On a grand day in October, Wondercide Natural Products founders Stephanie Boone and Amanda Thurmond exchanged “I dos.” With family and friends in attendance and their sweet dogs too, Boone and Thurmond sealed the deal in Georgetown, Texas after a nearly ten year journey to the alter. But before the wedding, back in 2008, the couple had founded Wondercide after Boone’s dog became ill from pesticide poisoning. Today, Wondercide manufactures over 30 natural and organic alternatives to chemical pesticides for people, pets and property in Austin. And as for the ladies behind it all, they’re living happily ever after.
Stephanie Boone on finally tying the knot…
SB – After being together for 9 ½, 10 years we just felt like we were at a place in our lives where we weren’t going anywhere. It was time to stand up in front of our friends and family and say, “We’re a family, just as much as you’re a family. Just because we don’t have the legal right in Texas doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be acknowledged.”
On meeting Amanda…
SB – It was a networking event and I actually went there on a date with someone else and saw Amanda sitting on the couch. She wasn’t a part of the event, she was helping her friend set it up. I walked in and I asked, “Who is that?” She had on cargo shorts, a backwards baseball cap – totally not my style. The woman throwing the event said, “Oh, you don’t want to go there, she’s a friend of mine, she’s not a part of the event. She’s younger, she’s just helping set everything up.” And I was like, “No, I think I do.” And I went over and talked to her and we pretty much have been together ever since – through two businesses, a college degree and moving three cities.
On their relationship…
SB – I’d say it’s very open, fluid. We’re very much on the same track and on the same path with the same interests but we’re very different people. I’m very type A, she’s very type B. People that know us and that have known us for a long time say that we’re the couple that they sort of look to and admire for what a relationship should be. And I would say even after ten years, just getting married, we still feel like we’re on our honeymoon. After all this time, we still have the same level of interest in each other. That doesn’t mean to say it’s all been roses, but for the most part, it’s pretty smooth sailing. I think we’re well-matched. And that’s working together full-time and living together. [laughs]
On the marriage proposal…
SB – It was the day before Amanda’s birthday last summer. So, I said for your birthday, let’s go on a wine tour of the hill country. I asked both of her parents permission, which is very traditional. I was boo-hooing and they were like, “Of course, yes!” So, she thought the whole thing was for her birthday. We picked five or six of our friends and invited them to go on this wine tour and everyone knew.
When we got to the last place, I pulled out this bag of stones that she gave me for my birthday. On one side of the stone it said I love you because… and on the other side of the stone there’s a reason. So, at the very last vineyard, I said, “Come on, take a walk with me.” We went and sat on a porch swing, overlooking the vineyard and I pulled this red velvet bag of stones out of my pocket and I read each one. And the last thing I pulled out was the ring and asked her to marry me.
What was the most exciting part of your journey to the alter?
AT – For me, it was actually just getting to the day of. It was exciting, and I was anxious all at the same time. Standing up in front of everyone we’d invited and making that verbal commitment in front of everybody, that was what was most exciting for me.
What’s one of the biggest adjustments you’ve made so far?
AT – I would say the biggest adjustments have been the moves that we’ve made. The first move was from Dallas to Houston and that was really my first extended time away from family so that was a big adjustment. And then the adjustment from Houston to Austin. Just having to form a life here in Austin.
What are some of the things you’re looking forward to as a married couple ?
AT – At this stage I think it’s probably about family planning and just really dialing down what we want to do and how we want to go about it.
Any words for couples who may feel discouraged to tie the knot in places like Texas?
AT – I would say times are changing – just the number of states that have recently reversed their ruling on same-sex marriage. I think it’s going to come around. Now Texas, I don’t know how quickly. But if you’re to the point where you want to commit to someone for the rest of your life then I don’t think that the legal ramifications of that should stop you so, I’d say go for it and when the time comes that you can legally do it, then you can legally do it.
SB – I would say to be advocates in your local community. Be the change that you want to see. Join HRC, join the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber, be a part of helping lobby for that change.
What’s it like working together side by side, day to day?
AT – It’s rewarding and can sometimes be a little frustrating and stressful, but because we’re always open and communicating, it’s something that we can work through pretty quickly and are always moving forward to the next task that needs to get done and making sure things run smoothly here at the office and at home.
Wondercide was born in 08, can you tell us a little about wondercide?
SB – Conceptually, Wondercide was born in ‘08, but we didn’t really launch until 2009. We founded the company because our oldest dog, Luna, was diagnosed with liver and kidney failure as a result of using a spot drop which is one of the most common flea and tick medications on the market.
We started doing a ton of research and learned that hey, we’re poisoning our animals, we’re poisoning our homes, we’re poisoning ourselves with DEET insect repellent and all these things and it has to stop. So, the first website we put out was educational, just to inform people. Then, within six months, people were coming across the website saying, “Great, we know this stuff is bad, now what do we do?” I quickly realized that educating people wasn’t enough. We had to develop an alternative so that they would have safer products to use. So, we’ve spent the last five years developing safe and effective products and delivering them to the growing consumer base that’s looking for natural solutions to problems that are traditionally solved, or covered up really with pharmaceuticals and chemicals.We literally started in our garage.
What’s next for Wondercide?
SB – People are becoming more and more aware about the products they’re buying, the impact they have, the companies that they’re buying them from, if it’s made in the USA. These are things people are starting to care more and more about. So our primary focus is to source and manufacture and produce everything here in Austin, Texas. We create jobs and that’s something we want to continue to do and continue to give back to the community.