EP. 9 - LINDSAY MCCORMICK- Revolutionizing Toothpaste And The Oral Care Industry | Brought to you by Mallama
Enjoy this epic interview w/ entrepreneur & my good friend, Lindsay McCormick I! In this incredible interview, she shares with us how she turned his passions by founding Bite Toothpaste! She also talks about how she entered into entrepreneurship helping people and the world lead more sustainable lives & also the routine she uses to make herself a change-maker in the space!!! 📈
Connect with Lindsay Mccormick & Bite
[00:00:00] Lindsay McCormick : [00:00:00] Welcome to take care.
[00:00:05] Rishi Sharma: [00:00:05] This is the podcast that
[00:00:06] Lindsay McCormick : [00:00:06] helps you understand the background and habits of change makers. Post rich Sharma and his guests give you the wisdom to help you learn a little more and get a bit better every episode.
[00:00:25] Rishi Sharma: [00:00:25] Hey everyone. Welcome to take care of today's guest is Lindsey McCormick, the CEO of byte. Toothpaste, which is reinventing the oral care industry by focusing on simplicity and sustainability. Welcome, Lindsey. We're really excited to have you here.
[00:00:37] Lindsay McCormick : [00:00:37] Thanks so much for having me rash and so excited to chat with you and thanks for putting together this awesome podcast.
[00:00:42] Rishi Sharma: [00:00:42] O pleasure to have you here. So I'd just like to start the conversation. Let the audience a little bit, know a little bit about you. If you could just kind of give them your backstory, kind of what led you to up to the point of launching this company by toothpaste.
[00:00:55] Lindsay McCormick : [00:00:55] I was traveling all the time for work and I was going through those little toothpastes tubes, [00:01:00] and I've always been passionate about conservation and the environment, and it just seemed like so wasteful, tossing those out.
[00:01:06] Every time I had a work trip and I started looking into alternatives and everything was either packaged in plastic or it had, you know, had ingredients that I couldn't really get behind. I had never really thought about what was in toothpaste until I started looking into alternatives. And then I realized like there were so many artificial flavors and.
[00:01:24] Preservatives and harsh chemicals that I don't even use in my shampoo. Like things like sodium lauryl sulfate. And I was like, wait, this is what I'm brushing my teeth with. This is crazy. So I started looking into what is toothpaste and what are the ingredients that we need in it, and then how I can make my own so.
[00:01:44] I ended up taking online chemistry courses. I like hit up every single dentist and dental hygienists that like, you know, I had gone to high school with and became a dentist as we're all grown ups now and was like, Hey, can you take a look at this formula that I'm putting together? And kind of just really pulled [00:02:00] on.
[00:02:00] Anything that I could to create the formula that's actually very similar to what we still use today. And I bought a tableting machine and started pressing it out in our living room. I knew that I wanted to get rid of the water because once you take water out of things, like not only can you package it more ecofriendly, you can put it in glass, like if the solid format or even the paper or some sort of compostable material, but then you also don't have to use all of the harsh chemicals and preservatives that are there, like not even
[00:02:30] Make the product better, but just really to keep the bacteria and microbes from growing in that product. Right. And so once you take the water out, you don't have to. So I knew I wanted like a solid format and yeah, that was kind of how it all started.
[00:02:43] Rishi Sharma: [00:02:43] Thank you for going over that. So it just seems like you, what you did is you just took it to him.
[00:02:47] First principles, and I think that's always the best way to solve any problem in your life is just take it to like why we're doing it a certain way and keep on drilling that down. So really refreshing to hear that your [00:03:00] approach, but what made you take that leap, like that leap of faith to say, I'm going to do all this research, build these products, stamp out everything in your living room.
[00:03:10] What was the thing that gave you that confidence to take the leap.
[00:03:14] Lindsay McCormick : [00:03:14] That's a really good question. And for me it was, it's funny, like it was less of a leap than more of like a slide, because I started first looking into it and it was very casual. It was like, Oh, I'm throwing out these toothpastes dudes.
[00:03:28] Why am I throwing out these suits? Macy's? Then it was kind of being like, Oh, why is toothpaste in a tube? And then, Oh wait, why are we using these ingredients? Oh, wait, what are the implications on the planet? And then it just kind of became this, you know, it started as, this. Question that I just was curious about, ended up kind of becoming this obsession that I was like, why are we doing what we're doing?
[00:03:50] And so, and it was a very gradual thing between coming up with the research and then really digging into it. And even like, you know, the easiest way to kind of see the [00:04:00] progression was like the machinery that I bought. Like at first. I really didn't want to, like, this was just supposed to be a solution for me.
