"I SHOWED UP TO SUPPORT AN ISSUE I CARE ABOUT. I LEFT REFUELED IN MY PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE FOR THE PLANET AND MY FELLOW HUMANS." - Heather McDougall, Bogobrush co-founder and ceo
On April 29th, my husband David and I stepped into the Mall in Washington D.C. for our first ever D.C. march. We had driven from Detroit to march with more than 200,000 other Americans in the People's Climate March. It was the hottest April 29th on record in D.C. - over 90 degress F - and still we all marched, almost further empowered by the unordinary heat, from the Capitol Building, to the White House and then to the rally at the Washington Monument.
When I reflect on that day, my mind floods with ideas for continuing the ripple effect of the march. In the coming weeks and months, I'll work on bringing those ideas to life. My first step is this post to share my experience with you, including: the march, the rally for climate justice, the reminders of my passion and how honored I am to connect with you. Read it all or scroll to pick and choose. :)
The organizers created a nifty line-up guide structured for us to line up with a theme group of our choice. Despite their encouragement to not worry about a perfect fit, I still wondered, "Where do I belong? I'm a woman, but do I belong in the "Creators of Sanctuary" group? What about Dave? Or, maybe I'm a health community member because of Bogobrush and because I teach yoga. Or am I better fit for the general environmental activist group?"
Before the march kicked off, we surveyed the scene by starting at the end of the lineup. The experienced D.C. marchers were obvious with signs rigged up perfectly on poles and backpacks and parachutes with messaging visible from a birds-eye view.
We first nestled into the Keepers of Faith group. We were surrounded by every religion you can think of: Buddhist, Lutheran, Unitarian, Hindu, Islam, Episcopal, Agnostic, and more. Everyone's message was the same: We are stewards of God's creation and must rise to the occasion to protect and honor it. We spent a bit of time with the Defenders of Truth, but as we started to march the groups merged and we saw that the organizers were right: it really didn't matter who surrounded us as long as we showed up.
"WE ARE STEWARDS OF EARTH - GOD'S CREATION - AND WE MUST RISE TO THE OCCASION TO PROTECT AND HONOR IT." - Keeper's of Faith
In the final blocks of the march, we found ourselves behind a group carrying a banner that stretched across the entire road. Their energy was vibrant, their chants were sincere, and their ethnicity diverse. When we reached the end, we walked to the front of the banner and read, "Minnesotans for Climate Justice." This seemed serendipitous since Minnesota is where David and I went to school, got married, and started our adult life together. <3 Aww shucks. :)
Keeper's of Faith marchers
Minnesotans for Climate Justice
People from all walks of life, career, age, and ethnicity were on the street together. No matter the perspective, the goal for this march was clear: Climate Justice.
The reality of climate change is that it disproportionately affects people in poverty and developing nations more than people in wealth and developed nations. Why? Because wealth and development shields people from the immediate affects of a changing climate. For instance, in America, companies can still produce or import food, and ensure access to water and energy regardless of global weather. In poor communities and developing nations, however, the populations are directly impacted by drought and severe weather.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE NEW COLONIALISM
Unfortunately, the problem is made worse because often times companies in developed nations exploit the people and land of poor nations in order to deliver their products to their own wealthy countries. This problem has led many people to suggest that "climate change is the new colonialism."
Rally at the Washington Monument
Rather than choose speakers who are flashy celebrities, organizers of this rally intentionally chose leaders of grassroots movements and organizations around the world. Their perspectives were broad, but my takeaway is simple:
The government isn't always going to prioritize the climate, and most corporations won't prioritize the climate unless it makes economic sense. While these can be a depressing thoughts, I think they're also empowering. They are evidence that, at least in America, people are power and we are capable of unbound influence.
...PEOPLE ARE POWER, AND WE ARE CAPABLE OF UNBOUND INFLUENCE.
