Plenty have attempted to capitalize on the brutality of hangovers with strange elixirs and lozenges, but a seasoned drinker will probably tell you that a lot of water and a few Advil does the trick just as well as anything else. The better way to consider the morning-after is in terms of the to-do list: pick up the fallen soldiers, recycle, mops, and text out your apologies. The extreme un-funness of all that is why the New Zealand-based Morning-After Maids service is getting a ton of hype right now. The company takes care of the cleanup in a nonjudgemental, totally effective way.
Roommates Rebecca Foley, 25, and Catherine Ashurst, 32, launched Morning-After Maids in May, promising Aucklanders clean post-party housing. On the early jobs, that also brought along their two small dogs for people to play with and cooked meals for clients. There has never been a scientific study proving that having a dog lick your face while watching someone make eggs helps with a hangover, but let’s just assume that it does. It seems like it would.
Since launching, Foley and Ashurst have received an overwhelming amount of interest from investors in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and several other locations around the world. And, yes, they’re thinking about expanding. Inverse spoke with the duo about the company’s beginnings, the current state of affairs, and where they plan to go next with their innovative service.
I can’t believe you guys have enough energy for full-time jobs and this maid service.
It’s so tiring. We work all day, we come home, go to the gym, and then come back and work on the business until 11 or 12 at night and then we work all weekend.
So are you beginning to look into distributing the workload?
Yeah I mean we didn’t expect it to be this big so we’re just sort of adapting as we go. The demand for jobs is getting higher on the weekends so we’re going to have to look at hiring staff here just to cover the Auckland area. It’s also the amount of emails that we’re getting from overseas: the U.S., Canada, all throughout Europe, Australia is a big one.
But there are only two of you.
Yeah! And there are only two dogs. They’re little, and they love it. They do a pre-clean, they eat the food off the ground.
Could people hire you to clean if they didn’t have a party?
We need to focus on doing just the parties at the moment, but we are getting interest in doing pre-party cleans so that people’s’ houses are spotless beforehand. We’ve had bookings for pretty much every weekend until the end of July so we’re going to do those without getting burnt out and then we’ll start looking at expanding the services.
Are you guys particularly good at cleaning, or did you just discover a special niche in the market?
I’m ridiculously OCD about cleaning. Becs, not so much. I’ve got like 400 cushions on my couch so every night before I go to bed they have to be perfect or I get anxiety. Becs is getting really good, though. She can see the satisfaction of when you get something clean. She’s getting so anal that before she takes the after photos every piece of furniture has to be perfect. It’s amazing.
You must be so proud.
Yeah, my little bumblebee!
Is the point of the service to not be judgmental? Can you ever not help but be like, Oh my god, these foul beasts …”
The one that we did on the weekend, we turned up and we were like, “You guys are mongrels.” There’s such a big binge drinking culture here and especially with our university students and people that are like fresh grads. We all know it’s there and it’s just that when we rocked up to this place it was such a large party. It was like 120 people minimum and it’s winter here.
Once you launched the Facebook in May, it just started taking off from there?
Before we launched it I put a status up on my Facebook asking if my friends would use this service that would come and clean up after your disgusting messy parties. And everyone was like, “Oh my god you’re amazing yes totally.” So once we got our branding sorted we launched the page, and then two days after that our biggest media personality here in New Zealand asked us to be on his show. His name is John Campbell. We ended up being the third story on the national news on TV one day. So we were more important than global warming and Donald Trump for a day.
How does it feel to see things taking off so quickly?
It’s just really surreal. Honestly I still sit at home and work on my laptop in my pjs. We eat burgers and sing to our animals, we’re just weird girls.
A good idea is a good idea.
Drinking’s never going to go away, and neither is laziness.
No use in trying to make people stop drinking or start cleaning after themselves, just use it to your benefit.
Yes, I encourage drinking and laziness.
I read an article that said you guys were going to talk to your lawyers and mentor. Did you have that discussion?
So we had a conference call with her the other day and she’s a bit overwhelmed. The first reason we got the lawyer was to do up the trademark application for New Zealand and then that’s all we thought we would need her for. But we’ve now got her on as an advisory role especially with the overseas stuff because we’re going to have to launch an international trademark and start figuring out how to set up franchise agreements and get Becs’ and my business relationship on paper as well. We’ve never run a business! We don’t know. And we’ve got a business mentor as well who’s got our best interest in mind. We just don’t want to make any mistakes and we’re going to have to start looking at investors soon so we want to get the right people on board. We want to keep the character of the business the same: we go and cheer everyone up, not just like your usual hotel cleaner who goes in and you never knew they were there. We want it to be like an occasion to have us over.
After getting all that trademark stuff sorted out with the lawyers, where is the first place you’d want to expand?
I think Australia and the states would be the first ones because those are the places we’ve had the most interest from. And there’s a big drinking culture around universities in the United States.