[00:04:07] Like I wasn't trying to start a business and I, I really, I don't have a business background. This does, you know, I was like, I just need something that I want to put in my body and brush my teeth with, and that's not going to hurt the planet, you know? So I tried putting. Coconut oil with like these different tooth friendly ingredients and like piping it out on pastry sheets.
[00:04:27] Trying to like see if I could get these things to dry cause I didn't want to buy a tableting machine cause it was expensive. And like this was supposed to just be like a solution for myself. And then it was like, okay, that didn't work. And now I'm determined. So it's like, okay, now I'm going to buy this machine that's $1,000 but I want to.
[00:04:44] Fix this. Cause now I spent so much time trying to figure this out. And so then it's like you buy the machine and then you're like, well, I just paid $1,000 for this machine and now I got to get a formula that actually is gonna work. You know? And like you kind of just like slowly slide into this like, Oh my God, I'm now [00:05:00] thousands of dollars into solving this problem and I'm now totally aware of the environmental implications and the health implications from these ingredients and this form factor.
[00:05:11] And like now I'm in it. I have to figure it out. So it, that's a long way of saying it was never really like a big leap. It was more like this gradual, unexpected slide.
[00:05:23] Rishi Sharma: [00:05:23] Yeah. I mean, sometimes it's just problems you're solving for yourself. It leads you to kind of your eventual outcome of starting something.
[00:05:30] So yeah, thank you for bringing that down. But if somebody was to come to you. I'm sure, I mean, people have come to you and asked like, I'm thinking about this idea, I'm thinking about starting something. What advice would you give them in evaluating an idea to take that jump versus
[00:05:45] Lindsay McCormick : [00:05:45] not? Absolutely. I would say follow your curiosity and definitely have your passion for solving that problem.
[00:05:53] Be your bully to get you through all of the obstacles. Starting a business. So incredibly [00:06:00] hard. It's really an uphill battle, and if you're not insanely curious and passionate about. Solving it, like if you're doing it for money or if you're doing it to have your own business or like financial freedom, like I don't think that, at least for me, that wouldn't even be an iota of enough to get me through that.
[00:06:19] And I think that if you're wanting to start your own business and you're wanting to solve a problem, find something that you're really passionate about in your day to day life that you really want to dedicate all that extra time to. Because the reality is most of us. And for me at the time when I started byte, it was not my job.
[00:06:38] Like I had a full time job and it was a really demanding job and I loved it. But bite was my night job, you know? And I had to do it every single night. And a lot of people are going to be in that same boat. So if you're not doing something that's incredibly interesting to you, and literally. It's a problem that keeps you up at night.
[00:06:57] It's going to be really hard because a lot of us don't [00:07:00] have the luxury of just quitting their day job immediately and pursuing their own business. So it's really important to find something that you're obsessed with and go deep on that.
[00:07:10] Rishi Sharma: [00:07:10] Thank you. I think that's very good advice, but I like to take the conversation back to talking about bite.
[00:07:16] In another interview. I heard you say your habits are not just yours, but our daily habits can and will shape. The future of the planet. So if you could just elaborate on that and kind of what the meaning behind that is.
[00:07:28] Lindsay McCormick : [00:07:28] Yeah. So I think something that we're all realizing more and more is that we are infinitely connected and what people think, just like an example of throwing away a piece of trash and it's like you think that that trash goes away, but it doesn't get ends up in a landfill or in our oceans, and everyone's dealing with these same problems.
[00:07:51] Like as much as we think that we're on this like big, infinite planet, it's kind of more like we're on this small. Cruise ship, you know, like all together going [00:08:00] through the solar system. So it's really important to know that your everyday habits really do add up and they do have an impact. And when you look at, you know, when you zoom out and you see what each person's doing, it really does have a huge effect on the whole, and by.
[00:08:18] Making small choices or small changes in our everyday routine, it adds up because it's not just us, it's everyone. And that we're all like very truly in this together. And so I think that's something that we've lived priority, blissfully ignorant of the fact that we're all so incredibly dependent and intertwined with each other.
[00:08:40] And I'm to really see that our actions really affect everybody.
[00:08:45] Rishi Sharma: [00:08:45] Thank you. Thank you for going through that. Yeah, I think it's, like you said, it's a exponential effect if everybody does a little bit every day, and that's up quite a bit, 7 billion people on the planet so everybody can make a little bit of a difference.
[00:09:00] [00:08:59] That's huge. So what was the unique insight that you and your co founder had about. And the form factor and that people would accept a brand new form factor that isn't as mainstream.
