Some entrepreneurs are inspired to start eco-conscious companies because of their personal experiences: Bite Toothpaste Bits Founder and CEO Lindsay McCormick, for instance, was traveling all the time for work and was going through all of the little travel toothpaste tubes. “It just seemed so wasteful,” McCormick told PYMNTS in an interview. She started looking at alternatives, but everything she could find was also packaged in plastic or had ingredients she didn’t want to use. As a result, she decided that she would look into how to make her own toothpaste.
McCormick began to take online chemistry courses and talked to every dentist and dental hygienist she could. She bought a tableting machine and started making toothpaste in the form of a tablet. It was “something that I wanted for myself that I couldn’t find on the market in a way that I wanted it,” McCormick said. Today, Bite Toothpaste Bits is a zero-waste toothpaste company that aims to get rid of plastic tubes that end up in landfills and oceans. McCormick said her product is a “dry tablet” that consumers pop into their mouths. They bite down and start brushing with a wet toothbrush.
The tablet will foam up like regular toothpaste but without harsh chemicals or preservatives. It also comes in a glass jar that’s fully recyclable and consumers can refill. To purchase the tablets, consumers can make a one-time purchase or opt for a subscription from the company’s website. The benefit of the subscription is that it comes at a lower cost to consumers and the one glass jar they receive is the one that they will need: Subsequent shipments come in compostable refill packets. Refills are sent every four months, and consumers can cancel at any time.
If consumers want to skip a shipment or change a flavor, they can do so before the item ships. Shopify powers checkout, so if consumers have purchased something through the eCommerce platform, their information could be filled in already. (The company accepts credit cards and Apple Pay for payments.) Once consumers are in the company’s order flow, they receive a welcome email and a tracking link when the bits ship. The company offers its products in two varieties — naturally whitening fresh mint and fresh mint with activated charcoal.
Both varieties use the same formula, except the latter line contains activated charcoal. The ingredient is a known detoxifier and helps with surface stains. If one is a heavy coffee drinker or loves red wine, McCormick said, “charcoal could be a good option for you.” (It helps tackle those stains on the teeth.) More generally, the company’s toothpaste is also cruelty-free and vegan. And, since there is no water in the company’s toothpaste as its tablets are dry, it doesn’t have preservatives or harsh chemicals. As a result, the company doesn’t have to use artificial flavors to cover them up.
McCormick noted that she didn’t begin her company to start her business: She simply saw a problem that she felt needed to be solved and spun it into a company. McCormick put her product online, and the zero-waste and vegan bloggers started writing about it and buying her product. It then ended up getting picked up by major media outlets, which pushed the company into a different stratosphere.
Beyond Bite Toothpaste Bits, DTC companies in other segments are tackling eco-sustainability with their products: cleancult, for instance, has eco-friendly cleaning products on its direct-to-consumer (D2C) website through starter kits and recurring refills. As for the products themselves, cleancult uses ingredients such as coconut oil that distinguish it from other products on the market.
In a separate case, HiBAR offers shampoo in a bar with paper-based packaging as an alternative to single-use plastic. The company offers three different formulations designed specifically for different hair types with the goal of offering a product exactly like salon-quality shampoo. Shoppers can choose to buy sets of the product — shampoo and conditioner for a discounted price — individually on the company’s website or they can sign up for a subscription.
From HiBAR to Bite Toothpaste Bits, DTC innovators are tapping into the power of eCommerce and subscriptions to help consumers purchase green personal care products as they work toward a more sustainable future.