SINCE 2014, MELANIE STOVALL AND HER COMMITTEE for Sustainable Design of AIGA MN have been amazing to Bogobrush. They invited Heather to speak at a networking event called Green Drinks, hosted a Give Event for Bogobrush and Apple Tree Dental, (story below,) and never stopped believing in us and the little toothbrush that could. To honor them, we award them the first annual Bogobrusher Award. Read this post to learn about all their great work, and if you're a member of AIGA, check your member email for a thank you gift from us, available until Dec. 31. :)
Melanie is third from the right, in the picture above. Other folks are John, Heather, and the AIGA MN committee.
Melanie: AIGA is a 100% volunteer organization serving creative fields such as design, printing, prepress, photography, illustration, paper manufacturing/distribution, and writing. AIGA Minnesota is one of the largest chapters in the nation, serving nearly 1,300 members.
Melanie: The Sustainable Design Committee uses visual communication to educate the community on environmental issues, whether that be teaching designers how to apply sustainable design to their work, talking through sustainable alternatives for process and materials in the industry, or in the instance of Bogobrush, partnering with organizations to promote their sustainability efforts. Our main goal is to look at an event holistically — not just bring in a sustainable speaker, but make sure everything down to the venue, food, drinks, and promotional materials is environmentally friendly. Every project presents a new challenge: We always find ourselves asking, "What about this isn't sustainable? What can we do instead?" We've printed invites on used beer boxes, created paperless posters by screenprinting the design onto windows, created reusable canvas bags and pint glasses as an alternative to brochures and most recently led a pledge against plastic straws.
Designer: Liping Vong
Paperless Poster Designer: Craig Johnson
Designers: Brittany Sweney, Amy Dritz, Austin Nash and Melanie Stovall
Designer: Calvin LaBrie
Melanie: There are currently about eight volunteers on the Sustainable Design Committee. Most of us are senior to mid-level working professionals with the exception of a few students. We're an even mix of graphic designers, letterpress printers, and illustrators.
Melanie: I've been volunteering for this group since 2011. I became the Associate Director in 2014 and was just re-elected for another two-year term.
Melanie: The Give Tour had 3 events: Fargo, Detroit, and Minneapolis. Our role was to work with Bogobrush to determine the scope and theme of the Minneapolis event. We landed on hosting a fundraiser for Apple Tree Dental, a non-profit that provides oral care for people who would otherwise go without. Posters designed by local Minneapolis artists were available for sale in addition to the 1,200 Bogobrushes that were donated that evening. Our group worked on planning and promotion, found sponsors, and designed all needed materials for the party.
Melanie: From the very first planning meeting, we knew we wanted to make a bathroom photobooth with a giant toothbrush so people could pretend to brush their teeth. My committee took the idea and ran with it, buying bubbles and shower cap props. The backdrop was a shower curtain and the foreground was set up as though the camera was shooting from a medicine cabinet. It was so awesome to see attendees enjoying themselves in the booth and the photos are amazing…definitely my highlight of the evening.
Designers: Leslie Olson, Marla Bonner and Elise Matheny
Melanie: We partner with other organizations in town like MN Institute of Art (MIA), MN College of Arts and Design (MCAD), and Eureka Recycling who are leading the conversation in Sustainable Design and Zero Waste. Groups outside of AIGA Minnesota tend to bring in multiple disciplines within sustainability so it creates a space where designers can speak directly to other industries. We've worked with the MCAD Sustainable Design program to bring in professionals for design lectures, partnered with existing events to come up with sustainable alternatives for promotional materials, showed films on the Midtown Greenway bike path in South Minneapolis and are currently working on a high school membership program in North Minneapolis. It's all about looking around the city to find out who shares our passion for sustainability and trying to see if there's a way for us to work together.
Melanie: We have a Sustainable Design retreat, "Earth Tones," coming up in April. We’re also putting on a Design Impact series in May 2017 to promote organizations that use design to make a positive impact in Minnesota.
If you’re interested in being involved in those events or just want more information on our committee, you can email us at email@example.com. You can also check out other upcoming AIGA Minnesota events at aigaminnesota.org and follow us at @aigamn.
AIGA, we thank you from our deep, toothbrush geek hearts:) - John and Heather
On Tuesday, November 8, Americans went to the polls to vote. Across our great country, citizens woke up on Wednesday with emotions ranging from excitement to fear, from hope to hopelessness.
But let’s never forget that we vote every single day. Every dollar we spend, and every choice we make is a vote for kind of world we want to live in, and no election will change that.
We vote for American workers when we support products that are made in the USA.