[00:09:12] Lindsay McCormick : [00:09:12] Yeah, it's funny. So we didn't really think or know that at all. So when you know, it started, it was just, I was like making these tablets in my living room and my boyfriend is my cofounder and he has a design background and is.
[00:09:28] Obsessed with product and making things look really beautiful. And so he ended up doing the label and the website. And so we honestly thought that this would just be my hobby and I didn't think that anybody would really change their daily routine. Like obviously you would hope, right? Cause you're like.
[00:09:46] Better for the environment. It's better for your body, but it is asking a lot like you're changing that. I think there's few things more ingrained in people then brushing their teeth. Cause you literally do it every day, twice a day from the time that you're like three years old until you die. Right? [00:10:00] So it's like this is what we do.
[00:10:01] And so I felt like it was a really big ask and I figured it would be like me and my parents and like some of my hippie friends like that would be it. And so. It was interesting cause we didn't do any focus group testing or any of that, you know, whatever. When you look at a market market analysis, we were just kind of like, this needs to happen and we're going to make it.
[00:10:22] And so that's kinda how it all started. And then it floored all of us, like how amazing the response was. And I think that people really are. Willing to change their habits and they're looking for things that are better, not just for the planet, but also for their bodies. And I think that back in 2016 when I started tinkering with this, and then 2017 when it was a website, it was really early, like the plastic problem hadn't become mainstream news, but there were still some people who are like, okay, yeah, we see this as a problem.
[00:10:56] And that was the beginning of it.
[00:10:58] Rishi Sharma: [00:10:58] Thank you. Thank you for going [00:11:00] into that. Was there anything in particular with the response that you received that you did to tell that value proposition, that story, that narrative of correcting this plastic problem out there?
[00:11:13] Lindsay McCormick : [00:11:13] Yeah, I mean, for sure. And I would say, you know, at the beginning, so.
[00:11:18] I think that what's really important is, especially if you have your own business and you're making a product that you're passionate about, is to listen to the reception from people and adjust accordingly. And something that we've always been really in step with is listening to our customers because they are like so inspiring to me, honestly, from the beginning, because I was this little company coming out of a living room and they were willing to take a chance on that.
[00:11:45] Because they're passionate about better ingredients and about protecting the planet. And so when they talk to us, we listen. And a thing that we had first, we used a small amount of eco cert Palm oil. It was in our foaming [00:12:00] agent. And we were very transparent about that. And our customers were kind of like, Hey, like this doesn't seem to align with your values.
[00:12:07] Like you say that you're this ecofriendly company and that you're making all of these ecofriendly choices, but here you are using Palm oil and you should look into that. And so I looked into it. I was like, Whoa, our customers are totally right. There is some serious transparency issues, even with the certification process, and we need to reformulate and get it completely out.
[00:12:24] And so we did. And that was something that was really expensive to do as a company. It was a lot of work to do as a company, but we knew that it was the right thing for us. And when we did that, like not only were our customers so like happy and thankful that we listened to them, which of course we would listen to them, but then they got even louder about us.
[00:12:44] To their friends and to their family, and they spread the word even more. And I think that as people are building their businesses, those first few customers who really go out on the limb to take a chance on you and your business, like you should really cherish them and listen to them because [00:13:00] they really are passionate about you and your brand, and they're a huge resource.
[00:13:04] So that's something that we did from the very beginning. Yeah.
[00:13:08] Rishi Sharma: [00:13:08] Sounds like customers are very important to you and your community that you're building. What is the feeling and experience you're hoping each of your customers to have? You know, somebody that hasn't tried by, they're curious to what the brand stands for and what that experience would be.
[00:13:22] What are you looking for? How do you articulate that to somebody.
[00:13:26] Lindsay McCormick : [00:13:26] I love this question. So for us, what we want to do is we want to make this fun, right? Because it's so important that the people who want to do good feel like this is like a fun and great thing as opposed to. Living with less or getting something that's less, and so we really want to make sure that we're delighting our customers, which I feel like is so overused, but we really put them first all the time of like, how do we just make them smile?
[00:13:53] Right? That's kind of one of our mottos is making people smile and also making people feel and very much understand [00:14:00] that everyday people have the power to change the world, but their everyday habits, it's kind of that light bulb that goes off where you're like, Oh. Yeah. Everything that I do impacts everything.
[00:14:10] So we want to make them feel empowered and delighted and part of our community.
[00:14:15] Rishi Sharma: [00:14:15] Thank you. Thank you for going there. And I think when people try it, I'm sure that's how I felt. I actually recently tried it myself. So yeah, I definitely felt that, you know, I always try and also make better improvements in how I'm affecting the planet.
