Googling to start her oral care business with Bite Co-Founder Lindsay McCormick
Joining me on the show today is Lindsay McCormick, Co-Founder of Bite.
Bite is on a mission to upend the personal and oral care industry with innovative products that are made with the planet in mind. Started by Lindsay McCormick in her living room and after launching their viral toothpaste tablets in 2018, they have since expanded to offer the first and only 100% plant based and plastic free oral care set - Bite is here to make your daily routine more sustainable with products that are plastic-free, cruelty-free, made with effective, clean ingredients, one smile at a time.
The most common review the brand receives is "It's weird at first but now I'm obsessed”.
In this episode we’re covering how Lindsay started her business in her living room, taking online chemistry classes and googling ‘how do people make drugs’, why she turned down offers on SharkTank from Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary, and the lessons she’s been learning along the way.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Lindsay: Definitely so. My name is Lindsay McCormick and I'm the founder and CEO of Bite. We make plastic free personal care. We started with toothpaste tablets
And I started
It in my living room in twenty eighteen and
We now have
Grown. We're available online and in some
Retail stores as well.
Doone: Amazing. I always want to go back to life before you started the business to find out what you were up to and what even got you thinking about starting a business in the first place.
Yeah. So I did
Not really expect to start a
Business. I was traveling
All the time. I was a TV producer before I
Started by which meant
I was on a plane every other week and I was flying to all these different destinations for shoots and traveling on only because only there a few days. And I've always been super passionate about the environment.
I was before that
Even I was a snowboard director.
I was out on mountains
And in the ocean all the time, kind of seeing the plastic problem and what we need to do to really step up conservation. And so I was traveling and I had gotten my kit all down where I had my shampoo bottle that I could refill and my conditioner bottle that I could refill on my face wash. And I was throwing out these little toothpaste tubes every single shoot. And I was just like, this feels so wasteful.
And I feel like I've done so
Much with the rest of my stuff, like, why can't I figure out toothpaste?
And so I started looking
Tooth powder and other to use tablets that were on the market, but they were all in plastic. And so that was the beginning
Process for me. It was like, OK, I want this so I can take it on shoots for my job. I'm going to start making it.
And then from
That I was like, well, if I'm going to be making it for myself, it needs to be as
Safe as possible. And that's when I started looking into the ingredients and most toothpaste. And I was just like, wow,
This is absurd.
I was like, I've spent more time looking at what's on the back of my
Shampoo bottle than I have ever even looked at the back of my toothpaste
Tube. And turns out there was a bunch of stuff in there that I was
Like, I don't like that
In my body every day, you know? And so
Taking online chemistry classes
And talking with
Dental hygienist and
Starting making the first like iterations of what
In my toaster oven at that
Time. So that's kind of how
It all started.
And I definitely did not set out
To make a business. But after I started investing in these, like machinery and time, I was like,
Well, I might as well sell
This on Etsy and Shopify and see if
Other people want. It would be great if I did, but I
Figured it would just be for like me and my friends. And then from
How it all
Started and kind of just
Grew into what
We are today. That is
So cool. I love that you were taking online chemistry classes
Understand what you needed to put in it. Can we just talk about how you actually go about in those early iterations of what you were doing? How do you actually make. A toothpaste bite, and when you say machinery, what do you mean?
It's a really good question.
So it's changed. So at first it was I mean, this was literally
Like me in
My I say lab, but it was really our dining room that I turned to my
Lab and I would just
Sit there all night and I was
Researching, you know, different ingredients
And what I could use. And I would go down to Whole Foods and I would go by. They had
Different things. They're like Xyloto and Urethral,
Which I couldn't find a normal grocery
Store. I got a lot of
Of Amazon, like just went on there and got off
Amazon. Then there's a website called Chemistry Connection that has
Different like a little like
Surfactants and things like homing pigeons. So I was just buying these little samples of things that I could try and I'd put them in mason jars and I was mixing them together to figure
Out what felt
Tasted good, what worked when I clean my teeth
With it. Good.
And the machinery at first
I didn't want to
Buy a tablet machine.
Bits are toothpaste, tablets are dry, dry,
Tablets, and they're made by being pressed in a tablet machine. And those machines are I mean, it is an entire career to know how to work those machines like it's a whole
And they're very expensive. And so I was like, I have a machine I want to. So I bought a pastry
Kit and I was
Trying to take the powders I was making and mixing it with a little bit of coconut oil or these different things and pipe it out of a pastry
These little balls, kind
Of like the candidates. It was like a dot
On paper, like I was trying to like I was like, maybe I could do
This and I can bake it.
And I set my toaster oven on fire and I was like, I can't bake it. And so then I was like, OK, fine, I have to I have to invest this machine. And so it was a thousand dollars, which
Looking back, that was nothing to start a business. But at the time this was a hobby and just trying to solve this problem for myself. So I was kind
Of like, am I getting
Obsessed with this? Like, what am I doing everything so much time and why am I going to be buying this equipment? So I bought I finally did. I bought the equipment and I
Actually bought it originally.
