In this week’s episode of Conquer The Noise, Jonathan sits down with Lindsay Mccormack of Bite. Bite is an all-natural, zero-waste, tube-free, 100% vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free toothpaste tablet on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable personal care company. The company makes non-toxic oral care products – ranging from toothpaste and floss to mouthwash, toothbrushes and whitening gel – and packages in a plastic-free and sustainable way. After being featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and going viral overnight, Bite wants to continue disrupting the oral hygiene market.
The conversation starts off with Lindsay and Jonathan discussing her love of the outdoors and how she is obsessed with the ocean & the mountains. Then transitions into her found story and how she was working as a TV producer when she came up with the idea for Bite. She credits being a producer to helping give her the skills she needs to run her own business.
Lindsay says she never had any interest in being an entrepreneur and kind of fell into it after pursuing her personal passions. She wanted to make a solution for herself by reducing plastic, then she learned about all the artificial and harmful chemicals in oral care products and she became obsessed with it.
They talk through her early process of and using her money to buy a tablet machine. But once she bought it, she thought that maybe she would sell it by making a Shopify site to sell to the zero waste & vegan community. That was the beginning and the path that eventually got her to now.
Early on, they created a video that went viral on Facebook and investors were knocking at the door. They saw success and were automatically profitable. She wondered if taking investment would be a good idea because she wants to put the planet & mission first, and as soon as you take someone’s money you are indebted to them and their priorities. She admits she’s made some crazy choices where they crushed margins and ended up in an out of stock situation because they changed ingredients. They were rewarded at the end, but if they had investors they might not have been able to take these risks.
They are a public benefit corporation and are in the process of becoming certified B Corp. When we first went viral they were looking for a manufacturer which became urgent. They had a hard time finding one because they have unique ingredients and also had to work with glass & aluminum. The aluminium lids were getting crushed in production because the machine is used to plastic tops.
Lindsay and Jonathan talk about how their customers have helped drive a better product. They have pointed out issues with ecocert palm oil, it was a complete reformulation, which as a small company with stock issues, ended up in an out of stock situation. But, within a few months of hard times, when word got out that they were the only non-palm oil toothpaste tablet, they were exposed to a whole new audience
Lindsay talks about how she feels her job is to take a ‘better never stops’ approach – to constantly look for the newest thing and how they can be the first to improve. These types of solutions will only succeed if brands put their money behind it. An example would be their toothbrush. They created a bamboo toothbrush but found out it has nylon in it. Bristles are not 100% plastic free, but are THE MOST sustainable thing at the time. Their goal is to use these and be very transparent with the customers and within 6 months of launching the toothbrush, they found a 100% plastic free material.
As competition gets better, Lindsays says their work needs to improve too — product quality, constant challenge to be better. For anyone trying to build their business, there will be so many no’s. All you need is one person to say yes and you have to lean in and nurture the relationship.
The better brands that come out, the better it will force you to be – product, sustainability – ultimately its best case scenario to get real solutions. As a small business, people can do a lot, but in order for real change to ricochets across the world, we will need to have big brands change.
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