Blog | Bogobrush

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BE THE FIRST!  You are among our earliest supporters, and we are so happy to announce the new collection to you.  Head to our shop and meet the new Bogobrush.
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THE LITTLE TOOTHBRUSH THAT COULD. Bogobrush's mission is to be the toothbrush you can actually care about.  Beautiful, ecological, buy one give one, and now made entirely in the U.S.A.

FREE SHIPPING.  We can't wait for you to experience the new Bogobrush, so we are offering free shipping on any U.S. order over $30 in our online shop. bogobrush.com

As always, thank you for your support!
  

A lot has happened since we sold out of Bogobrushes last May.  So here is complete recap on the new and improved Bogobrush.

Bad Bamboo Bogobrushes

BAMBOO NOT CUTTIN’ IT.  It turns out that pretty bamboo toothbrushes are very hard (and expensive) to make. Our pilot run brushes were beautiful and successful, but when we scaled up for production more than half of them failed to meet our tolerances.  This led to bristling failures – some we could catch, others happened in a few of your mouths. : /

With your feedback, we knew we had to find a solution that would take out this risk. For now, the best way to do that is to use a material that can be molded.

TO GRANDMA’S HOUSE WE GO. Our search for a better material took us to an unexpected place – our Grandma’s hometown in ND!  Two fantastic manufacturing firms are there, and together they’ve been the right partners to find a moldable solution for Bogobrush.

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A NEW TOOL FOR BOGOBRUSH. It took a couple months to get the digital model just right  for building our mold, but by late summer, our first molding tool was in production.  In September, the tool was ready for use.

FINDING THE RIGHT ECO-PLASTIC.  Our initial choice of eco-plastic had trouble in the mold: sink holes, bubbles, and impossible cycle times.  Disappointed, but not defeated, we searched and finally, we found two that work:

1.  A biodegradable plastic – made from plants, and

2.  A recyclable plastic – made from recycled plastic.

In November, we watched these materials run through our mold in North Dakota. The photo below is of the exact prototypes we saw – they’re beautiful and we were ecstatic to see that they’re consistently bristlable, too!

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WHEN? We’re looking at a new launch in spring/summer 2015.   We’re bummed to miss so much time in the market, but we need to get this right.  And ultimately, the only way to get anywhere is to keep moving, so onward we go!

HELPING PAVE THE WAY FOR OTHERS. We’re learning, first-hand, that eco-friendly products are rare because the materials are new and everyone in the production chain is learning how to work with them. We haven’t always felt patient (or happy) with the development times, but our efforts really do help make the path easier, not just for Bogobrush, but for other eco-friendly products, too.

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BORN IN THE USA. We are so proud of our U.S. manufacturing partners, and we want you to get to know them, too.  Stay tuned over the next weeks and months as we introduce you to our Bogobrush makers.

Until next time, keep on brushin’!

Earlier this year, we were approved for a loan from the Michigan Women’s Foundation, and I recently met with loan officer, Vanessa, to close the loan. These dollars are all going toward the purchase of our next round of inventory and website development, and we are all so excited to partner with this supportive foundation.

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 Michigan Women’s Foundation’s mission is to transform Michigan to achieve equality and empowerment for women and girls and to eliminate barriers to economic and social equality for women and girls. You can find out more here.

All of the women I’ve met from the organization are gals with inspiring backgrounds and interesting networks. It may sound cliche, but as a woman entrepreneur, I really am glad to find women like this who I can talk with as we grow our business. It’s great to have a balance of advisement from all different perspectives – man, woman, industry, geographic location, culture, age, and experiments.

Thanks, Michigan Women’s Foundation. Here’s to our mutual success!

Cheers,

Heather, CEO

 

Our CEO, Heather, had the opportunity to speak at TEDxFargo this week.  In her talk, she explains how her experiences with social entrepreneurship have inspired her to embrace the struggles – as we all can in our own lives – for they are the only way to evolve toward the future. Listen to her full talk here!

 

With the help of our friends at Designed Good and Center for the Arts, Port au Prince, Bogobrush was able to make its way into the hands of the girls of Siloe, Haiti. We could not be more honored to be a part of their mission  to empower the young girls of Siloe through the arts. An extra special thanks goes to Bernice and Nadia Todres for their talents and their desire to make the world a better place–without them this wouldn’t be possible. You can read more about their work here.

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Happy Earth Day, everyone! In honor of this special day that we at Bogobrush hold so very near and dear to our hearts, we want to share with you the story of one very special lady, Miss Kira Watkins, who is using Bogobrush as a tool on her personal mission to help protect sea turtles and raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution in Costa Rica.