It was a TDP zero and
As a machine.
And to even find out what kind of tabloidy machine I had to spend time on Reddit and I was actually looking up how to
Make drugs because I
Was like, oh my God. Yeah, because I need to figure out how to your landlord must have been like, what is going on in the kitchen.
There is for sure, like
Watch list of my search history because I was like, how do you make tablets? And everything I was finding was just like these huge like hundred thousand
Things. And I was like, I need to know how to make it in my living room. And I was like, who makes tablets in their living room?
And I was like, people who make their living.
So I was like, I was on Reddit
In like the deep, deep holes
Of Reddit. And I was like, OK, I need to be five. I need a binding agent, I need stuff. And so I started. That's literally how it started.
And so I got a machine
From a company in Texas.
And the guy,
He was just starting out with his business as well. So he was super helpful, would get on the phone with me. And that's how I learned
How to tablet and
Holy moly, that is such a cool beginning's story. Wow. And so at that point, I guess buying the machine really made you be like, okay, well, it can't just be for me. I'm going to try and as you said, put it on Etsy. What were your friends and family saying at this point? Would they like into the idea? Were you validating it through them or what
Was the vibe? Yeah, so
I really leaned on friends and family at first.
So I again, to my background
As a TV producer. But then before that I was a surf instructor and instructor. So like active lifestyle, people who really care about the planet and want our kind of more into things, that could be more weird, I guess, because they're
Just like a different type of it's not like the typical
Nine to five or so. I was like, hey, what do you guys think? So I was sending out and I actually still have I printed up surveys where it was like, what do you think of the taste one through five? What do you think of the texture? One through five. And I would press I would hand
Out these bits and I would send
To family, friends.
I would take them to work at my TV producing job. And I would hand it out and be like, what do you guys think, Ed?
I got a lot of really important feedback.
I mean, at first it didn't taste as good and I was
Able to give a lot more
That because I was making it.
So it's like my baby was like, it's fine, just fine. But then someone else
Gets in there like, no, this is not
This is not good. And so I'm not going to eat this. This is not going to make me switch. I don't care how much plastic I'm saving. And so it was one of those things where it was definitely,
I surveyed friends and family,
But that's it. You know, like there
Were no major focus groups. I think I sent it
Out to, like, ten of my friends
Who were all here in L.A. and started going
Off of that. And then.
Yeah, so that's kind of how that started.
And then when you started putting things up on Etsy, was it those friends buying or did just random people on the Internet start finding you on
Etsy as well?
Yeah, so I put it up and then I actually took it down from ETSI because then it started there and then I put it on Shopify because Shapefile was able to
Make a site. And like
For me, I don't have a
Tech background. My boyfriend,
Who now is my co-founder, does which I'll get into that.
But at first my first Shopify
Site was literally
Like photos from my iPhone of my
Like on a template. It was not
It did not look great.
Like it was
Just like this is what we got. And most
Of the people who bought from me at first were I recognized
Every single name and
I had put it up on Facebook. I had put it up on like I was talking to people.
And I'm not
Necessarily a shy person, but I'm not like a
Very big like this is me
And what I'm doing person. So there was a lot of I had to get
Over that and the way
That I would think about it, like I didn't want to
Post on my Facebook,
I didn't want to do this. It felt very
Weird. But I saw it as like, this is something that's so important to me.
Like the background of it is just like
Learning about the
Ingredients and the billion toothpaste tubes that end up in our landfills every year. And just being so motivated
That I was like, this is my job and
I need to get over my shyness and just post. So I was posting and it
Felt very honestly, it felt
Weird. It time felt very
Self self pushing out,
You know. And I was like, this is strange, but
I did it. And so the
First customers were all friends
And family. And I
Still remember the first time where I saw someone's
Name or I was like and then I looked on
And I was like, no, I
Don't know that person. And I was just like, oh, my gosh. Like, how how did this happen? And so I still remember when it started kind of crossing that chasm.
And how do you think it crossed? Was it like word of mouth or did you start seeing that because the more you were posting and the more you were putting out that you were starting to spread the net a bit wider?
I think it was. So this was back in twenty eighteen, which doesn't feel like that long ago, but it really was a million years ago, an Internet age and the vegan and
Zero waste blogging
Community was very, very
Small. And like those influencers
Now were they had like a few thousand followers. Right. So they were looking for things. They were, they were looking for products just like mine. And so I and I'm vegan. I've been doing for a long time. So a lot of my friends on Facebook and Instagram are also vegan. So then they started post and also zero waste or low waste. So when they started posting about it, that then
Got these kind of newer
Zero waste vegan bloggers interested and then they wrote
Blog post on it. And then that's
How I started getting on their radar. And so it was still like very small,
Very tight knit of two
Communities that I happened to naturally already be in who then started
Writing about it. And that's yeah, that's how it started.
And so at that point, are you talking like a few hundred sales? Are you talking a few thousand sales?
