LIB Member, Gladys Vonglahn shares how she reinvented her business post-COVID

Latinas in Business Member, Gladys Vonglahn, shares how the COVID-19 pandemic pushed her to adapt and reinvent her cleaning service business. 

Adapting and reinventing her business post-COVID 

reposting, brand, Gladys Cleaning Service

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Gladys is the owner and founder of Gladys’ Cleaning Service LLC, a professional commercial and residential cleaning service with more than 18 years experience in the cleaning industry. Originally from Chile and a first generation immigrant, Gladys came to the U.S. to make a difference in the cleaning industry and positively impact the lives of others. 

At Gladys’ Cleaning Service, their core values are integrity, honesty and excellence. “We take care of our clients’ as our own, leaving a legacy to our future generations,” says Gladys. 

Since March 2020, Gladys and her team have had to work hard to adapt to the changes in the cleaning industry brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We had to be resilient and implement new cleaning protocols to stay in business and make sure we are safe,” Gladys says, “Not only for ourselves, but also to give confidence to our clients requesting our services.” 

Their biggest obstacle initially was that almost 95% of their clients were in the residential sphere. This made it difficult to continue performing their services when statewide lockdowns began. Gladys and her team stopped working for a week and during that time Gladys realized that she needed to adapt now and hear the needs of the market. She also realized that there was now a tremendous need for cleaning services in the commercial market, an area she had been working to tap into for years. 

With not everyone able to work remotely, commercial spaces were now in most need of reliable cleaning services to keep their employees safe and healthy. Gladys was able to meet this need in the industry by repositioning her business to cater toward the commercial market. 

“The main lesson of this situation is that we have to listen to our clients’ needs and adapt our services to satisfy the existing needs in the market. These obstacles make you strong and help you to go to the next level,” says Gladys. 

repositioning, reinventing, adapt

Gladys Vonglahn at one of their commercial clients facilities. (Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Despite the setbacks brought on by the pandemic, Gladys says she is so happy to have the opportunity to expand and grow her business. 

“We are so proud to be an essential job. Before the pandemic people took the cleaning industry for granted and did not give them importance until having a clean and disinfected area was a priority for everybody. Now, owners of businesses and corporations need our services to keep their employees, clients, and facilities clean. Thanks to the pandemic people now value our job!” 

“Dream bigger and dare to do”

This ability to adapt and reinvent is one of Gladys’ strengths as a Latina business owner. She is resilient and has always loved a challenge. She believes every day is a new opportunity to positively impact the lives of others, whether that be by giving them cleaning solutions, blessing them with a job, or just sharing her story to motivate them to do something extraordinary. 

Mother's Day

Gladys with her family, who help her run her business. (Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

“God gave us unique abilities to each one of us to succeed in life,” she says. “My main message to other Latinas is trust in God, believe in yourself, do not let people tell you what you have to do, hear your entrepreneur voice and have your own experience. Even if you fail you gain an experience. You will be more prepared for the next adventure. Life is not easy but it is good to live it with integrity, honesty and excellence.” 

Gladys encourages other entrepreneurs to always keep sight of their mission and vision as if it were the first day they decided to be in business. As with everything in life, there will be struggles and obstacles, some as large as a global pandemic, but with resilience and the ability to adapt, anything is possible. 

“Dare to do,” says Gladys. “Work harder and be determined to take your business to the next level not only because you want a profit. Do it as a lifestyle to leave a legacy behind for the next generation. Dream bigger, be visionary and eager to fight for your success in whatever you do in life!” 


Repositioning her brand, Gladys Cleaning Services faces COVID-19

Repositioning her brand in the face of COVID-19, Gladys Vonglahn, founder of Gladys’ Cleaning Services, rapidly changed the understanding of her target market’s needs, and how she and her family had been affected by the pandemic. 


(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

As a wife, mother, and business owner Gladys Vonglahn had to make radical changes to her life as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. From repositioning her business model to managing her children’s school schedules and daily routines, the past few months have been a time of great change, but also a time for self-reinvention. 

Looking to the positives, Gladys found that these unprecedented times have allowed her to grow in new ways. 

“My life in general has been impacted by this pandemic,” she says, “But on the positive side, I have been able to reinvent myself and be reborn, both personally and professionally.”  

