October is Women’s Small Business Month. To celebrate, we’re featuring a handful of fellow women-owned brands we love. Today’s spotlight is on DirtyGirl Disposal, a woman-owned and -operated waste disposal company in Worcester, Massachusetts.
It’s unusual to see a woman driving a truck at all, let alone a trash or recycling truck. It’s even more rare to find a woman who owns and operates a company in the waste management business. But that’s exactly who we found in Katherine Fairbanks and DirtyGirl Disposal.
Fairbanks started working in the waste management business in 1990, and she earned her commercial driver’s license (CDL) in 2006. She started the DirtyGirl venture in 2009 with the purchase of 13 purple containers as she was winding down her involvement in a separate local waste management company.
A day’s work with one of her daughters led to the name, and a host of powerful women inspired the names of their now 50 purple bins. These include Norma Jeane (a dual reference to Fairbanks and her brother, and a nod to Marilyn Monroe); Marion (for Marion Stoddart, an activist who worked to restore the Nashua River); and now Meredith (me! Thank you, Katherine!).
In addition to establishing entrepreneurial and financial independence, Fairbanks envisioned DirtyGirl being a catalyst for other women to learn to drive. Obtaining a CDL takes time and considerable investment, but it’s necessary for eligibility for certain higher-wage jobs. To that end, Fairbanks maintains her state certification to teach others how to drive.
So far, Fairbanks has trained dozens of women, and she plans to train two more women this fall and winter. Taking the brand national is also on the horizon, which will further expand truck-driving entrepreneurship opportunities for women.
DirtyGirl Disposal is a category disruptor with a lighthearted yet hardworking brand. Every day, Fairbanks and her family boldly and positively represent every other woman who does now or may in the future want to drive a truck and work in waste management. We think it’s a brilliant brand, and we believe in what it’s doing in the world. Check it out today.
Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.