We vote for helping our neighbors when we support products that give back to those in need.
We vote for the planet when we support products that are sustainably designed.
We started Bogobrush to create the kind of products we would want to vote for with our own wallets, but whatever your values, make them heard with every step, every word, and every penny.
-John & Heather
We're spreading some hometown love, today. Meet Bogobrush retailer, Dakota Store!
The Dakota Store opened as a summer seasonal store in 2009 at the Frontier Village in Jamestown, ND. The inspiration was tourism dollars. No other retail stores were carrying a large line of North Dakota made products. In 2011 an opportunity came up to have a store in the Buffalo Mall during the Christmas season selling ND gifts. An opportunity to open a year round retail store on Main Street came in 2013. The Frontier Village store is still open all summer.
Products are chosen for their uniqueness, connection to ND, and price range. The store tries not to have the same type of items other stores in the area carry. The volunteer staff looks all year round for items that have a general appeal. The store carries everything from pottery and handmade baskets to food items and locally designed t-shirts are available.
For the most part items are produced in North Dakota but we look at each item individually to determine its fit and connection to our business. Bogobrush is a unique item for the store because two kids from Jamestown invented it and they happen to be friends of mine.
Down the road from the Dakota's Store's summer location is the replica Dentist office of the Frontier Village. No coincidence here. ;)
ServeYES! is a volunteer matching organization that helps volunteers do the kind of service they enjoy the most, and we help other nonprofits find the placements they need. The Dakota Store is an enterprise that financially supports those efforts.
Retail experience helps but is not necessary. The summer customers come from all over the United States and some foreign countries so being a people person and enjoying visiting is helpful. Knowledge of area tourism is good to know and there are local maps and brochures at our store. All of our store volunteers have an interest in promoting North Dakota and proud to live here.
The Dakota Store features products from over 65 different vendors. Many of them are members of the Pride of Dakota* marketing program sponsored by the ND Department of Agriculture. It is not necessary to have that distinction but is another great marketing tool. The comments we hear all the time are-“what a great variety” and “I had no idea that was made in North Dakota”.
*Pride of Dakota has over 500 members- each company makes their own product. They produce everything from lotions, books, wooden toy barns, woolen mittens and calendars to BBQ sauce, chokecherry taffy, bison sausage, soup mixes, and crock pot seasonings.
Bogobrush’s modern design looks better in your home, feels better in your hand, and is far and away better for our planet.
Our recycled plastic collection takes materials that would otherwise be fated to the landfill, and gives them a second chance at life.
OTHER TOOTHBRUSHES use multiple materials, grips and gimmicks that make the handle completely unrecyclable.
OUR MINIMALIST PHILOSOPHY led us to create a solid, one piece handle that is as easy to recycle again and again.
LIMITED OFFER. Use "recycleyourbrush" at check-out on bogobrush.com orders to receive 15% discount on brushes from the recycled collection. Offer ends August 12th!
ON THIS FATHER'S DAY, John and I want to let you in on a bit of our Dad's work. As you know by now, our Dad is a dentist: Dr. Ken McDougall. What you may not know, is that his dedication to oral health is far reaching - from his commitment to the patients in his Jamestown practice, to his hard work in leadership positions within the American Dental Association, to his volunteer work providing dental services to under-served communities.
Today, we decided to share a few pictures and stories from the times he (and our mom, too,) have been to Guatemala on medical mission trips. His experiences have helped shape our view on global oral health problems, and we are forever inspired by his hard work and service to others. Thank you, Dad!
PROVIDING ORAL HEALTH CARE IN GUATEMALA
Here, our Dad and his assistant, Emily, are set up at their work station in a village school building for the day. They operated with travel equipment and power supplies, and all the waste (spit and other mouth stuff -technical term:)) went in a bucket until disposal.
On a trip like this, people line up for hours to receive care, and the overwhelming majority of work is extractions. Within a matter of days, our dad and the team had pulled hundreds of teeth.
The team set up cleaning stations, (like the one below,) outside the buildings where treatment was provided. The instruments were washed in a disinfecting solution, and then dried in the sun: nature's sanitation device. Nature is amazing.
*Condition of Guatemalan Life: The pup in this picture was starving, like most wild dogs in Guatemala. At one point, (gross fact alert,) the team found the pup licking out of the waste bucket in search of food.
In Guatemala, village life is largely subsistence farming. The home above is a typical home for a family in such a village.
Above is a scene from washing day. Without clean and running water, the women gather all the laundry and head to the river.