Repositioning her brand did not happen overnight

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Repositioning her brand was the answer for her business. Gladys’ Cleaning Services, was greatly affected by Covid-19 as it’s main client-base is in the residential sector. As panic began to set in during the first few weeks of the quarantine, many businesses were scrambling to stay afloat and find ways to adapt. Gladys, too, had to make some important decisions. How would she continue to run her business when the majority of her residential clients were now under quarantine? 

Luckily, Gladys has always been quick to adapt to unexpected circumstances. Over the past two years Gladys had already been in the process of networking and expanding her client-base to corporate and commercial areas. From obtaining her SBE/MBE/WBE certifications and certification by the Port Authority of NY and NJ as MWMB to the trademark of the name and logo of Gladys’ Cleaning Service, she has been constantly working to push her business into the corporate sphere.

It has been a two year process of constant work, networking, and connecting with others in the industry. Gladys has also been working to help newcomers in the industry as well by sharing her experiences and expertise through seminars and personal coaching sessions. All of these experiences helped prepare her for the pandemic which was the final push Gladys needed to fully reposition her business toward the commercial sector. 

She quickly used her resources to radically reposition her brand and do a complete 180. Utilizing her eighteen years of experience in the cleaning industry and networking connections, Gladys worked to turn her business toward serving commercial locations that were now in need of cleaning services. 

When your family is your support system
reposting, brand

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

Her husband, Kennedy Castro, and children were also quick to help her during this process, offering their unconditional support as Gladys transformed her business. Together they worked hard cleaning various commercial locations and office spaces that no longer had cleaning services due to the pandemic.

Gladys has found that one of the most important things during this time is maintaining communication in all aspects of life, but especially in her business. Communicating with clients about the changing situation has been key. 

“Communication has been the keyword in maintaining contact with my clients and informing them that we are working to update our cleaning procedures and preparing for the influx of demand in the cleaning industry that will come once the State of New Jersey reopens,” says Gladys. “We are working to maintain effective communication between our team and our clients to prevent the spread of this virus. We are educating and training ourselves to utilize the new cleaning products available in the market and practicing the new safety measures to keep both our clients and our team safe.”

Additionally, Gladys has used this time to collaborate with other friends and professionals on various projects to help support each other’s businesses at this time, which has been an uplifting experience. 

Adapting to social distancing
reposting, Mother's Day

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

On a personal level, adjusting to social distancing has been difficult as well. 

“I am a Latina and I characterize myself as being a sociable person,” says Gladys. Suddenly not being able to see friends or be close and affectionate was a big adjustment for sure. 

At home, many changes had to be made too, from practicing extensive hygiene routines when returning home from work before she can greet her children to regulating her and her family’s schedule so that everyone can stay productive while still being at home.

“‘Discipline’ plays a very important role,” says Gladys, “given that at home we have comfort and various distractions.” 

Still, despite new challenges, Gladys looks to the positive. She is glad to be able to spend more time with her children at home and help them with their homework and online schooling. She is also grateful to have been able to visit her mom in Chile before the quarantine began. 

In March, in the middle to the early weeks of the pandemic, Gladys traveled to Santiago to visit her mom. This trip had been planned in advance, long before the pandemic. However, on the third day of her stay in Santiago, she had to urgently return to the U.S. before the borders closed.  Though she was only able to stay for three days, Gladys was still tremendously grateful that she could be there and see her mom, especially now that travel is not possible and the end date of this quarantine is uncertain. 

Embracing opportunities in unprecedented times

Gladys feels that despite the drastic life changes, she has been given the opportunity of reinvention and rebirth in all aspects of her life. 

Mother's Day

(Photo Courtesy Gladys’ Cleaning Services)

“I am ‘reinventing’ myself by creating strategies to reposition my brand in the cleaning industry. I’m looking for commercial contracts and creating business opportunities to keep the economy moving. I am working to create alliances and collaborations with other professionals and helping others who are just getting into the cleaning industry by sharing my knowledge and years of experience.” 

Gladys says the major lesson she has learned from this pandemic so far is “Unlearn what you have learned in order to learn again.” 

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We are in unprecedented times, which means we must adapt and find new ways of doing things in both our personal and professional lives. For Gladys, that has meant embracing the notion of repositioning and embracing the changes. 

“This pandemic has made me have to completely modify all aspects of my business and life. But thankfully one of my strengths is that I am very adaptable in unexpected situations!”