[00:14:29] And so to be able to be a part of that was definitely empowering. So you were also, I saw that you were on shark tank. If you could explain that experience. I'm sure there's a lot of entrepreneurs listening here that. Kind of look to achieve that someday I'd be on that show and potentially get a deal. So if you could just explain that experience.
[00:14:48] Lindsay McCormick : [00:14:48] Yeah. Short takes amazing. You know, it's something that I never thought that I would be real, like I was a TV producer and a. Surf instructor [00:15:00] before this. So I definitely do not have a business background that I would ever thought that I would fit in on that show. But there's such a great message about how entrepreneurs can do all of these really great things, and so we definitely, you know, when we had the opportunity to be on it, we wanted to definitely do that.
[00:15:17] And I mean, it was really fun. It's, you know, prepping for it is honestly super helpful as a business because it really helps you streamline who are we, what do we do and why would we be attractive to an investor? And we hadn't taken any money before. You know, we hadn't like pitched any VCs before that.
[00:15:37] And like, it was one of those things that having to really think you know, about our business in that. Way was a really good exercise, and of course we would have loved to get a deal done, but we really wanted to do it on our terms, which we, you know, it's like you go in there and you have an idea of what your company's valued and what you're going to be [00:16:00] looking at for the next year, and like where you'd negotiate and where you wouldn't.
[00:16:04] And it was one of those things that we were like, no matter what happens, if we get sucked into the bright lights and the excitement, like we have to stick to what we know is fair for us in our brand. And as much as we would have loved it to do the deal, and we needed to stay true to what we felt was right.
[00:16:22] Rishi Sharma: [00:16:22] Well, it's always good to stay by your principles and what's best for the business. And so what is next for byte toothpaste out there?
[00:16:29] Lindsay McCormick : [00:16:29] So for us it's just about doing what we're doing and doing it louder. I think that people are really starting to understand their everyday impacts and they really want to get behind companies that are truly trying to make a difference.
[00:16:42] And I think that we want to be that resource for them. And whether it's. Toothpaste or oral care or anything that I think is kind of just outdated and not done in a sustainable or clean way is something that we're interested in, that we're [00:17:00] looking at. And I think that for us, we want to stay super small, super scrappy, super nimble.
[00:17:06] I think that that really lends itself well to the bold risks we want to be able to take. We can stay, you know, relentlessly. True to our values. There's like no compromising. That really needs to happen at all because we're not answering to investors and we have like these amazing customers that are really passionate about changing the world with us.
[00:17:27] So for us, that's just doing what we do and doing it louder.
[00:17:31] Rishi Sharma: [00:17:31] Well, that seems like it's worked for you thus far, and I think it'll continue to work from it. We're going to head into the final questions and in the final questions we just ask a few questions, kind of distill your answers on particular topics, but in particular we want to talk about first, is there any morning routines, habits, rituals, that really help you to be successful?
[00:17:52] It'd be prepared to deal with everything that comes with me and entrepreneur.
[00:17:57] Lindsay McCormick : [00:17:57] Yes, absolutely. I think having a daily [00:18:00] meditation practice is so important. One of the skills that entrepreneurs have to have is being able to multitask and deal with things as they pop up and having kind of that daily time to go inward and be really
[00:18:16] Calm, like start off the day has just been something that is completely, it's, I had done that even before I was an entrepreneur. I did it when I was a TV producer in a circle structure. It's just been a part of my life for a really long time, and I think that establishing that morning practice is just so, so important.
[00:18:34] And I'd recommend it to anyone.
[00:18:36] Rishi Sharma: [00:18:36] Great. And is that the full morning routine or is there anything more to that?
[00:18:39] Lindsay McCormick : [00:18:39] Oh, for mine. Okay. So it's funny, I'm really trying to break a coffee. I, I'm like constantly going back and forth. So my routine in the morning is I wake up, I try not to check my phone at all.
[00:18:54] Right now obviously we're kind of in this global situation that you really have to. You know what's going on as soon as you [00:19:00] wake up. So it's a little different. But usually like I wake up, I don't check my phone, I meditate for 10 minutes, and then I make coffee and that's when I start checking my emails.
[00:19:12] If I have time, I go for a run in the morning. But recently I haven't had time, so I could go for a run at night, which has been way nicer. But yeah, that's my thing is just. Don't check your phone until you get your meditation done and then check your email while you're making coffee or your Vermont day.
[00:19:28] I'm trying to do here, but it's not on there right now.
[00:19:33] Rishi Sharma: [00:19:33] Yeah. Tried once to make this switch off coffee like completely and yeah, I just couldn't do it after a while, so I feel the struggle.