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Kira has always possessed an exemplary environmental awareness, however, one experience in particular was a real game changer that sent her on a mission to cut plastic usage out of her life and inspire those around her to do the same. In 2013, Kira traveled from her home in Austin, TX down to Ostional, Costa Rica, where she volunteered with Estacion Biomarina Arribadas Ostional, an organization committed to helping protect the area’s ever-threatened sea turtle population. While volunteering, Kira couldn’t help but notice the alarming amount of plastic washed ashore, particularly, all of the of plastic toothbrushes that littered the beach and were being ingested by sea turtles and other marine life, having disastrous results on the ecosystem.

She was determined to do something about it.

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Recently, Kira made yet another trip to Ostional, and this time she brought a little company–30 bamboo Bogobrushes, to be exact. She spoke to classes of young students to raise awareness of the importance of proper dental hygiene as well as the detrimental effects that disposable plastic products are having on our environment and its wildlife. We can say with complete confidence and pride that those kids came away with some valuable knowledge…and a new Bogobrush!

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Kira and Roberto the Spider Monkey talking dental hygiene and sustainability

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We at Bogobrush are so thankful for people like Kira, who are so eager to get out there and truly make a difference that will have a lasting effect for generations to come. She stands as an inspiration to us all. Cheers to you, Kira!

If you’d like to read more of Kira’s story, click HERE.

AIGA Minnesota is the first place to turn for inspiration, professional development, and excellence in design in MN, so, needless to say, I was honored when I was recently given the opportunity to speak at AIGA Minnesota’s Green Drinks. It was so much fun!  It’s so amazing to see people getting involved and asking great questions about Bogobrush and its impact on both society and our environment.

Bogobrush co-founder Heather at AIGA Green Drinks

I think my favorite part was after the presentation where I got to chat with everyone, while making a lot of new friends and connections.

Bogobrush co-founder mingles at AIGA Green Drinks

Bogobrush biodegradable toothbrush at Dangerous Man Brewery

This was a totally worthwhile event.  Thanks, AIGA MN, for inviting me, and thanks, Jay Larson Photography for the beautiful photos.  Last but not least, cheers to Dangerous Man Brewing for the beer, and for being a stellar host location!

-Heather

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This morning we reached what is perhaps our most exciting milestone yet…we began fulfilling shipments! That means you are only a few days away from meeting your Bogobrush for the first time, and we’re confident it’ll be love at first sight. Frankly, our team is overjoyed, and we are so happy to show you that your Bogobrush is worth the wait. We truly could not have brought this “Little Toothbrush That Could” to life without you, so a huge thank you goes out to all of you for your support throughout our journey. For those of you outside of the U.S., please note that international orders must pass through Customs and may take a few weeks to be received. 

Earlier this month, John and I had the privilege of speaking to- and more importantly,with -100 high school students at the North Dakota Leadership Seminar, or NDLS. We invite you to check out our experiences and be inspired by the young people of a state that is often overlooked, our home state! As John said, “Look out world, ND is coming for you!”

 A Bit of Background

Each year, nearly 100 high schools from around the state nominate one sophomore student to attend NDLS, a weekend camp held at the University of Mary campus in Bismarck, ND. NDLS is designed to get the students away from familiar settings and social expectations, and into an energy-packed weekend where they are empowered by self-worth and their individual strengths to grow as leaders and to develop a strong community responsibility.

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Building Bridges – Not Just a Metaphor 

The weekend is full of diverse activities designed to provide an opportunity for a variety of leadership skills. The event John and I witnessed was a bridge building activity, where the students divided into 15 teams, designed, then built a bridge out of newspaper and masking tape. The requirements? A pitcher of water had to pass under it and sit on top of it for 5 seconds. The strongest bridge built that day could hold 20 reams of paper – that’s 100lbs!

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Being Inspired While Inspiring Others

During our presentation, John and I spent the first ten minutes introducing the students to Bogobrush and sharing our own journeys from high school to present. We told them that for us, leadership is not a product of a job or role, but a lifestyle to be challenged intellectually, physically, and geographically, to question social social norms, and be true to what feels right to you. The remaining 45 minutes of our presentation we opened up for questions. We were amazed at the level of thought these students had about business, and we had a blast talking with them.

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“Almost Like a Different Universe”

Following our presentation, we participated in a pep rally of sorts with all the students. We did cheers about beans and hiking in the woods, and even “made” a thunderstorm inside. Later that night was their dance, which was movie themed, so they all were to dress up like their favorite movie character – hence the costumes.

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As we were driving back to our hometown, we reflected on the day. John commented it was “almost like a different universe.” And it was. Every student was fully engaged, and totally adapted to being outside of their comfort zones.

Congrats, NDLS. We are proud and honored to have been part of it.

 -Heather

What inspires Bogobrush designer and co-founder, John McDougall? Surprise.

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The clever design of the Peel Lamp, by YOY, creates a sense of curiosity and surprise in a simple package.  It makes you rethink the boundaries of your space, and suggests the idea of something intriguing beyond your walls.

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