Yeah. So I
It was like I
Think my first year
In like the whole
Year was like six thousand dollars in sales, which for me I was like, that's amazing. Totally. Yeah. And so it was and it was all through word of mouth. And then what happened
Is that through that word
Of mouth we ended up having a video on Facebook go
Viral, which then just
It had over two million views in about two days. We did over two hundred thousand, which I know we
Like to do to two over over two hundred
Thousand dollars in sales from just the first few days of this.
And I was like, OK, I was
Still making this in
My living room. So I was like,
I need business insurance, like I
Do business as usual. So how do I fulfill these orders?
I manufacture like I need everything. And so that's
Really what propelled our company into a totally
Different thing. It shows the power of social media, but then also the fact that so many people wanted an alternative and they just needed to be exposed to it. And so I think that was the beginning
Of like that
Trajectory. And there are a lot of companies that go viral and then kind of go away. So the next thing is we went viral.
We got to get the
Product out to
People and I've got to like, really figure out how to
A business. And we do this like yesterday.
That was in twenty eighteen.
So I started this in twenty seventeen. But that was the year
That I did like six thousand dollars,
But it was in my living room and I was still working
Full time to so. And was
The video something that you published and put out there or was this the video
That was by
Women's Health magazine and they published it. How did that come about?
So at that point I had we had been featured
By a good
Amount of zero waste and vegan bloggers. So they we had made some of their gift lists. We were actually in some gift sets that they were wanting to sell of like plastic free Christmas gift sets in twenty, seventeen. And so we were starting to really find our footing in that zero waste. And so
It was basically
From there I had made some videos, I had done some content about
How to how to live
This lifestyle and why it's important and everything. And from
That, we had like a producer
Was like, hey, we're looking for women's businesses that are making a difference. Can you send me some? And it was like literally iPhone footage that I shot at six in the morning before I left for a shoot.
I wasn't really even wearing makeup, like my hair was a disaster. Like, I had no idea that this was going to go off over the Internet.
And then, yeah, that's kind of how it all started.
And so obviously, that's the tipping point where you're like, holy moly, this is the real thing.
Now, like, as you said, I've
Got to find a manufacturer. I've got to, like, figure this actually out. What are the steps then? How did you find your manufacturer? What was the kind of manufacturer you wanted to work with?
Yeah, that's a great
So it's you know, there's like
The beginning of the business when you're doing it all of yourself in your living room, which I'm sure so many people are in.
And that's such a great space.
Like when I look back on those times,
Just like so happy and it felt like I was making art and I was playing around with these different powders and I was just really in love with the process. And I didn't feel rushed. I wasn't trying to compete with anybody.
It was just like little art project.
Then once that
Happened, we now have customers
And expectations and we need consistency and we need to get it out and it needs
To become a business. So the first
Thing I did
Was honestly like what's always
Been important to me
We're in the process right now, becoming a big corp. And so I want business to make things better for people. So I was like, I want to stay in L.A. area. I want to support the community that I'm in.
Meant finding manufacturers
That I could go in
And meet and know and support other small businesses. So that really significantly cut down who
I could work with. But it also made
Things really easy and simple. Right, because that means I'm just finding someone in my own neighborhood. So it was Google going on, Google going on Thomas
Searching it myself and making phone calls and finding that at this
Point my co-founder, who's
My boyfriend, had jumped in and now he had a business background. He had run a few tech startups. So not in CPG, but at least the
Idea of business.
And so he really he had done all of the
That was now known for, like anything that was
Kind of like green and hippie,
You could tell was mine. And then as soon as he came in, he really took it to the next
Level, if you like, backgrounds, design
And business. And so he was kind of managing that side. And then I was managing the how do we get
Product out the door type
Situation. So anyone
Who is in a position, it's Googling,
Making phone calls and then a lot of no's. Oh, my gosh. No one wanted to work with me. Like, even though I had I had this weird
Product that had been made before that
I had orders
Out so many orders
That I need to get out the door.
And they were just like, we don't want
To take this business. We're not fly,
Though, because a
Lot of manufacturers just want to do exactly what they
Already know how to do. And this was something new.
And it was like for them to be like, I have to like learn how to make this new formula. And then, of course, it worked on my pressies, but
They need to use it for
There like a hundred thousand dollar presses that are
Pressing out thousands
In a minute. So it's like they have to figure out, like, how are
We going to make this work for
In the formula work for us.
So it was a lot
Knows a lot of a lot of
Things where I thought it was going to work out at the very end,
Didn't you know? And then just
Being like, OK, I just got to keep I got to keep
Getting us. They got to keep going.
And so, yeah, that was
The that was
That time. And then
Once we locked in with a manufacturer, we also got like we were still hands stamping
Our boxes, like our boxes
That had the branding. Like my boyfriend I like we rented a U-Haul and we were in the back of a U-Haul trying to hand stamp these boxes.
We'd have room in where we
Live to do this. And so it was
But then once you get one thing in
Place, you stop
Drowning, right. And then you can get the next thing in place and the next thing in place.