[00:19:42] Lindsay McCormick : [00:19:42] Major props to anyone who's done that. That's a pretty amazing. Let us know your secrets.
[00:19:49] Rishi Sharma: [00:19:49] I just want to leave this last couple of questions.
[00:19:51] So the next question is, is there someone or a resource that really made a significant impact on your career that you'd like to thank and give this [00:20:00] platform to right
[00:20:00] Lindsay McCormick : [00:20:00] now? Oh wow. That's a really good question. I think for us, you know, as much, I would love to say like my cofounder boyfriend who's been so supportive and amazing are my parents who've been just my go tos for everything.
[00:20:15] I mean, when. Bite first went viral. My mom flew across the country to help me stay up boxes and get orders out cause she lives in Virginia. So she flew here to LA. But I think what I would most want to thank would definitely be our customers, all of them now, but especially those first ones that are still with us.
[00:20:34] Like that's just so blows my mind. We've been a company now for about almost two years. Like. Basically over a year and a half. And we still have this set of customers who have been with us through the whole thing and like, like our tablets now are so much better than they were before. Like they taste better and they keep together better, you know, but like, and we keep getting better, but we just have some of [00:21:00] these customers that I still see their names when they pop up and I'm just like, Oh my gosh.
[00:21:04] So awesome. They're still with us. And so I would say to those that found us when we were this like tiny little startup out of a living room to now we have a warehouse in manufacturing, and it still just makes me so thankful and happy when I see those names keep popping up.
[00:21:19] Rishi Sharma: [00:21:19] I'm sure they're all thankful for the product that you produce as well.
[00:21:23] So what does personal care mean to you? And somebody says that.
[00:21:29] Lindsay McCormick : [00:21:29] Personal care. What it means to me though, like right from my gut is self care is taking that time to meditate in the morning and taking this time to run and to exercise and to stretch. But personal care is like an industry, I guess is the stuff that's on your bathroom counter, whether it's your sunscreen or your toothpaste or your face wash.
[00:21:51] that's. To me, what personal care is an industry. But when I really think about personal care, it's like things that you're doing for yourself, for your [00:22:00] mind, and for your body that makes you feel better. And so I think that it's like a very holistic thing. And that's, I think also works really well with bite is not only is.
[00:22:10] That item, that's your personal care is a thing. But also like, I hope that our toothpaste, people know that our toothpaste also is better for their body and better planet. So it kind of also fits in that holistic self care, personal care, John rhe
[00:22:25] Rishi Sharma: [00:22:25] thank you. And so, final question. If you were to throw a dinner party dead or alive, who would you invite and
[00:22:33] Lindsay McCormick : [00:22:33] why?
[00:22:33] Oh my gosh, I need to think of this. Okay, well, can I invite? How many people can I invite? How many seats do we have at this table? Well, okay, that's fair. I would say Jane Goodall, because she is a beast. She's amazing. She's still alive, but she's done, you know, amazing, amazing, amazing things. Oh man. Let's think.
[00:22:56] I feel like Einstein would be a really interesting [00:23:00] guy to talk to. He's figured out a lot, and then, I don't know, wildcard, let's say Walt Disney. Because I feel like he's like the ultimate storyteller and I think that it would be really cool to kind of have all of those different minds together to kind of talk about how to solve problems cause everybody be coming at it from totally different angles.
[00:23:25] Rishi Sharma: [00:23:25] Yeah, totally different and very personal. They're all very first subtle in regards to like how they, how they go about things.
[00:23:32] Lindsay McCormick : [00:23:32] Exactly. I was like, if there was like a superhero team, who would it be? You know what I'm saying? To think about and I would just be there to moderate. I don't, that's what I'd be there
[00:23:43] Rishi Sharma: [00:23:43] for.
[00:23:43] Just absorb all the knowledge and conversation. Yeah, no, it's a great, great, great choices. So I just wanted to say thank you so much for being on the podcast, Lindsey. I really appreciate it. And. If any of our listeners wanted to connect with you online or buy, where should they go?
[00:23:59] Lindsay McCormick : [00:23:59] So on [00:24:00] bite toothpaste.com or buy toothpaste myths dot dotcom, it'll take you to our website.
[00:24:05] And we're also super active on social media, so it's bite toothpaste bits on Instagram by toothpaste on Twitter, and we are there to make you smile. So hit us up on Instagram, Twitter, or on our site as well.
[00:24:19] Rishi Sharma: [00:24:19] All right. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
[00:24:21] Lindsay McCormick : [00:24:21] Thanks, rich. Have a good one. [00:25:00]