After the march, I was eating food truck tacos under the shade of a giant tree when I met a lady who was marching that day for her grandchildren. I learned that she, as a teenager, witnessed first-hand the power of the people while protesting during the Migrant Worker Protests in California in the 1960s. At that time, leader Cesar Chavez helped organize a nationwide boycott of California grapes to put economic pressure on the grape producers to change their practices with the migrant workers. Within weeks, the producers agreed to listen to the workers demands. After five years, the strike resulted in a massive victory and collective bargaining agreement for the workers.
Climate is a massive issue. It's more than fossil fuels, more than CO2 or Methane emissions, and more than any one policy, person, or product. It's the connection between environment and humanity, and between local and global efforts. This can seem daunting at times, but this rally reminded me that it's these connections that inspire me.
"YOU CAN'T BE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST WITHOUT BEING A HUMANITARIAN" - Sahel, band at rally
These are the connections behind our creation of Bogobrush: a product that considers the environment and contributes to social issues. A product that gives me (and you) a choice, a way to contribute to progress.
Bogobrushers, I am honored to connect with you - even if remotely through a toothbrush - and work together in this critical effort for fighting for our climate, for humanity, for our Mother Earth. Let's keep on rocking it, team. We'll get there together!
Above: The head of the march during line-up. Below: fellow-protesters
editorial 2016, hannah kang
Welcome back to our Mind of an Illustrator series with Hannah Kang! In Part 1, we chatted with Hannah about the path that led her to illustration and how it evolved into work for Bogobrush. In this Part 2, we're exposing the inner genius of Hannah's creative process. Enjoy!
HANNAH KANG: The best ideas come to me serendipitously right before going to bed or during my sacred time, in the shower haha! Basically, a moment of genius comes for a visit when it’s not really ideal, when I’m far away from my sketchbook! But these tend to be the best ideas and I can’t ignore them, no matter if I have my PJs on. I would get these flashes of inspiration but this only happens when I’m lucky. Otherwise, I often find myself being creatively constipated, unable to let the creativity flow when I do have my sketchbook open and ready to receive an inspiration. When I’m not so lucky, I try to remedy this by looking at illustrations I admire by other illustrators or pictures, funny lines from movies/books and sometimes, this will allow magical moment to happen and spark an idea.
"BASICALLY, A MOMENT OF GENIUS COMES FOR A VISIT WHEN IT'S NOT REALLY IDEAL; WHEN I'M FAR AWAY FROM MY SKETCHBOOK!"
HK: Yes, almost 99% of the time. :) It all starts from a hand sketch and I’ll either leave it as the rough and loose hand sketch for that authentic charm or crank up my OCD and refine and clean up all those hairy lines by overlaying the scanned drawing and finishing them in a digital format.
nursery animals series, 2013 hannah kang
HK: I am normally terrible at estimating how long/short a project will take. I tend to get overambitious and underestimate the time. Rarely do I overestimate how long a project will take and and to my surprise, end up finishing it in a short amount of time.
HK: Mechanical pencils, tracing paper for producing clean inked line drawing (nib and ink) as an overlay of the original loose pencil sketch, photoshop, illustrator, watercolor brushes, etc.
hitch hiker 2010, hannah kang
HK: The more color, the better it is! I let my inner child go crazy with bright colors! No shame, no holding back :) Typically, I have a pinterest board with color combination I love and will use them as a reference or any packaging design from stores I find that I love. Generally, I love using bright pastel colors because they make me happy when I paint with bright fun colors :)
do the donk 2014, hannah kang
HK: Whimsical, playful and sometimes simple to minimal and sometimes, very detailed.
HK: Besides Bogobrush, I have done some freelance illustrations for other local businesses including art for a drink coaster series and some fun collaborations with my friends at Woodward Throwbacks. I do wedding invitations, too!
woodward throwbacks 2015, hannah kang
wedding invitation 2016, hannah kang
Having these fun wall paper/wrapping paper like illustration pattern on the packaging for a limited edition or something that could be used as a backdrop for promoting Bogobrush in magazine spreads… Or doing any posters for Bogobrush and let my creativity loose!
limited edition prints, 2017 hannah kang
TO LEARN MORE, visit Hannah's website. And, if you love her work, spread the love and share her name. <3
Thank you, Hannah, for your creativity, talent, and Bogobrush love!
