Jamestown siblings debut new, eco-friendly toothbrushes
JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Bogobrush, a company founded by Jamestown natives and siblings Heather and John McDougall, has launched a new line of eco-friendly toothbrushes made predominantly here in North Dakota.
JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Bogobrush, a company founded by Jamestown natives and siblings Heather and John McDougall, has launched a new line of eco-friendly toothbrushes made predominantly here in North Dakota.
Bogobrush sells white, black and blue toothbrushes with handles made from recycled plastic as well as "naked" biodegradable models made with a bio-composite material produced by c2renew in Fargo. The toothbrushes are manufactured by ComDel Innovation in Wahpeton.
This is a big departure from the toothbrushes they initially debuted in 2013, which were made of bamboo and manufactured in China.
What hasn't changed is its BOGO, or Buy One + Get One, business model.
For each toothbrush sold, the company continues to give a toothbrush to someone in need. It recently donated nearly 1,000 to be distributed by Family Healthcare in Fargo.
From China to Wahpeton
While their father, Ken McDougall, is a practicing dentist in Jamestown, the siblings never intended to follow in his footsteps.
Heather pursued a degree in law and John attended school to become an industrial designer, but it was during their studies they found a shared interest.
"While we were both going to school, we both started becoming aware of issues about sustainability from our own perspectives," Heather said. "We really wanted to do something that would allow us to use our talents and our passion toward helping the world be a more balanced place."
When it came to deciding how, they came up with the idea for a more sustainable toothbrush. John used his talents to design the product, and Heather used her legal experience to establish the business.
After doing a life-cycle analysis on a number of different materials, they settled on bamboo and partnered with a manufacturer in China to produce a prototype. Unfortunately, when the manufacturer produced the initial order of 10,000, the quality suffered and they lost half the order.
So, they started to consider different materials. Heather had a friend in the North Dakota Trade Office who told her about c2renew.
c2renew takes agricultural waste and hybridizes it through an extrusion process with other resins. In this case, the company produces a cornstarch-based resin pellet that is molded into the toothbrush handle.
Corey Kratcha, CEO of c2renew, said Bogobrush's sustainability goals align well with those of c2renew. He also appreciates the company's Buy One + Get One business model.
"Since we don't make our own product, we don't have a way to give back," he said. "So, when we talked to them about what they were doing and found out they would provide brushes to those who can't afford them or need assistance, we thought it was a no-brainer for us to help. We love the ethos and the mindset. We always love to make products as well. It was sort of a win-win for us."
Bogobrush toothbrushes are sold in a number of boutiques across the U.S., including Others in downtown Fargo. They are also available through its website, www.bogobrush.com .