5 Minutes with Max Kater from Murchison-Hume

Powerhouse natural cleaning products brand Murchison-Hume marries practicality, safety and style, which is a testament to L.A Based founder Max Kater. After Soak Society launched on Murchison-Hume's online shop earlier this year, we were curious to find out more about the woman that was at the forefront of the trend towards eliminating toxins from home cleaning products. Her entrepreneurial journey so far is impressive to say the least, so we took a few minutes to ask Max about her business, day-to-day life in Los Angeles, and how she prioritises her self-care. 

SS: What do you love most about Murchison-Hume?

MK: I guess it’s the fact that other people share my weird obsession about cleaning products, which is continuously surprising to me, but also very gratifying!

SS: What does a regular day look like for you? 

MK: Oh, man, are you ready to sit down? 

My day starts pretty early. Maybe a little too early, but that’s not unusual in Los Angeles. It’s an early town.

  • 5:45am: I check my emails, and am hitting the rebounder by 6:30. I work out and shower. I take AGES to get ready, so the boys have learned to fend for themselves for breakfast. We drop Charlie at school and are usually in the office by 8:30am.
  • 10:00am: I like to eat in the office, so that’s plain, 2% yoghurt (grass-fed if I manage to get to Wholefoods), plus some berries or fruit from home and granola. My Australian team recently turned me onto this grain free muesli thing called Goodmix. We’re all obsessed with it. Their slogan is “best poops ever.” They aren’t exaggerating. 
  • 11:30am: We take our Whippets, Zeus and Domino to the office everyday so have to walk them mid-morning. I try to be disciplined about NOT taking my phone, so Peter and I can talk and just be unplugged for a minute. It’s really good for us. 
  • 1:00pm: If we don’t have appointments, I’m at my keyboard until I start to get hungry. Usually, we bring leftovers from dinner, but if we don’t, then we splurge on lunch. Our offices are on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks. There are plenty of cool little cafes and gastro pubs opening up in the Valley now. There’s one down the street called Hamptons 818 that we like a lot because they let us bring the dogs and one of my favourite restaurants, Petit Trois, just opened a Valley outpost. I’m so there. 
  • 5:30pm: I try really hard to get to a Cardio Barre class at least 3 times a week. I like to be home for dinner with the family and it’s hard to leave work early enough to get there sometimes, but I feel better and more productive when I prioritise my workouts. 
  • 7:00pm: My family is always going 5 different directions and it’s so easy to slip into everyone eating at different times. I recently put my foot down and made everyone sit together at the table again. My eldest is leaving for college soon and I just want to want to have as many family dinners together as we can before he leaves the nest!

SS: Describe your me-time and self-care rituals?

MK: These are predictable and boring, but they WORK. 

1. Regular Exercise. My longtime friends will laugh when they read this because I never did sport or sustained workouts of ANY kind when I was younger. But honestly, the older I get, the more important I think it is! It’s not about trying to be thinner. It’s about feeling stronger and I feel like it makes me a better wife, mother and friend. It always puts me in a better frame of mind (or at least less stabby)!

2. I drink a TON of water. I’m not kidding. I always have a glass next to me. One of my staff introduced me to “spa water” and it’s ruined plain water for me. We cut cucumber, lemon slices and fresh mint into a carafe of filtered water and drink it all day, every day. 

3. I ALWAYS SLEEP at least 7 hours a night. It’s hard because in my disco party days I was a dedicated night owl. But since we started this business, I've had to flip the script and I’m up with the birds. This also means I’m in my pyjamas by 9pm if we’re not going out! Sleep is everything. 

4. BATHTIME! Since we launched Bath Shop at Murchison-Hume, I’ve had to do a LOT of bathing. Salts, soaks, scrubs and oils have become a part of my nightly ritual. Hey, somebody has to do it, right? In our first rental house in LA, we had a tiny little tub that was hardly worth it, so I didn’t have a proper bath at home for years. Since we moved, I’ve gone back to nightly bathing again. I swear, it’s better than therapy. After a good soak, I feel renewed and my skin is glowing. It totally changes your energy. We’re building a house at the moment and the tub will be major. 

5. Treat Yo Self! I make it a point to gift myself a little something each day. It sounds selfish, but women naturally give more than we can sometimes afford to until we get totally depleted and then WHAM! We get exhausted or sick (or worse). I really try to keep that in check by gifting myself something everyday. I don’t mean a Gucci bag (although that would be good, too). It can be something as simple as a second almond milk latte, or an extra 20 minutes in the tub! Whatever it is that makes you feel pampered. My gorgeous Husband brings me a pot of herbal tea every night when we go to bed and I LOVE to watch TV while I drink it. I tell my boys I’m “off-duty” from 8pm until 10:00pm. It’s my only real break in the day and I need it. 

SS: What are your top 5 ‘desert island' beauty or wellness essentials?

MK: Ok, assuming I have fresh food, Spa Water (and Wi-Fi, of course) I need these:

  • I need oil. Coconut, olive, I don’t care. I need oils for my parched skin. I go the full lizard without it. At the moment, I’m loving a company called Olive and M. from the states. They have great oils for everything.  I've also been trialing some great little brands from Australia like Alyssum Alchemy  and Wildcrafted Organics. There’s a lot happening in Australia with natural skincare and we’re all over it for Bath Shop.
  • A good quality dry brush. I’m always searching for the perfect brush. I have about 5 of them at the moment. I feel so invigorated after dry-brushing and my skin just looks polished, younger and more…I don’t know...springy! I feel weird if I don’t use it everyday now. I use a firmer brush for my feet; a long handled one for my back and a softer one for my squishy middle bits.
  • I need a good sponge. I like to alternate between an exfoliating bath mitt and a softer sea sponge. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d pick the Stimulate bath mitt and try and harvest my own sponge! 

  • Soap. I mean good soap. At the moment, I’m using your BathDew every day. I squirt a bit in the tub and then add the soak. I can’t believe it has natural glitter! It makes me feel a bit giddy with excitement every time I use it, but then again, I am very easily amused.  
  • Good shampoo + conditioner. I also have crazy dry hair, so the only shampoo that doesn’t strip it and make it frizzy is Rahua. I use the Classic Shampoo + Conditioner infused with Rahua oil from some Amazonian nut. It works for me.

SS: Do you have a favourite quote, or your favourite piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

MK: Yes. Keep your day job! Just kidding. I would definitely say that starting your own business is thrilling and challenging and everything you imagine it could be. But it’s also 100% full on, 24/7 and if you’re not down for those hours, don’t do it. People always ask me how I maintain “life balance” and the real truth is, I don’t. I work 7 days a week and even when I’m not officially working…I’m thinking about the business and how I can make it better. That’s OK for me, because I would be bored doing anything else! I have to do this. My advice is simply this: if you would do your business even if you never got paid for your work, then you are in the right head space to be an entrepreneur. It is all encompassing. Be prepared to say goodbye to your social life for a while. But the rewards are worth it, once you get there. 

 

Soak Society is available to shop in the US at Murchison-Hume's Bath Shop