Entrepreneur Turns Fatberg Nightmare Into Small Business Success

October 31, 2023 by Gary Stockton

At first glance, Laura Lady’s storied career in toy marketing might not suggest her foray into tackling pressing environmental challenges. However, her Founder’s journey is a testament to her passion and versatility.

For over 20 years, Laura Lady was entrenched in the toy industry, working for industry giants such as Mattel, Fisher Price, and Lego. Her role? Transforming and reimagining brands. Despite her achievements in revitalizing declining children’s entertainment and toy brands, Laura’s true passion lay elsewhere: in the world of food. By her own admission, Laura would often find herself immersed in culinary discussions, cooking, and of course, feeding others.

Dinner Conversation Spawned Her Idea

FryAway Product Shot

One evening, amidst the laughter and camaraderie of a dinner party, the topic shifted to the then-recent discovery of a ‘fatberg’ in East London’s sewers. This enormous mass, equivalent in size to two London double-decker buses, was a clogged accumulation of fat and waste. Though the term ‘fatberg’ was new to Laura, it sparked her curiosity, leading her down a research rabbit hole. She soon found that such blockages resulted from careless waste disposal, especially the pouring of oils down drains. This not only created blockages but often caused sewer overflows, contaminating waterways.

The challenge became more personal for Laura during the COVID-19 pandemic. While cooking at a farmhouse on septic, she was confronted with the dilemma of disposing of used cooking oil. The uncertainty of the pandemic made traditional recycling options less accessible. This was the catalyst for Laura, prompting her to think: “There really has to be a better way.”

With a series of kitchen experiments, Laura began to create a solution that was both user-friendly and good for the environment. When she felt confident about her product, the next hurdle was production during a global pandemic. Her decision to move her family out of the city to a rural setting came with the benefit of a large 2-car garage, perfect for a small home-based manufacturing plant where Laura ran small batches of her invention and gauging product viability.

Environmental Leap of Faith

Starting FryAway didn’t come without risk. But in Laura’s case, the risks were calculated, leaving a prestigious role at Lego and relocating her family back to the U.S. Laura was able to develop FryAway while consulting for foreign toy companies entering the U.S. market. The beauty of her entrepreneurial journey was the freedom it accorded her, especially in choosing who to work with and setting the tone for her company.

For Laura Lady, owning her business provides a unique blend of flexibility and purpose. It allows her to strike a balance between family, personal time, and business, while also addressing a significant environmental issue. With FryAway, Laura Lady has once again shown her knack for transformation – this time, turning used oil into a solution rather than an environmental problem.

More Founder’s Narrative Stories:

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