Responsible and charitable companies around the world give back to support worthy causes both local and abroad instead of only worrying about their bottom line. Over the past couple of decades, more businesses have been dedicating a portion of their profits to philanthropic efforts than ever before.
Despite the view that only large companies give back to charity, even smaller companies are giving back to important causes. One of those companies is Skeeter-EEZ. Skeeter-EEZ is an all-natural insect repellent pouch that lasts up to 40 days. The product is extremely important to people who come in contact with potentially lethal bugs on a regular basis. When a natural disaster occurs, one of the last things we think about is the potential for harmful bug outbreaks, but it happens on a large scale. Something like the Skeeter-EEZ pouch can protect people who are already suffering from the disaster to fend off harmful insects who can carry diseases.
I interviewed Founder and CEO of Skeeter-EEZ Ralph Bevins about the company, recent success, and how and why they give back to those in need.
General Business Information
Founder: Ralph Bevins
Date Founded: 2008
General Business Description: All-natural wearable pest repellent pouch. “Wear one and you’re done.”
Michael Luchies: An innovative and unique product like Skeeter-EEZ usually comes with an interesting story, how did you get the idea for Skeeter-EEZ?
Ralph Bevins: Our troops in Iraq sat around mosquito candles at night. Trying to keep bugs away without spraying DEET containing products on themselves. I thought of a way to make them mobile without sitting near the perimeter of candle.
ML: Skeeter-EEZ is marketed as an all-natural pest repellant, what is it made of and how does it work?
RB: The product has all-natural nontoxic biodegradable ingredients.
It works by masking the carbon dioxide we exhale that attracts bugs to us. Also, diabetics attract bugs such as mosquitoes more than a non-diabetic, which makes a product of this type extremely useful to this market as well.
ML: Your product has been endorsed by North American Hunting Club: was this a major step for the company? What other significant events have helped get the product to where it is now?
RB: It was a great thing to be recognized by the NAHC. They have 800,000 members and we sent out 600 for testing at no cost. Two thirds of the users would have to recommend it for approval, and there was overwhelming support as more than two thirds loved it. They indorsed us and put us in the magazine. We have an infomercial that has received some exposure. But word of mouth has been the best marketing tool we have had so far.
ML: Skeeter-EEZ has provided assistance to those overseas and during disasters including in America, how does the product help those in disaster areas and in foreign areas, such as troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan?
RB: During most natural disasters there is an overwhelming amount of standing water that helps incubate breeding mosquitoes, gnats and ‘no-see-ums.’ We are a simple to use product that is safe for children and the product lasts longer than most products on the market, not to mention we are far more economical as well. Our friends and family deserve it.
In Africa alone over 600,000 men, women and children die every year from Malaria.
People do not realize even in desert areas bugs can still be bad.
ML: As a newer company, how are you able to balance giving to charities and to those in need while still focusing on reinvesting revenues back into the business?
RB: We give even when we probably shouldn’t. As a growing company, sometimes you just don’t have enough to give, but we do anyway. Somehow things manage to work out. When you know it’s right, how can you be wrong? As we increase sales it will become much easier to give without hurting Skeetereez Inc.
ML: Do you feel like all companies including startups should work to give back, whether through services, products or donations?
RB: Of course I do believe in the American dream and becoming comfortable in life. Most people really don’t know the sacrifices entrepreneurs sometimes make to get to where they are going, Including families. Yes, once you achieve you should give back to help others no matter if it’s just being a mentor or giving away products, but do something.
ML: What are the company’s future goals? Are you working on any new products or different applications of your current product?
RB: Our goals are to reach small and large retailers. I have several products also for horses and dogs. We would like to receive more exposure and maybe receive help giving pouches to people in need.
It is refreshing to see companies that are focused on helping others instead of only helping shareholders. It is proof that there are many responsible companies that care for their customers, communities, and even parts of the world that may not be their primary target market when it comes to sales. Whatever you choose to give back to, it is never too soon to start.