A mom on a mission revolutionizes an industry

How one woman became a trailblazing entrepreneur swimming with the sharks

5 minute read

Steph showing a picture of her and Luna

In honor of Mother’s Day, we celebrate hard-working moms of every kind, everywhere. And today, we’re highlighting one particular unstoppable mom, Stephanie Boone, the founder of Wondercide. Her incredible love for her dog Luna and her fierce determination took her on a journey that would revolutionize the pest control industry and protect millions of families.

Steph and Luna in a field

Stephanie Boone, founder of Wondercide with Luna, the dog who inspired Wondercide.

Tragedy leads to duty

This story begins in 2008 when Stephanie's dog Luna becomes gravely sick. It starts with hot spots that turn into open sores. Teeth chattering becomes frequent seizures. Luna becomes lethargic and Stephanie learns her dog is in liver and kidney failure. Desperate to find relief for Luna and answers, Stephanie turns to her vet. Then she receives the devastating news – they suggest she put Luna down, but that’s not an option. The look in Luna’s eyes tell Stephanie this isn’t how the story will end.

Stephanie is desperate to help Luna. She gets a second opinion. This vet suspects Luna's flea-and-tick medication and the pesticides used in her yard are causing Luna’s health issues. Stephanie is horrified when she learns that the products she was putting on and around Luna include ingredients that are known to cause systemic neurological side effects in some pets and people.

Like millions of parents, Stephanie thought she was keeping her family safe by using these commonly-recommended solutions, but it seems these very products were causing Luna harm.

Stephanie adopts a more holistic approach to Luna’s health and nutrition. She takes Luna off of the conventional flea-and-tick products and cancels the home pest control service. Miraculously, Luna starts to get better.

As Luna begins to heal, Stephanie also learns that manufacturers of flea and tick “medications” aren’t required to report adverse events or even death, so the public isn’t aware of the risks like they should be.

This lights a fire under her to not only protect Luna but to ensure other families won’t have to go through what she and Luna did. Stephanie knows there has to be a better way and is determined to find that way – or make one.

The mission becomes clear

Stephanie starts a blog and shares her knowledge as well as Luna’s story. She hears from family after family with loved ones suffering and they ask Stephanie what they should do. Stephanie feels called and compelled to meet this huge unmet need of pest protection that’s as safe as it is effective. Stephanie leans in and goes full steam to develop a solution.

She voraciously researches the chemistry and biology behind pest control used for pets, families, and their homes. Then she finds what seems like a hidden code in the EPA’s guidelines for pest control called the FIFRA 25b list. It shows a small list of ingredients that are considered the most minimal risk to health and environment.

Cedarwood oil is on that list and as it turns out, Stephanie’s grandmother had given her a cedar chest. Stephanie has an Aha! moment. If cedar has been used for centuries to protect the things we love from bugs could another form of cedarwood be used to protect the ones we love.

Stephanie becomes a mad scientist. She researches each ingredient on the 25b list and begins mixing combinations, then testing at home. When she innovates a plant-powered formula that she believes works, she goes to a cruelty free testing lab and they prove it works. She consults holistic vets and certified aromatherapists and they like the formula too.

Steph and Luna with the wooden chest

Stephanie sitting on the cedar chest her grandmother gave her with Luna by her side.

Family and friends use it and love it. Wondercide is born and Stephanie finds her life's purpose: Innovate pest protection that when used as directed is as safe as it is effective

A growing mission

Stephanie hustled hard to get her business off the ground. Her garage was converted into a mixing and bottling room and her guest room became a research, development, and creative space where she would build a brand.

She taught herself about the chemical and manufacturing industries, manufacturing, production, fulfillment, sales, and marketing to name just a few aspects of the business. She didn’t start out envisioning that she would become the founder of a pest control company but here she was.

She started to build her team, develop company culture, set up processes, and work on business strategy. It wasn’t second nature. Most of it was new, but Stephanie just kept taking the next best step, and trusting her heart as much as her head.

She started selling online and in retail stores. The business moved out of her home, and into commercial space. Word of mouth and gumption started to pay off. More families were learning about Wondercide and business kept growing. Best of all, Luna was right by Stephanie’s side during the journey and they had another six wondrous years together.

Steph and Luna in a car

Stephanie and Luna on the way to work at the Wondercide headquarters.

Cherishing a golden opportunity

On a warm spring day in Austin, TX in 2015, just as they had done every year since they were together, Stephanie took her dogs Luna and Mercy out to a field near the office where they took photos in the vibrant purple bluebonnets. Luna was slowing down and this moment together was one of the last they would have.

Steph and Luna with bluebonnets

Stephanie and Luna in the bluebonnet field, the last time they experience this part of nature together.

Just hours after they got home, Luna peacefully passed away in Stephanie’s loving arms. Dragonflies circled around, a cue from nature that comforted Stephanie in this trying moment.

Then, fate gave Stephanie a surprise twist. It was a moment that would forever change her life and the lives of millions of families. The very day Luna passed away, Stephanie got a call with an invitation to appear on Shark Tank. Despite her heartbreak and being three months pregnant with her firstborn, she felt compelled to take the opportunity.

Nothing would stop this mom on a mission. This was a big opportunity to not only honor Luna's legacy, but to broadcast Wondercide to millions of viewers tuning in so she could help even more families live long, happy lives together.

Steph pitching Wondercide on Shark Tank

Stephanie appears on Shark Tank and receives an offer from three sharks, accepting one on air.

On the show, three Sharks made an offer. Stephanie accepted Lori Greiner’s offer on air, but ended up trusting her gut and walked away from the deal after the show. It was a key moment in Stephanie’s life and for the business, which Stephanie continued to self-fund and bootstrap to the next levels of success.

Wondercide can now be found in thousands of retail stores across the U.S., on Chewy, and on Amazon where it’s a top selling pest protection brand.

Reaching over 2 million families, the mission continues

It's not easy to rock the boat in a male-dominated industry and challenge the status quo, but Stephanie chose courage over comfort and succeeded. The journey started with fierce love that saved her dog Luna and turned into a mission of empowering families – over 2 million to date – to protect the ones they love.

If there’s one thing we know, this unstoppable woman and mom is just getting started.

Steph showing a picture of her and Luna

Stephanie holds up a picture she keeps on her phone of a time she and Luna visited the bluebonnet fields in Austin, TX. Happy memories.