As we continue our mission of bringing global awareness to cleanliness and public health, we’ve enlisted the help of some influential advocates to help us out. Our TNKA Ambassadors are leading the Clean Revolution by spreading awareness throughout their own spheres of influence. They are our boots on the ground, speaking up about the vital role cleaning plays in our collective health and helping us solve the problems facing the cleaning industry.And we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce to you our latest TNKA Ambassador, Mija January.
Mija started her own janitorial business, JJD Janitorial, when she was just 25 years old. She and her husband grew that company with grit and determination, placing a team of contract cleaners in a mix of residential and commercial accounts throughout the Topeka, Kansas area. “We started as a back-of-the-truck type business,” recalls Mija. “But we really grew from there.”
After a few years of growth, Mija ran into those same problems we hear from building service contractors again and again: disrespect in the field, a confusing and rushed bidding process, high turnover and a lack of guidance.
“There were so many discrepancies in the way the bidding process was handled between different facilities and accounts, and that causes a lot of difficulties for businesses like mine,” she says.
As a small business owner working hard to manage a team of contractors and keep her accounts happy, she learned firsthand some of the biggest challenges and dysfunctional business practices plaguing the cleaning world.
Mija is a strong believer in the power of standard operating procedures when it comes to bidding for contracts throughout the cleaning industry to help move the needle on the way buildings are cleaned and cleaning businesses are respected. She also believes in paying cleaning workers a fair wage, something she has advocated for since she started JJD Janitorial and works to promote throughout her work today.
“A big part of the problem in this industry is pay,” says Mija. “In some places, cleaning professionals are paid less than minimum wage, and that doesn’t align with the important work they are doing to protect public health.”
Low pay contributes to high turnover, which was one of the biggest obstacles to JJD Janitorial’s growth. When her employees would stop coming to work, Mija herself would show up to do the job in their place.
When bidding on contracts with JJD, Mija found there to be zero consistency with specific protocol that had to be followed right down to the delivery method and envelope size. Each bid’s requirements were totally different from the next.
“Wouldn’t it be helpful if the entire industry followed a similar detailed process for bidding so that companies could be evaluated based on their ability to meet the public health needs of the facility, rather than for speed of delivery or lowest price?” asks Mija.
Another lesson Mija took from her hard work at JJD Janitorial was that there is a need for advocacy and support in the cleaning business. She and her husband were quite young when they started the business, and didn’t feel there was a place they could turn to for the resources they needed to navigate the industry and standardize their own business practices. That’s one of the reasons she’s so excited to be a TNKA Ambassador. She wants to help small business owners like her old self to find the answers they need to succeed.
“I am hoping to help be a voice for the people who were like me who didn’t know who to turn to, who to ask, or even what questions to ask,” says Mija. “I look at people in the cleaning industry or related fields like the underdog, and they need someone to stand up for them and say to the powers that be, ‘Hey, if it weren’t for these people cleaning and doing their jobs, public health would be at risk.’”
As a TNKA Ambassador, Mija has been using her platform to start making some noise already. She’s getting some attention about the need for change and respect in the cleaning industry. And Mija just happens to have a pretty awesome platform for broadcasting that message. With the stagename Red January, Mija is a singer whose forthcoming EP is titled The Scarlet Letter. As a runway model, Mija has also been involved in the fashion industry for several years. She will be working with her connections in the music and fashion industries to raise awareness around public health and to bring in her friends to continue to build the Clean Revolution.
Interested in joining the Clean Revolution and becoming a TNKA Ambassador?
Because the cleaning industry has been overlooked and underserved since inception, NOW is the time for social change; for FAIR wages, creation of professional curricula, standards, guidelines, and regulations. Join the Clean Revolution and help us spread the good word.
TNKA Brand Ambassador Guidelines are very simple!
- MUST BE passionate about the cause and knowledgeable of the profession.
- MUST BE outgoing, friendly, warm, and inviting. TNKA Ambassadors should love engaging with people of all ages and backgrounds.
- MUST HAVE PROVEN influence within the public health, hospitality, or cleaning industries or be a public figure.
o Vlog/Blog/YouTube with 1000+ subscribers
o Social Media channels with 1000+ followers
o MUST currently engage audiences thru social media at least twice weekly
Of course, as a TNKA Ambassador, there will be perks!
- FREE TNKA membership for each year served as a TNKA Ambassador
- You or your brand will be featured on TNKAs Member Spotlight
- $500 Strategic Alignment Gift Certificate from Red Worldwide for professional or business development