How long was that process of finding the manufacturer and getting them to see your vision and to commit to changing the equipment and using your formula instead of the formula and that kind of thing?
It was a month and a half.
Yeah, OK, quite quick turnaround.
Yeah, but that
Was like my full
This is what I'm doing. But actually that's not
True because I still was working full time at that time because I hadn't quit
My job until oh
My gosh, I'm
Going viral so.
Yeah. And I would like head of my department
At a bit making
Tv. So like I didn't want to just leave them in.
I don't want to
Be like out guys. Like, I really liked where. There and I like to I worked with and I wasn't going to leave them in a bad spot, and so I had to train the new girl like I to bring the person in and train them and get them all up to date on my episodes.
And then I finally left and then
Did the phase out. Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Crazy. Wow. That sounds like a really interesting time. So much fun. So many challenges when you had that kind of exponential growth overnight growth overnight change step change in your business. I imagine you also needed to keep that momentum going and capitalize on that. So how did your marketing evolve and what were you doing to keep acquiring new customers and keep that kind of momentum going?
That's the biggest thing, right? Because there's companies that go viral and then got their done. And so
For us, I knew we in terms of marketing,
I knew we had
To have a good product. That was the
First thing, because if we got the product out to everybody and it was
Bad, that's a gigantic
Problem. So I knew that that was going to be incredibly important. I also
Knew it also
Then became a game of
How do we keep
The momentum going. So at that
We had gotten really lucky because once that video went
Viral, all these other outlets
Wanted to get a piece of that as well. So we ended up doing we were one of business insiders. Twenty two inventions that are saving the world. We were became attentions like most cared about video in twenty nineteen. So they basically what happened is once we had that video
Go viral, I had all this inbound and they were
Like, hey, can we come to your factory? Can we do this, can we do that cleared of all this stuff. So it was kind of like managing that and being on
Top of, you know, trying to
Find a manufacturer and getting everything in place
Was then like, yes, I can do that
Interview. Yes, I can. We can do this. Yes, you can do that. Because we knew
That, like, when things are going, you need to go with it.
And so it was kind of
Like just do whatever you
Do to keep that momentum going. And then in the meantime, we
Had a Facebook pixel setup.
So it had been we are gathering information
Customers. And I have like
I'm still to this day in
The DMS of our Instagram, like I'm not the only one responding, but like I'm on there. I'm seeing it because I want to know what our customers think.
I want to know where they are. And I also want to know where they're where they're going
And what's new media they're on. So for us,
It's we started as viral. We wanted to keep the megaphone up as long as we could. And then
That, I just
Have a good understanding of our customer and be able to meet them
Where they are anywhere, whether it's on the Internet
Or in real life, like where are
They and how do we have that relationship with them and where are
They today? Like, what's the what's the kind of biggest growth drivers for you now
With your owned channels?
So we're still, you know, we're experimented, right? I think things are changing so much. And I think that the best thing any brand could be doing right now
New things and trying to be different and not following. Everyone is obviously Facebook and Instagram. We're huge for us. We were made on Facebook, but I think talk is so cool and so interesting. And I love, like how it really focuses
On, you know, the non polished and the like, the
Humor and learning, which is just things that the backbone of bite and something that I've always wanted was like we're here to like save the world. But like we want to
Have a fun time
Doing it. And we want to be able to be self-deprecating and we want to be able to be real.
And so I love to cook.
I think it's great. I think YouTube is great. I think it's been around for forever. We've had success on that as well. And so I
Think it's you know, so many
Have it's really
Easy to get caught in the pay to
Play of Facebook and
Instagram where it's like you put money in and you get money out. But I think that experimenting and trying
To do new
Things, even though sometimes at first they don't pan out like you look at
Something and you're like,
This does not look like it's working.
But you if you keep going, if you're
Like, no, I have faith that our customers
There, we're just not doing
You know, it's you
Can find new channels that other brands maybe have
It at that time.
Yeah, totally. Gosh, that's so true. Tick-Tock is just I also love to talk. It's so much fun, so creative. The editing suite is just fab, I think in comparison
To what Instagram
Has done with Rails. And even I find like when a video doesn't necessarily perform well for myself, I just love it so much to be able to look at that video. We're really happy with that.
It's a fun, creative process.
It is. And from
As a brand like, it's so
Cool to be able
To make that kind
Of content know, we're
Just kind of like silly and we like to jump on trends. And and that's the thing to like understanding. If everyone's doing something, you probably want to start looking somewhere else. And so for Tick-Tock, it's like no one really
Had become a thing when we
Hopped on it, like at the beginning of this year,
It was everyone was like, oh my God,
Everyone, a tick tock is like twelve years old or something. And we were like, we don't care. Like it's a cool platform, it'll be fun. And I think that really paid off because now it's like we have a
Good amount of what is it called on to
Describe it, like we have all of us followers and there's a good impact.
And direct sales are definitely come from DeCock. Amazing.
And at some point you go on Shark Tank. I'm super excited to talk about that, talk about what happened and how that came about.
