Many women have a similar experience in their life when they hit a certain point where they are at a crossroads or a time of change. Sometimes you get there intentionally and sometimes it just happens to you. Taffeta is committed to telling the stories of women who have found their way through changes they may not have expected and are showing us how great it can be. Marnie Hammel is one of those women.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Hammel started out as a lawyer by trade. She had a very successful time in private practice as a litigator and then worked for major corporations in the insurance industry. But as happens to a lot of us, life had different plans.

An unexpected change

She had twins and decided to stay home with them. While home, she got an HR specialization but then her wife decided she wanted to buy her own business. She researched various options and discovered Two Maids and a Mop. Her wife found that the people who owned the franchise for the DC area had a huge territory that included not just Washington DC, but parts of Maryland and Virginia as well and weren’t doing anything with it, so she bought the business.

Initially Marnie didn’t want to participate but then she realized that being a franchise co-owner would give her the flexibility she needed to take care of her children, take them to school and still be able to do other things. Something she couldn’t do working lawyer’s hours. So, while she had always planned to go back to the life of an attorney, that didn’t happen and it turns out to be a pretty positive change.

You can’t argue with success, and always bet on a determined woman

The couple now have four offices including Rockville, Maryland, Alexandria and Chantilly , Virginia and Hilton Head, South Carolina. Their franchise have been named the fastest growing business twice and last year, their franchises were named the top two franchises in the company.

“I think what this has taught me is if you are a successful woman, you can be successful at anything.” She notes that if anyone had ever told her previously, she would quit being a lawyer to run a cleaning business she would have thought they were crazy.

“If you have that personality and that drive it is transferable,” observes Hammel.

Women helping women

Hammel credits much of their success to them being very hands-on owners, but it may be more because of their belief in lifting up other women, as this is a female-dominated profession.

“One of the things that always disturbed me about private practice is the women never looked out for each other. The men always looked out for each other but what I found in private practice was the women were often harder and more competitive on other women. I try to break that mold.”

Hammel observes that some of the other cleaning businesses are horrible the way they treat the women who work for them so it is a priority for them to treat all their employees well and look out for the women that work there. It’s a point of pride for the business that they pay the ladies that work for them better than the average out there.

Giving back to the community as well

It’s important to give back. The Two Maids and a Mop franchises Hammel and her wife own donate free cleaning to women battling cancer. This is done through an organization called Cleaning for a Reason. “It’s really important to women because women do everything,” explains Hammel, “it seems like a simple thing to clean but it really helps these women, it gets one major thing off their plate.”

If you are interested in reading about other incredible women Taffeta has talked to check out this here.

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About Laura Keyes Ellsworth

Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.

View all posts by Laura Keyes Ellsworth