THIS SPRING, THE NEW BOGOBRUSH STANDS UP AND STEPS OUT

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

Bad Bamboo Bogobrushes

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

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

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

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

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

1.  A biodegradable plastic – made from plants, and

2.  A recyclable plastic – made from recycled plastic.

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

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WHEN? We’re looking at a new launch around March.   We’re bummed to miss this holiday season, but we need to get this right.  And ultimately, the only way to get anywhere is to keep moving, so onward we go!

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

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

Until next time, keep on brushin’!

Bogobrush Receives Funding

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Heather, CEO

Heather Speaks at TedXFargo

 

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!

 

 

Bogobrush Round 2

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YOUR FEEDBACK LED THE WAY: We asked, and we received! Most of your feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we are so appreciative of your welcoming of Bogobrush into your homes and your mouths. That being said, we may be even more grateful for your critiques. Since delivering our first shipment back in March, a few of you have reported back to us with the news that some of your Bogobrushes’ bristles had fallen out after some use, so we set out to solve this problem.

What was causing the bristles to fall out? Well, it turns out that it was the bamboo. You see, over time, bamboo can have the tendency to naturally change shape ever so slightly, and for some of you, it meant that your Bogobrush’s bristles weren’t holding up quite as well as they were supposed to. We knew we could do better, so we worked for months, searching for a way to improve the bamboo, or even find a better material, if need be. It turns out the solution was right down the road…literally.

BORN IN THE U.S.A.: No, we aren’t just quoting “The Boss.” Bogobrush has made friends with some fellow Midwesterners who just so happen to be creating cutting edge, fully biodegradable composites right here in the good ole U.S. of A. From the beginning, we’ve believed that making products locally and ethically matters, and we are so excited to let you know that every part of your Bogobrush will soon be born stateside. We will have much more to share with you in the coming weeks, and you will be the first to see the new and improved, colorful, ecological Bogobrush.

IN THE MEANTIME, BOGOBRUSH IS STILL STREAKING: With a new, improved Bogobrush in the works, what does all of this mean for that little Bogobrush that’s currently on its way to your doorstep? Our original plan was that your second brush would arrive with a fresh set of pants…you know, that colored part on the end of Bogobrush’s handle? Well, plans have changed a little, and your second Bogobrush will be the same solid bamboo “Nude” edition that you received in your first shipment. Don’t worry, though, you’ll get to meet your colorful Bogobrush come September, and it’ll be looking even more stylish than we planned.

Based off of the feedback from our first shipment, we know that it’s possible for a very small number of you to have some bristle issues with your second Bogobrush. Never fear, we fully intend on holding up to our quality guarantee if you have any problems.

THANK YOU: As a tiny team of four, our journey to bring Bogobrush to life has been an adventure full of twists and turns. We are amazed at how far we’ve come since we first sketched Bogobrush, and like a fine wine, we’re only getting better with time. Still, none of this would be possible without you. Our supporters have been the key to helping us make the world a cleaner, safer, happier place, one toothbrush at a time. You can bet we have something up our sleeve to show you how much we appreciate your support!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…
KEEP ON BRUSHIN’

#TBT

How cute is this pic of CEO Heather and her first missing tooth?!

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Bogobrush Goes to Haiti

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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Temporarily Out of Stock

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You like us! You really like us! Ladies and gentlemen, Bogobrushes are temporarily out of stock, but rest assured, we are hard at work to make a fresh batch of Bogobrushes available for sale ASAP. We don’t have an exact restock date just yet, but we can tell you that it will most likely be a few weeks. We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as Bogobrushes are available again.

Bogobrush in Costa Rica

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.

Heather Speaks at Green Drinks

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.

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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.

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This was a totally worthwhile event.  Thanks, AIGA, 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

We did it!

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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.