So Shark Tank is so fun. I never thought we'd go on Shark Tank, so that was definitely a first. When it first went viral, we were reached out to by the cast and producers, which is a very normal thing, where there if your business is kind of getting attention, they'll be like, hey, do you want to apply? And you go through the same casting process as everybody else. You have no better chance if you were reached out than if you apply. But it's just like there. That's something that they do. And it was twenty eighteen and I was like, absolutely not. My company is like, I cannot even
This whole thing right
Now, so was like, we cannot
Let's maybe next time.
So then the following
Season is the one that we ended up auditioning for. And it
Is it's like an intense
Process. And I think what people what I didn't even think about the fact is that everybody who's going on Shark Tank is literally running their business at the same time.
So it's not
In a void. It's like we're figuring out how to make
The set while we're
Also making sure that our orders are getting out on time and like writing.
And so it was it's so intense.
And at the
Time we were well, we are.
So we were like
A team of three. Right.
And so and we're still super small. So when Asher and I are focusing
On stuff for Shark Tank, it meant that it's not like we're
Not focusing on the business. It just means we're now focusing on
Sharks and the business.
And so and for every single person who goes up there.
And it gave me even so
Respect for the
Entrepreneurs who go on there when their businesses are struggling
It's like we went on there. And best case scenario, like our business
Is, was going crazy.
And so we were
Out there being like, we want a shark to make us even better, not
To save our business, but like, man, I think about those entrepreneurs who go on there while they're running this business that maybe is having a hard time and like that's
So gutsy and so
Cool of them to not cool, but just so inspiring of
Them to be like, I'm still going
To take on this beast and get up there and do this. So it gave me a whole new respect for the show.
But also, like, I was crazy.
It was quite the experience. We're lucky because we live in L.A. and it shoots
Here in L.A. And so
For us, it wasn't this huge
As it could have been for some people. If you had to fly in from Milwaukee or something like, I think that would be way more stressful. But we we went on there with our mission like we've forever been a mission driven brand.
And I had
Watched every single shark tank episode. By the time we went
We sat and took notes, I had whiteboards
In our place.
I was like, there's no way that I'm going to be
Not know something for the sharks. And it was really great because as soon as the lights went on, like my lights went out, like I like basically blacked out. Like everything that happened on stage, I don't remember.
It was like total fight
Or flight, just like automatic response type situation. And I went we went on there with
To start a
Partnership. So we didn't
Go on there to negotiate or lowball, like we went on there with what we thought was fair. And I really
Wasn't going to move far from that. Like, I think looking back, probably if we wanted
To really push to make a deal, we would want to start it off low. So there was room to negotiate, but
We didn't I didn't
Want to do that. That's not how I wanna start a partnership. I want to be fair. Like, this is what's fair.
And so we ended up getting offers
From both Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary,
But more than what
We were, what we would be willing to go for. So we turned them down.
And looking back, it was the right move because it's we're doing well.
So I'm glad that we didn't end up giving away a lot more than what we what we were being asked to.
Gosh, how exciting. And what was the impact of that on your business after it aired? What happened?
So there is the
Shark tank bump is definitely real. So anybody who goes on shark tag as soon as your episode airs, it's
Just like you can it it's real.
And then there's like a halo, right?
Because there is reruns and it's
Like sometimes it will rerun another country. So there's definitely the bump and then small little spurts.
But for us, we were totally prepared because
We had gotten our butt kicked so bad when we went viral that there is no way
Already I was like, we
Need we're going to double up. Like, there's just I was very, very, very prepared. So the bump that happened was
Great, but totally expected and like
Nothing that really threw us for a loop. We had everything ready. And so that was that was good. And then once it
Comes, it's gone, you know,
Like we get depressed from it, which is cool. But it's not like that's going to make your business really. I mean, unless you get a deal with, like an amazing shark and then they make your business. But it's not like
It's going to make your
Business or anything.
But it is a nice little nice little bump. And it sounds like
Such a fun experience to have been part of it and to see yourself up there hustling for your business.
Love it just real quick, too. I think a good practice for anybody who's starting a business is imagine that you're going to be on Shark Tank because that was such a helpful
Thing where I
Had to look at my business and be like, why would someone want invest in this? Because we're bootstrapped. I've never had to do an investor vehicle. So it's like when you look at it and you take a step
Back, it's like what is cool
Is what is good about. And this is what are my numbers like? Why would someone want to invest? And so I think and like and. How do I make this into
A like six minute presentation,
Which is what you need to do for marketing, so it's kind
Of like, you know, it's
A really good practice whether you're going to be on a show or not to think if you're standing up there in front
Of the sharks, what are you going to say? Because that's kind of what you need to do to go day to day.
Totally. That's a really good piece of advice, I guess, like really honing in and nailing your pitch essentially for anyone who could potentially invest in you, especially. When you look back over the last few years, you've obviously had incredible success, incredible growth. What do you think you attribute that success to and what is your superpower?
