Blog | Bogobrush

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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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Last weekend, David and I flew to Utah to bring Bogobrush to the first annual Green Dentistry Conference, held at the Sundance Resort (you know, Robert Redford’s resort, that film festival resort, up in the mountains!) I hadn’t been there before, so it was especially cool to me…and Bogobrush was a hit, of course, which made the experience even better.

Anyway, here is a photo journal of the trip. Enjoy!

Traveling from MSP to SLC

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We left Minnesota to its May 2nd blizzard, and flew into the sunny Salt Lake Valley. After the flight, we drove an hour through the city and into the mountains before arriving at the resort.

Sundance Resort

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The Sundance Resort is nestled in the mountains, and at each turn is a reminder of the land’s true essence. The buildings are all made from reclaimed wood, and there are touches of old western life all around. There’s even a little general store – the Hot Damn Pickles really were damn hot, but also damn awesome.

The Conference

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The conference was two days of networking, education, food, and fun.  Ina Pockrass, The Eco-Dentistry Association’s co-founder, and her small team of two great gals brought in several presenters who spoke about everything from high tech dentistry, to meditation, to marketing a dental practice as “green.” In a world like dentistry, where infection control and material efficacy are crucial to a practice’s success – both in the eyes of patients and government regulation – a perfectly“green” dental practice is not possible right now, however, if dental practices make the best choices they can, the needle can continue to point in a greener direction.

Beginning of Beautiful Friendships

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For Bogobrush, the conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the interests of dental practices, and to begin new collaborations with dentists and their communities. Specifically, plans are in the works with a practice from Pittsburgh and with a practice outside Portland, Maine. More details are sure to follow!

Last Day: Our Morning Hike

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Of course, we couldn’t leave Sundance without taking advantage of some amazing hikes. These photos are from our hike to Stewart Falls. We saw plenty of wildlife and beautiful scenery and also enjoyed some great conversation. My dad, (remember? he’s a dentist,) was an attendee at the conference, so we got to spend some quality time with him, too!

If you’d like to learn more about The Eco Dentistry Association, click here.

 

Startup Weekend Fargo, March 2013

Startup Weekend is one of the world’s leading catalysts for startup creation and entrepreneurship education.  The model is simple: gather entrepreneurial minded-folks to pitch, build, and present brand new businesses…all within 54 hours.  They call it “experiential learning.”  Startup Weekends happen all over the world, and have inspired more than 30,000 individuals so far.

Needless to say, I was pretty honored that they asked me to be the opening presenter for Startup Weekend Fargo.

To serve as inspiration for the attendees, I spoke about entrepreneurship as a vehicle for solving problems through business.  Specifically, I talked about how Bogobrush is designed to solve several problems: toothbrush design problems, environmental problems, and social problems.  Our goal is to make the world a better, more balanced place, and Bogobrush is a tool to help us achieve that.  I really had a blast presenting to the group, and from what I could tell, the group enjoyed an inside view of our team’s inspiration and motivation.

After I spoke, more than 30 ideas were pitched and voted on by the 70 attendees in order to narrow the list down to a handful of projects that would become the focus of the weekend.

From that point, the attendees formed teams, and worked almost non-stop the remaining two nights and two days.

The weekend concluded with a final event at the Fargo Theatre – a super cool, art deco theater, complete with organist and all!

 

To open the final event, entrepreneur Phil Soran spoke to the audience about his experiences from beginning as a middle school teacher to starting two tech companies that were eventually sold for a total of nearly $1.5 billion dollars.  His story was definitely the inspiration to keep moving an idea forward, because big things do happen when you keep working for it.

After all of the presentations were complete, the winning teams received Startup Weekend beakers.

Of course, I’m sure winning was great, but to me it seemed that the real goal was to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurial hopefuls to learn the nitty gritty of what it takes to start a business. While it may be unrealistic to truly build a working business in a weekend, I’d have to say it seemed like fun was definitely had by all. :) I know I’m glad that I was there to see it.

Thanks so much to J. Alan Paul Photography for the beautiful photos! For more information on Startup Weekend, check it out on Facebook.

Cheers!

Heather

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The Forward on Climate Rally was billed as the largest climate rally in US history,  and with an estimated 50,000 strong marching in solidarity, urging our government to take action on climate change,  it easily lived up to its billing.

525 miles to go - DC, here comes Bogobrush!

only 525 miles to DC!

Political rallies were new territory for me, but I felt it was important as a part of Bogobrush, and as a citizen to speak up for our planet, so I hopped on a bus from Detroit bound for D.C.

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in a sea of 50,000 rally-goers

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 I witnessed people from all over the country; Activists, Scientists, Celebrities, Politicians, both conservative and liberal joining together with an energy that was optimistic and overwhelming.   We didn’t all agree on every point, but we stood together in support of a larger mission.  I still have chants of “Hey, Obama…We don’t want no climate drama!” stuck in my head, and hopefully they will be stuck in the minds of our leaders in Washington and around the world as well.

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I am proud to be a part of a company that isn’t sitting on the sidelines, but working every day to prove that environmental and social values can coexist and drive true economic value.

-John