are that it’s hard to relax and take a break when you see and know work can be done.

MB: How long does it take to make one LooHoo Dryer Ball and what steps are involved?

CP: LooHoos are wound by hand and it takes less than a minute to shape each ball. After a large batch of balls are formed, they are then wet-felted in a washing machine and dried. The wet-felting portion of the manufacturing process takes about two to three hours.

MB: In what has become a crowded market, how do you set yourself apart?

CP: LooHoos are made in Maine using 100% domestic wool, all the wool comes from sheep farms within the U.S., and we offer a variety of colors.

MB: What’s your production volume?

CP: In the last two years we made on average 1,500 LooHoos per month.

MB: Who and where are your customers?

CP: Our customers are women with children at home who are seeking natural alternatives to everyday products. Our customers are throughout the U.S. and the majority are in greener cities and along the east and west coasts. We work with over 300 retailers nationwide.

MB: What are your long-term plans for the business?

CP: We are planning to expand our product line to include more laundry and pet products. Eventually we’ll move from a home-based business to LooHoo having its own facility in midcoast Maine.

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