Photo: by Humankind

Please welcome by Humankind, a personal care brand taking aim at the global plastic crisis

Meet by Humankind, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: New York, NY

Cofounders: Brian Bushell and Joshua Goodman

The problem: Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic flows into the world’s oceans. That breaks down to 28,000 tons of plastic, every single day. Comprised mostly of single-use packaging, followed by building materials and textiles, this waste ends up in the bellies of whales and turtles, littering shorelines, and creating large-scale “plastic islands.” And it has many more unseen, deleterious consequences such as the production of toxins that end up in our food supply.

by Humankind’s solution: by Humankind is a new, direct-to-consumer personal care brand with a mission to cut down our dependence on everyday plastics. Offering refillable deodorants, shampoo bars, and mouthwash tablets with clean ingredients, its products are designed to reduce single-use plastic waste by 90% or more when compared to current offerings. Over the long-term, by Humankind’s refill model aims to collect data on the community’s collective impact on the global plastic crisis. In the short-term, the company donates $1 to removing plastic from our oceans, for every first purchase.

Origin story: During a trip to Thailand, Brian Bushell was stunned to see so much trash floating in the water, in both heavily trafficked as well as more remote areas. When he looked at the items in his own bathroom, however, he realized how the products we use in our daily routines were contributing in a major way to the growing, global plastic crisis. He cofounded by Humankind with Joshua Goodman to create a personal care brand that offers consumers convenience without contributing harmful, unnecessary waste to the environment.

Why we’re betting on it: The amount of single-use plastic waste that ends up in the world’s oceans is not only staggering in scale, but it’s also avoidable through better practices and increased access to alternatives. We’re excited about by Humankind because Brian and Josh have created a brand that doesn’t make consumers choose between high-performance products and eco-friendly options. Brian previously showed impressive leadership and insight into building a consumer-centric brand as cofounder and CEO of Baked by Melissa for the last eight years. We’re confident this team will build by Humankind into a leading personal care company that not only delivers amazing products for consumers, but also keeps it out of our water.

Our take: A recent study from Unilever shows that one third of consumers are choosing to buy products from companies they “believe are doing social or environmental good.” Our own portfolio demonstrates consumers’ growing desire for sustainable solutions, evidenced by the widespread appeal and rapid growth of Allbirds, Everlane, Palmetto, Drift, Bowery Farming and more. We believe by Humankind can do for personal care products what those companies have done for materials, energy, and agriculture. As consumers become increasingly discerning in the brands they buy and with which they affiliate themselves, we know companies striving to solve real problems with premium products, like by Humankind, will carve out a meaningful portion of the market and drive real change.

Further reading: By Humankind picks up $4M to rid your morning routine of single-use plastic” via TechCrunch

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