Biting Off A Piece of The Pie: How Bite Toothpaste Bits Disrupted a Century-Old Industry
Launching a company after going viral and bringing change and sustainability to an otherwise un-disrupted industry
Lindsay McCormick knows a thing or two about pivoting. After all, she went from planning to live in a van and travel around the country selling her sustainable toothpaste bits to launching a transformative and still-growing company that has taken the internet by storm and has left the big brands shaking in their boots.
Bite Toothpaste Bits was the company McCormick never meant to start, but a viral video helped launch her full-time into the world of ecommerce after she went from 6,000-lifetime sales to 200,000 in a single week. From there, she had to scale from manufacturing in her living room to finding production and shipping partners that could not only make her very specific products, but do so in a sustainable way that stayed true to Bite’s ultimate mission. All of that was an intense education process for McCormick, and it mirrored the kind of education that she had to do with her customers.
“The fact that we don’t use rush shipping, in the world of Amazon where everyone’s expecting their thing to end up the next day, ours takes like a week to get there,” she said. “But it’s because we’re carbon neutral, we offset the carbon. We purposely choose slower routes because it has the least footprint. It’s like there’s an education piece every step of the way. But, luckily, we have really curious customers who that’s important to them. Instead of being penalized for our stuff getting there slow, typically, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ as soon as they realize why, they’re like, ‘We get it and thanks for doing that.’ I think it’s definitely a totally different way and way more work the way that we’re doing things. But, in the end, it’s the most important thing.”
One of the ways that McCormick and her team get the fact to customers is through content, all of which is produced in-house. That, McCormick said, is a conscious choice and one that more businesses should consider.
“Any brand that’s growing right now has all of the things that you outsource….and everybody wants to outsource their creative because it takes so much freaking time,” she said. “But it’s the last thing you should be outsourcing because it’s literally your brand, it’s your brand, and it’s your vision and it’s your voice.”
Only McCormick and her team know exactly what they want to say and how they want to connect with customers. And that connection is a critical reason for the success Bite has had in its growth.
“We listen to our customers, I think, obsessively,” McCormick said. “I’m constantly going through our DMs, I’m constantly going through Instagram. We have places on the site where we’re asking for their feedback. It’s so important to me to have that really tight relationship with them.”
Others have also noticed that tight customer relationship, including competitors. In recent years some of the big-name brands that have controlled the industry have even come out with copycat products. But rather than get nervous about how that will impact sales, McCormick looks at it from a different perspective.
“I love basically being the thorn in the side of these big companies,” she said. “I think one of the things that has happened really recently that people think is scary or bad, but I think is actually incredibly exciting is we’ve seen the big guys, like big pace, like get into our space. They’re starting to come out with their own toothpaste tablets. They’re starting to launch these things specifically going after our customer. For me, that’s the most exciting thing ever because we, as a small brand, can do a lot but we can’t do it all. The plastic problem and the reason we’re in this to begin with is that the big guys have made unsustainable choices and have been caught in this race to the bottom… Even if they’re not doing it for genuine reasons, they’re doing it, and that’s keeping plastic out of landfills. It’s showing that people care about these things and it’s going to ultimately help the movement.
To hear more about Bite and from Lindsay, listen to her episode of Up Next in Commerce.
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