Full disclosure: This story is about a company called Green Goo. The name should bring a smile to your face – its founders are okay with that – but you should also take Green Goo seriously. This organic healthcare brand is hustling to keep up with orders during a time when it has had to pivot to deal with the COVID-19 crisis – and it is poised for a breakout 2020.
Formed in 2008, Green Goo is a women-owned, family-operated company that started out making skin products and first aid salves for friends and family. When those markets sparked a fan base and reorders, the company was born.
“One night, we started coming up with goofy names for one product and it was green, and we didn't want the word ‘ointment’ and it wasn't a lotion … and then Green Goo happened,” Scott explained. “And we just thought it was hysterical, so we called that one product (hand cream) Green Goo. And the funny thing is, when we interviewed folks, no one remembered us as Sierra Sage. No one. They always remembered us as Green Goo.”
And so the name was born, although Sierra Sage is still the parent company. Just this week, the company retrofitted some of its ingredients to launch a new hand sanitizer. Green Goo will provide its hometown of Lyons, Colorado with 3,000+ units of the sanitizer, along with a bundle of its other products included free of charge. Additionally, individual units of the hand sanitizers will be available for purchase on Green Goo’s site, as well as at national chain stores and independent retailers, by late April.
Green Goo is right on the edge of a breakout. Its eCommerce business has jumped 35 percent each year since 2016. Last year, it began selling at Walmart. Johns Hopkins distributes its products via its scleroderma lab. After the lab was redirected toward the COVID-19 crisis, the staff made sure to give each of its patients the link to the company’s site so they could buy their own products.
After receiving a round of funding from an angel investor, Green Goo has just hired regional sales executives and a marketing team. That team will launch publicity, SEO, social and influencer campaigns. The early track record says influencer campaigns will be critical.
“I love hearing from people who tell me they’ve had poison ivy for six months, and then they use our product and two days later it's gone,” Scott said. “And for me, the fun part is the non-believers. A daughter calls and tells us that her dad’s a pharmacist who doesn't believe in natural cures, and he had some rash that he couldn't get rid of, and she gave him Green Goo and it was gone. It’s fun from a customer acquisition standpoint when you get the folks who are less inclined to explore natural products. They're really just looking for something that works, and they hear from someone else that it works and then they're sold, which is really cool.”
The COVID-19 crisis has been a double-edged sword for Green Goo. Although it has heightened demand for its organic products, it has also caused some supply chain issues, which Scott is honest about. She knows what it’s like to talk to a supplier who has product packages in stock but no caps. She’s had cases where credit has turned into requests for cash. And she’s heard from accounts that were supposed to pay within 30 days that have requested 90.
“We should have our next round of hand sanitizer here in the next couple of weeks, and then we'll be able to have it reach even more folks,” Scott said of the hometown shipment. “We started working with the distillery in town to produce the product. We were able to get some components for them, so we could help them keep production up for the first responders and hospitals. We're trying in every way we can to be a resource. We learned that just a little bit can go a long way.”
The crisis that necessitated the donations will someday pass. Scott is optimistic about the company’s future after that point, as well as the people who buy its products.
“The beauty of humans, of course, is that we evolve,” she noted. “And there will be priority shifts. There are reasons why people chose favorite brands and products to begin with, and they will land there again. But it will obviously be with a different perspective, and we may prioritize differently, and I think innovation will come from this. And people will also have opportunities to find new favorites along the way.”