I think our
Is one hundred percent attributed to the changing
Ideas of our customer
Base. So our business
Could have never
Existed 10 years ago. And I
Don't and I don't think
That it's one
Hundred percent because people like customers, our customers have
Been like, I want
To make this change. We are we make. So we started off with our 085 tablets. It's a little tiny tablet. It comes in a glass jar with an aluminum lid and then refills are sent to you and composable pouches. Every single thing about this is more expensive than conventional toothpaste, right? Like we have glass, we have aluminum, we have high quality ingredients like everything.
And so for someone to be like, I'm going
To make this choice because I care about what I'm putting my body. I care about what it's doing to the planet that
Dictated to them wanting and
Caring about these things.
And there's nothing that I could do as a business person to make them care or not care. I can tell them the story. I can tell them the problem. I can explain to them. But then ultimately it's up
To them is do I want to do this or not?
So I think the fact
That we exist is just a gigantic and inspiring testament to how
Different things are. And I think that also is why none of the big guys like we call big plays like the big two faced. None of them did this right. Like when you look at toothpaste, it's one of the most competitive
Industries on the
Planet. There's so many it's like literally
Is used in business books. I didn't know until after this as showing
Like there's so
Many different types of toothpaste and
None of a matter like
This is the
Whole thing about like it's just there's so
And they didn't think
To make something that was higher quality or in a more sustainable way because they didn't think
People would care and they didn't
See that working out for their bottom line. And I think
Like for me to
Be able to start this in my living room with six thousand dollars and
For it to explode the
Way that it did is just shows
Like, OK, not only do they care, but they care a whole lot. They care enough to share it with their
Family and their friends and post about it. And so I think
That's totally why
I've been able to
Do what I've been able to do.
And I forgot the rest of your question is
What your superpower is. What do you think your superpower is?
I think maybe greats like grittiness, like it's to start a
Business and to keep doing a business, you need to be pretty relentless
And like kind of Teflon
Like at the beginning. And just the amount of
At the very beginning when I was making this in
My living room, it was like really hard. I don't know, chemistry. To learn chemistry. It was really like and that's what I did instead of going
Out with my friends and
Like, that's what this
Whole idea of being
Like. This is what I
Want to do.
And so I'm going
To do it. I think is is that and like everything goes wrong still goes wrong.
I mean, even when things are going so right, it's the things that are going so wrong. And and it's like the ability
To be like I'm
Going to be through this, I think is is just so
Important. And I think something that
And it wasn't my superpower
I'm honing the skill that I
Think that's what I'm at right now. I love that. Love that.
Are you able to share a little bit about where the business is today in terms of how many customers or subscribers, if that's public information and what's coming, what's next?
Yeah, so like this
Year alone, we've like over two hundred percent growth
And our subscribers
Have three or
Four acts at this point. I need to do one ours. Yeah.
So it's been it's real and it's significant.
Yeah. But I think
For us it's more about being able
To be the leader
In this part of the industry and our little tiny
Of the industry and continuing to push things in a more sustainable direction. So it's what we've really focused in on is kind of making
Iteration of our product just better and better and
Better and getting that word of
Mouth. So even though, of course, we're buying Facebook and Instagram ads and everything, but we still have an insane
Word of mouth when you look at
Like what our customer acquisition cost is versus what other companies our size is, it's so low it doesn't make sense. And it's because
We're able to do
That because we have a product that
People are like, I love this and I want to talk about this.
And so that's kind
Of something for us.
And the another
Thing, too, about
Numbers and again, we don't want growth. We want sustainable
Like in the earth friendly
Way, but also in
The we want to make
Sure that everything we're doing is still putting our customer first and making sure that,
Still are getting
Like the best, like we're still
Making our product better and better and better instead of
Going after more and
More and more customers and taking care of the ones that we have and with
Our continuing to have, well, higher retention
Rates, declining attrition rates and those kind of things. And so I think for
Me and for us, like our plan for one, it's always
Changing. Right? So our plan in twenty twenty
Was we were gearing up to
Go retail in a little bit more of a
Way and then it
Happened and we were
Like, okay, that's not
Going to happen anymore. And it's being able to improvise. And so we're looking at a twenty, twenty one.
At new products and not just out of the oral care space, but making sure that every single thing that we do and that we make
Is incredibly intentional and
Not just adding more
Stuff. Right. And I think
That a lot
Of like in the pursuit of unsustainable growth, a lot
Of companies will just start
Products because they're like our customers will buy it. We're just going to add it. And you're like, but what does the world really need it? And I think that
For us, it's
Definitely just adding things
Like, yes, it's a need, yes, customers want it. It's something that the world
Needs, like it's a more sustainable alternative to what's out there. And it's something that we can do
The best, because if we can't check all those
Three boxes, we don't have any
That on. So we've been very, very, very intentional
About our growth and how we go about it, both in twenty, twenty
Twenty one. Amazing.
What advice do you have for women who have a big idea and want to launch their own company?
