Nice entrepreneurs are inclined to have a handful of issues in widespread, however this one trait is probably most unmistakable: They’ll every see a large societal drawback, one that may take a complete metropolis or nation or the whole world to repair, and suppose, I’m the one who ought to do one thing about this.
For Lindsay McCormick, founder and CEO of Chunk, it was the not-so-small drawback of plastic waste, particularly the colossal quantity of empty toothpaste tubes we toss out annually. To handle, she would wish to tackle the monumental activity of fixing the way in which individuals brush their tooth, one thing most of us have been doing a particular means for generations. Making the problem all of the extra spectacular, McCormick wasn’t a dentist or a chemist or a scientist of any variety. She was a 30-something TV producer dwelling the dream in California.
And nonetheless she thought, I’m the one who ought to do one thing about this.
McCormick has all the time had a ardour for sustainability and a love of the outside. Whereas dwelling in Los Angeles and on the lookout for a job in TV, she taught surf classes in the summertime. Over time, the plastic within the ocean that may wash up on her board impressed her to go all-in on working in TV so she might make nature and conservation documentaries.
She finally turned a producer for Home Hunters on HGTV. The job had her flying all around the nation to movie, however the life-style didn’t jibe together with her waste-free passions. Though she was in a position to make use of refillable containers for many toiletry gadgets like shampoo, conditioner and lotion, it was these pesky travel-sized toothpaste tubes that she couldn’t refill and must throw away. She tried each potential toothpaste different and by no means discovered something she favored. Her analysis into the problem additionally turned up the estimate that over 1 billion plastic toothpaste tubes are discarded yearly, or as McCormick likes to visualise it: the equal of fifty Empire State Buildings stacked on high of one another.
So like all nice inventors, she determined to attempt to remedy the issue herself. “I began making it in my lounge,” McCormick says. “I hit up each pal from highschool and school who turned a dentist or dental hygienist and I used to be like, ‘What do you consider these components and this method?’ ”
She additionally took on-line chemistry lessons and bought a machine that allowed her to check out every new iteration within the type of a pill. The end result was a creation the scale of a small breath mint that customers place of their mouths and chomp down (therefore the title Chunk) after which brush with a moist toothbrush. The tablets foam up in your mouth, and your tooth nonetheless find yourself feeling simply as recent as with common toothpaste. And better of all to McCormick, the chemical compounds used are environmentally pleasant and by no means examined on animals.
McCormick wasn’t attempting to turn out to be a toothpaste tycoon, she simply needed to make a product that individuals like her would use. The truth is, she stored her full-time job within the early days. In 2018, zero-waste bloggers started speaking about Chunk on-line, and the product gained momentum. Quickly Ladies’s Well being requested her to make a video concerning the product. In a single day her enterprise exploded, and she or he and her boyfriend, co-founder Asher Hunt, stop their jobs to go all in on Chunk.
“Within the first yr I made about $6,000. Inside two weeks of the video going viral we made $200,000,” McCormick says. “It was like, we have to make this an actual firm!”
Now Chunk is greater than only a toothpaste firm, providing a complete suite of oral care merchandise, together with mouthwash bits, floss, bamboo toothbrushes and whitening gel. The corporate additionally not too long ago introduced the addition of a deodorant. Large opponents have began to roll out comparable merchandise, which McCormick greets with an open thoughts. It may be difficult for her enterprise, however it’s nice for her zero-waste mission.
“I believe that we’re persevering with to point out them that this can be a market that’s viable, and that is one thing that’s essential to individuals,” McCormick says. “All people needs to be attempting to combat the plastic air pollution drawback.”
This text initially appeared within the January/February 2022 Situation of SUCCESS journal. Photographs courtesy of Chunk Toothpaste
Scott Bedgood is a contract author and the creator of Classes from Legends: 12 Corridor of Fame Coaches on Management, Life, and Leaving a Legacy. He lives in Dallas, Texas, together with his spouse Sami.