Hannah Kang is an illustrator and designer living in downtown Detroit, MI. Born in Lubbock, Texas, she bounced around the world to South Korea, New Jersey, and Paris, France, before landing in Detroit. With this exposure behind her, she has a diverse blend of cultural influences to pull from with her art. Hannah is married to Bogobrush co-founder, John, and we are so proud that she shares her gifts as Bogobrush's illustrator.
In this Part 1 of 2, we're exploring Hannah's path to illustration and how she's channeled that into Bogobrush. In Part 2, we'll go deeper into her process and the genius of her work.
HANNAH KANG: I guess you could say ever since I was little :) I was always drawing as a kid, and dreamed of being a famous painter. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of spending days soaking in every painting at the national art museums in Seoul. But technically, I suppose I knew I was an illustrator when I was studying design at the College for Creative Studies. I was there to study car design, but seeing the work from the illustration department brought me back to those days studying every brush stroke at the museum, and I decided to take an extra year in school to minor in illustration.
HK: Illustration is a simpler and more amusing way to connect to viewers than traditional fine art. To me, it bridges my silly imagination/the message I’m trying to convey easily to the viewers rather than getting too serious like fine art. Of course, it can be serious as well which is why I think it’s more versatile form/expression of Art.
HK: I love a wide range of styles in illustration. I haven’t really come across the styles I really do not resonate with. I’m easy to please despite what my husband thinks ;-) I’m only a harsh critic to myself and maybe to my husband, hah!
limited edition prints, 2017, signed by hannah kang
HK: The simple design form with fun color ways help me come up with whimsical/playful illustrations. Typically, I tend to have an easier and fun time with the process if it’s a brand I resonate with my personal aesthetic taste and Bogobrush definitely falls in that category ;) Because of this, the creativity seems to have flowed pretty easily and thanks to Heather and John who encouraged my silly visions without any restrictions, I was able to come up with something that makes people smile or even giggle!
The very first project I did was during Bogobrush's pre-order campaign in 2013, and it was for a poster series of playful Bogobrush characters. I did another poster series for a Give Tour the company did at the end of 2014. For that series, I explored a different style of illustration. I designed landscapes unique to each city they visited on the tour. The landscapes were so detailed it took a lot of time. I think detail can be fun, though, so it wasn't bad. :)
pre-order campaign poster series, 2013 hannah kang
give tour minnesota poster, 2014 hannah kang
HK: I envisioned fun ways of delivering toothbrushes as if you would see them in an animation/short film. It started off with storks delivering toothbrushes and I thought it was too cliche and overdone. It evolved into my silly imagination of these toothbrushes jumping out of the planes, with a parachute, landing themselves in front of people’s doormat, personifying them as these cleverly skilled squad of toothbrushes, ready to serve the people and their teeth.
"...CLEVERLY SKILLED SQUAD OF TOOTHBRUSHES, READY TO SERVE THE PEOPLE AND THEIR TEETH."
All images courtesy of Hannah Kang.
Helping communities is nurtured into the soul of Bogobrush, and when social good connector, Abel Impact, contacted us about joining them in project for homeless tote bags, we knew it was a perfect project pairing.
ABEL IMPACT is designed to help businesses and families find genuine solutions for giving back in ways that match each business's or family's unique values. Founder, Bailey Von Tassel believes if we act with generosity and soul, businesses will connect better with customers and employees, and families will build a meaningful legacy for generations to come.
The team at Abel Impact chose to showcase a DIY homeless tote project as an example of something we can do in offices and families to connect to each other and create something that makes a real difference. Each item was chosen intentionally by the team to fulfill two key philosophies:
The Abel Impact team knew they needed to provide items that are actually useful to a person in homeless circumstances. Not just what sounds good, but what experts say are needed.
For instance: SOCKS. When feet get wet and are exposed to the elements, they are extremely susceptible to injury, and an injured foot disrupts a chain of health and survival problems.