Do it and don't wait. So I
Think one of the biggest
Things that I
Get from people is that they're waiting
For they want to get an
Investor or they want to get a business partner or
They want to get all these different
Things. And I
Think, you know, it's you're going to be waiting a
Long time. And I don't know if it's something if there's something that you want to do.
And I can
Only speak for consumer product goods. Right. Because I what I make is a physical product. So we make
It I sell it on
Shopify and the money's
In my account two days
Later. Right. So it's an
Immediately once you
Get your startup cost out, it's a cash flow
Positive business as long as you're running
It correctly. And it's one of those
Things that if you want to start,
There's going to be really, really. Hard, but it's it's worth doing that, I think, if that's really what you want to do and something that I try to tell people to is to see their nine to five
As an investor in their company, because like when I look
At my my job in TV, I would work
At that all day
And all night. It's pretty demanding job. But then I would come home and I would
Work on bike every night. And it's like there was
No like, oh, I get to quit my day job and do it full time. And I think until, like, I had already gone viral. And I think that that really helped. Like looking back in two very important ways. Like one is that you're kind of building like when your company is young, it's this little baby bird and you're just trying to feed it and protect it and keep it safe and grow. And if you're making money from your day job, you're able to just do that in a very pure way. And I think as soon as you quit your day job and you need to feed yourself from this
Baby bird, it becomes
Totally upside down. And it's like I can't put myself in that position because I can't imagine that I would be so stressed. The magic of bite
Would have been lost.
I would have actually killed the Big Bird. And so it was
This whole it's like
Being able to
Nurture this little
Company and then work your
Day job while you're doing it. And then
That also is super helpful for the work ethic that you're going to need once the company takes off, because
It's not like a best case
Your company goes really well like that, just as more work for you
That you're managing a team and you're managing a company. And it's no longer
To five like this is now your all consuming life, especially the beginning of your company when it's a true startup
And you have to
Be you have to be OK with that. So I think that whole idea
Of sticking with your day job as much as you don't want to hear
That and appreciating it as the investor in your business, every dollar I
Made at my day job was the only money
I had for my business for
The first year and then just really appreciating that. And then
When things start taking off, like you've really flex that work
Muscle. And yeah, I think that that's it worked for me.
Absolutely. Great point of view. Great point of view. I also wanted to ask you I forgot to ask earlier, how did you secure your Instagram handle? Did you get lucky just being the right time or did you have to buy it or something?
We did not buy it. So it was
No way. Wow.
Yeah. So I think
So Instagram periodically does this. By the way, if there
Is a handle
Someone is just sitting
On and not
Using it at all, Instagram will I guess they'll
Send whoever owns
That like a few messages
And being like wires saying that they can handle and then they'll release it into the wild. And so because we
Had like we had bite
To it and we then had
The trademark for bite, we trademarked bite in toothpaste.
And so then it was like we asked Instagram like, hey, like no one literally like no one had posted to this thing ever. And so we were like, can you look into who owns this?
And if we could whatever.
And I don't even know who we would talk to an Instagram with that. But then so they started that process.
And that's something that I mean, you can see like celebrities
Do that and brands
Do that, but it's in
Instagram's best interest
To have active domains.
And so if
And to anybody who is
Just sitting on domains, it's really good to know that, like, if you're not using it and contributing to the community, it's part of their community guidelines, they'll basically release that back into the wild.
That's so good to know. Really interesting. Oh, thanks. Yeah, we are up to the six quick questions. I'm aware that our time is creeping up on us, so I will be Speedie. Question number one is what's your y
Wanting to protect the planet
From the beginning of everything? So when I first started, I would watch the documentary Plastic Ocean whenever I felt really discouraged, which is so sad. It's a really sad documentary, but like I would watch it and then I cry my eyes out and I be
Like, OK, back to
Work. And it's the it's the idea
That we really
Need to make some changes.
And it really will be the outsiders,
The the girls
Who are learning chemistry in their living room, who are
The ones who will
Take on these
Problems. And I think that for me,
That's that that is trying to protect the planet and
Proving that you can do business good. Right. You can do good choices and make
Good choices and
Still be successful. And I think that that's what inspires me every day. Totally.
One hundred percent agree. Number two is what has been the number one marketing moment that made your business pop.
So ours would have been going viral, but. I will
Viral is so uncontrollable,
Right, so it's not really helpful for me to say like going about my business, because if you're at home, you're like, well, that doesn't help. And so what I would say
Is getting is ferreting out those new acquisition channels because that
Is where you are going to succeed. You are not going to be able to go up against the big guys on Facebook. We can't like we can now.
And so you've got to figure out where can
I tell my story
That's new. Right? So, like,
Twitch, right? Twitch has been on my radar.
That's a super new thing.
And brands are not doing that, really. And so for you,
It's like at home, like we
Went viral on Facebook because that was
The beginning of not the beginning
Of viral videos on Facebook, but that was kind of like other brands weren't really respecting that the same way that we did where we were like, we're going get this girl and we're going to go and
Make it work. And so I think for you, for us and for
Us now, it's trying to recapture that. It's figuring out where the new acquisition
Channels, what's going on with
Twitch, what's going on with this live shopping situation, what's
Going on with the tick tock
Really on top of it? Totally.
