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By Kristin Ohlson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rebecca Reynolds' business was born in the shower.
There's a happy cliché about inspiration in the shower-- you're relaxed, you're enjoying the spray of warm water, and good ideas surface in your consciousness like dolphins in a seascape. But Reynolds' flash of inspiration was nothing like that.

What happened was that her throat started to burn and her eyes started to sting because of the noxious fog rising from the product she was using to scrub away the shower mildew. After she finished her work, Reynolds used those red eyes to do some online research about the chemicals listed on the product's label. An organic shopper from way back, she had always been highly particular about her family's health. She was horrified to realize that she had been exposing her family and the customers of her small house-cleaning business to such bad chemicals. So for the next year, she turned her kitchen into a lab to invent cleaning products based on the kind of benign ingredients people used in the somewhat distant past.

"It was me standing by the sink surrounded by laughing children," says Reynolds, 44. "One time, I filled up the whole counter and sink because I added baking soda to a vinegar solution--it was like a volcanic reaction. But I finally figured out effective cleaners that smelled good."

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