Other items included:
This project is meant to inspire us all to act, and to show that giving back doesn't need to be complicated. We all have tools around us to participate and share.
We are so happy to connect with Abel Impact through this project, and we love their use of other products with social and environmental pursuits. Giving back with products who give back. What a beautiful circle. :)
You can learn more about this project on the Abel Impact blog.
All photos are courtesy of Abel Impact.
Through Bogobrush, we have met some amazing people all around the world who care about people's smiles as much as us:) Christina Min, the founder of With My Toothpaste in South Korea is someone we have loved partnering with. With My makes natural vegan toothpaste with fun flavors, beautiful packaging, and a mission to give back. Give 'em a try!
So often, we meet folks from other countries via email, text or skype, but never get a chance to meet face to face, but when my wife and I made the trip to Seoul over the Holidays, Christina was kind enough to show us around her neighborhood and talk oral health for an afternoon.
We have long believed that collaboration is more powerful than competition, and we continue to be inspired by the awesome people and companies we meet everyday that share that belief. Together we can change the world!
Weddings are one of those times in life where people put their heart and soul into creating a day filled with personal touches and symbols for the values they hold together.
The couple crafted a gift bag for their guests that was perfectly suited for their day. They've generously shared photos and stories with us, and we are thrilled to share them with you.
David and Kate were married at Blair Academy, a boarding school in New Jersey, founded in 1848. It's a special place because David is an alum, and his father has taught there for more than 30 years. As such, the family has long connections to the campus, even down to memories of eating in the cafeteria together.
The school opened its campus on this special occasion and allowed the wedding party to use all facilities, including the dormitories for all wedding guests. Enter Bogobrush. :)
Kate and David are creative professionals, and so are most of their wedding guests. As designers, the couple wanted their guests' gifts to fit the dorm room theme, while coming from companies who share their passion for sustainable design. So inside hand-sewn toiletry bags with vintage film stills ironed-on the front, the bride & groom gave their friends the gift of clean teeth and fresh breath, sustain-ably.
From the sounds of the feedback, their guests loved it!
"It's just like them to pull off some personal-crafty thing like this"
"Typical Kate-finding sustain-ably sourced Dorm-kit items"
And, what a bride! Bogobrushin' and capturing it on camera. <3
KATE is an industrial designer with a focus on sustainable product engineering, and a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art. DAVID is a published illustrator and a creative director at Havas, NYC. Kate and David live in Brooklyn.
Your wedding looks beautiful, David and Kate. A million congratulations to you.
Thanks for including us!
Recently, I was strolling through Flipboard when I saw a headline about oral health from Refinery29. I clicked on it, naturally, and nothing was new to me until Slide 8. "Gasp." On that slide I read that menstruation affects oral health. OK, so maybe not gasp worthy, but it was curious news to me. So, I investigated and am sharing my findings with you lovely lady, (and interested gentleman,) Bogobrushers.
On the face of it, that fact doesn't seem too serious. However, if you're not a vigilant teeth-brusher and flosser, the bacteria that live between your gums and your teeth can get further trapped when your gums get inflamed. And, as you've likely heard before, trapped bacteria leads to infection, and infection in your gums can lead to nasty things like heart disease and bone loss.
Certainly, brush and floss every day. And keep your toothbrush fresh so the bristles are at their best for you and your mouth. (*cough*...subscribe to Bogobrush for fresh brushes without hassle. *cough*) ;)
Assuming your brushing and flossing habits are good, maybe take a bit of additional advice from Susan Karabin, D.D.S., a past president of the American Academy of Periodontology, **
"Although it's always important to maintain healthy oral habits, try to be even more diligent about brushing twice a day and flossing daily right before your period to keep your gums as clean as possible."
So, there you have it. Slide 8 was right. And, perhaps, we're all a bit wiser for it.
- Heather, co-founder/ceo of Bogobrush
* In 2012, a smart gal named Charlene Krejci, along with some other smart folks, conducted a study on this while she was associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.
** Women's Health Magazine wrote an article with an interview of Dr. Karabin here.
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.