Question number three is where do you hang out
To get smarter? What are you
Reading? What do you listen to? What newsletters do you subscribe to?
I spend so much time not necessarily reading, but listening to audiobooks. And I was doing obnoxious amount of audiobooks. And I get the recommendations from
In the space. So I am kind of new to entrepreneurship. Before this, I was a TV producer and a surface that we're instructors that doesn't really help with the business world. But I any time I
Meet people out
Building businesses, I will ask them what I should be reading and what would they recommend. And then
From those books, typically those authors
Will also recommend in the book. So I spend a lot of time doing that. And then I
Also try to
Just keep in touch with my other friends that I'm making who are running businesses and kind of bounce ideas off of them
And my network. Do you have any book recommendations? Oh, so a lot
Of good ones.
There's so I'm
I just read right now it's
Called The Who of
Hiring. I think it is if you type in who hiring
And that's a great book on interviewing, like
Interviewing to hire, which is something that we're doing a decent amount of these days. And so I think for
Me it's figuring out where
You are and reading this book. So if you're just starting out Atomic
Habits, great book. And then
Ceo is that's
Helpful once you're
Out of your living room. But then when you're trying to figure out how you actually like the formation of this company has been really helpful. But I think
When you're just building
It and you're starting, I would say atomic habits
And then Antifragile Antifragile is great. Perfect. I will link
Them in the show notes for anyone who wants to
Have a listen.
Question number four is how do you win the day? And that's around your A.M. PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and productive and successful.
I feel connected to my ability to do my morning routine, which is so like if I don't have that, my day
Just feels discombobulated.
So I wake up, I
Try to wake up early,
Like around 7:00, which is very early for me. And I meditate
And I do some
Sort of activity just for like ten minutes, whether it's like a walk or take my dog out. And then I do my
Journal planning for the
Day, and that really, really helps me feel centered. And then at night I'm trying to get a better sleep hygiene schedule, I guess is what it's called, where you actually decompress. I'm not so good at that one. I'm way better at the morning one. But I would say at
Trying to get away
Touching myself on a bed, which has made a huge difference in
My life, my ability
To sleep at
Night, even when things are stressful.
And then instead, just like reading a few pages that night. But the morning is pretty on lock.
Love that the morning routine.
Question number five is if you only had a thousand dollars left in your business bank account, where would you spend it?
Oh my God, he's so stressed. If I only had a thousand dollars.
Well, I mean, I know that I would. I mean. It would definitely be ads
Because it puts more money in your bank account. So I would
Say probably maybe Google, because things have been
Really something for your listeners. Things have been really crazy on Instagram and Facebook. There has been a lot, especially with the election and everything, our ads
Taken down as political because apparently plastic is political, which doesn't make any sense to me. But we had to
Really, like, figure that out.
There's actually quite a few other brands that are in our space that I've been talking to their founders. The same thing happened to them. So, I mean, that's
Another don't need to go to a
Tangent, but you want to make sure that you're really building a solid foundation
Of Facebook, Instagram,
Ads, Tic-Tac, YouTube,
Influencers, everything, because you never know when
All of a sudden plastic's
Considered political. Right. And then you just.
That's so crazy.
Yeah. So I
Would probably probably Google a nice
Great. And and so. And last question, question number six is how do you deal with failure? And it can be around personal experience or just a general mindset and
Approach to it? I have been
Trying to tell myself and
Believe in my heart
Failure is great, right? Like that's what it's going to get you to where you want to go. It doesn't feel good at the time, but every single time you fail, you can look back and you've learned a lesson. And it might be it's still probably super annoying and like really terrible and tragic and whatever. But in the end, like, there's all those things,
Like a basically
Failure makes you stronger and that's one hundred percent true. So you want to
Fail a lot. You want to fail fast.
You want to learn from your failures and embrace it as part of the process, because if you don't, you are going to drive yourself crazy and like, really hard on yourself because I used to be like that. And so it's been a learning process for me, too,
You know, as a
New CEO and figuring this thing
Out, being like I'm going to
Make mistakes. And it's crazy because you read all of these books of CEOs. I told you, I read all the time and they all talk about the mistakes they made. I made so many mistakes that I've made so many failures. And you read it and you're like, oh, that's cool, you overcome that. But then when you're actually experiencing
It, it sucks.
It's terrible. It doesn't feel like that mistake. You're so stupid and so obvious and you're so angry. Why did you do that? And then you're like, oh, wait, no, this is what we all do. We all make mistakes. And so I think it's just being
Able to be like everyone's going to make
Mistakes. We're all trying to figure this out.
And failure will make you stronger if you learn from it. And appreciate it totally.
Lindsey, thank you so much for taking the time to be on Female Startup Club of Love, chatting with you and learning about what you're building and creating
For the world.
Thanks so much. Thanks for having me on.