September 17, 2021

Meet the Hillingdon man who quit his job to sell sponges – which are now loved by celebs

A BUSINESSMAN from Hillingdon is celebrating the success of his cleaning product company.

Christopher Foster launched his business, SPH2ONGE in 2017 after struggling to find a sufficient product to help him absorb the water from defrosting his freezer.

He found the ideal material – an ultra-absorbent sponge, which wasn’t yet on the market – and after finishing up with the freezer, ordered 1,000 and set up the business to make a bit of extra cash and have fun on the side of his job as an estate agent.

After going months without making many sales, Christopher decided to start giving some away for free and went from selling one sponge a week, to shipping off six or seven black sacks full of orders weekly and by 2019 he quit his job and started working full time on the business.

Although the 36-year-old still works from his flat in Hillingdon, the business runs out of a factory in Kettering, with a second factory opening in Telford soon.

The products are stocked in stores across the country, including Robert Dyas, The Range and Matalan.

It has also expanded into the US, with a centre in California serving its American customers.

Christopher said: ‘I was earning around £2,000 a month when I decided to quit my job, which I thought at the time was a place I would stay at and be comfortable. I was sneaking off on my lunch break at work to take black sacks to the post office and I knew that it was time to do it full time. I never imagined that I’d be making the number of sales that I am now.’

The company turns over seven figures a year with lowest-priced product being £1.75 and highest being £7.99.

The products have been used and loved by many celebrities, including cleaning and household faces, Mrs Hinch and Lindsay Queen of Clean, who frequently post about the products on their Instagram, as well as The Only Way of Essex’s Amy Childs, ITV’s Sally Morgan and reality star Jake Quickenden.

Christopher hopes to inspire others to follow suit and consider starting their own brands, even on a low budget.

He said: ‘I think people are wary of starting a business because they think they need to have loads of money or qualifications behind them, but it isn’t the case. I started out on a low budget and with no qualifications at all. By no means do I have a business degree or anything – I failed my exams as a kid. I just had the drive to do it and it worked for me so it can work for anyone.’