WITHOUT CLEAN WATER
The lack of clean water is a serious problem for the quality of life of Guatemalans, and in terms of oral health, the effects are devastating.
In Guatemala, soda is consumed all day long. This is largely because safe, bottled drinking water is made to be so expensive. In the picture, below, these women and children are drinking soda from plastic bags with straws poked into them.
Here, a boy stands behind the counter in a soda shop.
Each day, cotton candy salesmen walk the villages with these racks.
VALUABLE, YET HEARTBREAKING, ORAL CARE
Without access to regular oral care, the conditions of oral health in Guatemalan villages are not good. Unfortunately, this problem is made considerably worse by the lack of clean water. The systemic issues of constant soda and sugar consumption overwhelms the good work of dentists and mission trips. As our dad described, the work of providing dental care in Guatemala is very valuable and makes an immediate impact on each person's life, but at the same time it's heartbreaking because without a change in the local diet, it's as though no end is in sight.
John and I are very inspired by our Dad's experiences, and they help us understand that giving toothbrushes only scratches the surface of how to help. For Bogobrush, the real work of giving back is in the relationships and the communities we become part of, and is where we learn how to contribute to meaningful solutions for people's lives.
Thanks, Dad, for all you do!
Now that our Wefunder equity crowdfunding campaign is in full swing, we want to let you all in to our vision for how we'll use the money we're raising.
The first tier is an initial $50,000. To date, we are more than half-way to that goal!
The largest portion of those funds are marked for sales and press relations. This is an exciting time for Bogobrush: demand grows every day, and the more people who learn the Bogobrush story, the more people want to be part of it. It’s just a matter of reaching them.
"If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on PR." - Bill Gates
We'll push the Bogobrush story, the made in USA story, the design story, the woman-led business story, the eco-friendly toothbrush story. Everything to help the world understand our mission and dreams for the little toothbrush that could.
Next, we'll invest in kits to use for sales and press. This is all designed and ready to go - we just need the funds to create several hundred of them - and hopefully more efficiently than we do it now, one by one, by hand. :)
We'll invest in SEO (search engine optimization) and Search Ads to keep Bogobrush relevant online.
We'll invest a bit into a couple events within our Giving Communities to celebrate you, our partners, and learn more about how we can contribute in meaningful ways to solving the problems that face our towns and planet.
The smallest amount of cash, but most definitely not the least important: Subscriptions. We have the technology all ready to go, but we are just short on funds. With the success of our Wefunder campaign, all it will take is a click of a button and your biodegradable toothbrush will be deliverable to your door every few months.
THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION RECOMMENDS CONSUMERS CHANGE THEIR TOOTHBRUSHES EVERY 3-4 MONTHS, OR SOONER. - WWW.ADA.COM
So easy and healthy for you, and for the business, subscriptions mean recurring revenue. Win-win.
Anything raised over that $50K will be used for a down payment on tooling and equipment which will cut our cost of manufacturing in half and make it possible for us to talk with larger distributors around the world.
Join us as we continue bringing this dream into reality: invest a minimum $100 at wefunder.com/bogobrush.
Last week, co-founder Heather traveled with her husband, David, to Kampala, Uganda, where their friends Chris and Heather are working and tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the Ugandan people. As part of their trip, they had the opportunity to attend an event at the United Nations in Kampala as Chris's guests.
The event was for a branch of the United Nations called Pulse Lab. Pulse Lab is a think-tank, of sorts, that is working on developing tech platforms for analyzing and showcasing big data in real time. It's all a bit wordy sounding, but in application it's cutting edge. There are only three Pulse Labs in the world: Jakarta, New York, and Kampala.
In Kampala, Uganda, unbelievable amounts of data are gathered, often times via mobile device, from organizations in areas like public health, public safety, climate and clean water. Pulse Lab creates tools to compare the data and help decision-makers identify trends, solve problems, and in some cases predict epidemics or outbreaks.
At the event, Pulse was presenting the tool in the context of HIV/AIDS treatment, specifically Option B+, which is a treatment to reduce mother to child transmission of AIDS. In partnership with The Ministry of Health and UNAID, Pulse Lab Kampala is developing an application that uses real-time analytics to monitor the implementation of Option B+ and the quality of the service delivered by health centers.
This level of data analysis is leading the way in the UN globally.
"It was such an honor to be in the presence of the Pulse Lab team in Kampala, and to witness the direct impact their work has on issues I've only ever heard about at a distance. These individuals are truly on ground level, helping the world be a better place." - Heather
Haha! Gotta love a good Buzzfeed quiz. We think 'overalls' is a stellar trend.