Happy Birthday, Happy Earth Day!

Happy Birthday, Happy Earth Day!

It is our 10 year company anniversary! We are grateful to be here after 10 years. Only 35% of new businesses make it to this milestone so this is a big one. 


A little history:

No Tox Life founder Sandee Ferman participated in the very first Earth Day marches on April 22nd, 1970. She marched all day (25 miles!) with her classmates to bring awareness to the environmental harm caused by polluting the environment. She was joined by 20 million Americans nationwide, mostly young people, although even Congress took recess that day and joined in Environmental Action. Later that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established to curb the widespread pollution, especially in America's lakes and oceans. Recycling became a "thing to do" and middle-class America was starting to change.

earth day
photo: NYPL

Today our company is pushing for better solutions for environmental preservation.

Plastic (primarily derived from petroleum) is the big pollution problem today. Earth Day 2024's theme is Planet vs. Plastics and for good reason.

For the oil and gas industry, more plastic = more profits. With increased demand for electric vehicles and less for gas-powered cars, plastic products are another revenue source.

There is no real solution being advanced by governments and regulators to the growing tide of plastic waste in everyday life. But it's no wonder when lawmakers receive millions (or billions!) of dollars from petroleum industry lobbyists. 

(Most plastic is not recycled by the way; 91% or more of it goes to landfills or is polluting our environment).

Speaking of lobbying the government to keep certain industries on top, we love OpenSecrets which reveals which corporations and industry groups are lobbying which politicians. Here, you can see that the pharmaceutical industry has been steadily lobbying lawmakers more and more every year. They must be doing well if they had $381,400,000 extra last year to share with politicians. 

We are pushing as best we can as a small business to innovate and combat the growing amount of plastic waste to preserve our environment. Here's how:

Our zero waste dish soap innovation:

Several years ago we invented and launched the very first solid dish soap on the market. Our trademarked product, the DISH BLOCK® solid dish soap, replaces the plastic bottle at the kitchen sink. 

dish block®

Our product has since been featured in magazines like Vogue France and The Hollywood Reporter, in books and in podcasts. It sudses better than big brands and it doesn't contain harsh preservatives that can cause skin irritation. Plus, it's a win for the environment with no plastic bottle and with a concentrated form (less shipping emissions). 

Where we came from (company history):

We started in Sandee's kitchen 10 years ago, making products and selling them weekly at farmers' markets. 

This was one of Sandee's first products - a soap with pine and fir essential oils - it smelled like compost (eww) and we called it "Pokémon soap" because doesn't it look like a Pikachu face? 

This grew from a one-person operation to two (Sandee and daughter Callie working together). Sandee was the maker and Callie was the best in-person sales gal.

Growing a business with no outside funding is like growing a plant without fertilizer - it is slower but the result is stronger and better. That's how we grew.

We did farmers' markets and craft fairs for 5 years, even after we opened our own retail store. The retail store took several years get off the ground; after all, it was across the street from an elementary school, a middle school, and a Mexican meat market. Not in any sort of shopping district. And we were long-time vegans only making and selling vegan products. It was a challenge to get people to show up to shop. But we made it cute! 

After Callie visited a local landfill and discovered most of the recycling wasn't actually being recycled, we had a sharp shift in our focus. The retail store was completely redesigned to emphasize low-waste and zero-waste items. Out went the gifts and huge plants, and in came the liquid, powder and solid personal care and cleaning products and refills. 

We were making most products ourselves to start, but when our hand and body lotion repeatedly sold out the very same day we made it, we realized we couldn't keep up -- plus there was no space to add more equipment. So we invited other brands to supply the liquid refills and we focused ourselves on making solid products. That was the right choice. 

As our retail store grew, so did our plans for expanding our brand. We were already selling wholesale to hundreds of stores and that market was growing as fast as we could keep up. 

We began looking elsewhere for expanding our production space since our current location had (again) grown too small, but nearby options' rents were outrageous. We located a new facility with solar panels on the roof. We took the leap and signed the new lease, then two weeks later the whole world shut down because of COVID-19. 

Needless to say, the financial stress of those weeks in March and April 2020 was intense. We shipped six months' supply of products to a major buyer who then announced they couldn't pay the invoice. With many of our small independent retailers closed indefinitely, and our own challenges of running two locations across the country, we made the hard decision to close down our retail store and original production space, and only keep the new solar-powered location. 

(Goodbye beautiful store!)

As people adjusted to living with COVID, many of our retailers quickly got online and were supported by their local communities. Wholesale orders picked up again and it became less worrisome that we had just expanded to 6,000 square feet of production space. 

Where we are going (future plans):

We made it through the stress of 2020 and beyond, but to be frank there is still stress. Most small businesses have suffered financial impacts from COVID, us included. Some stores have not survived. We are sad to see them go. 

We survived and have even grown, but COVID put a dent in our plans. We put on pause some new product releases in favor of keeping best-selling products in stock and keeping prices from shooting up like our ingredients' costs have. There have been a lot of behind-the-scenes "how can we do this better?" conversations and ultimately that's been successful for finding solutions to the pricing squeeze.

With 2024 well underway, we are settling into our NEW added production space (we now have around 15,000 square feet for making, packaging and shipping, across two buildings). This year we plan to visit more of our amazing retailers and reconnect in real life. We did some of that last year and here are a couple: 

New releases coming soon: new flavors - new scents! Don't worry, we read your emails about bringing back old deodorant scents and we are listening. 

Also in the works: More new packaging to improve shelf presentation. Our new refillable deodorant tubes are taking off and people are loving the designs. 

Thank you for sticking with us on this journey and we are excited for the next 10 years of No Tox Life!

Love -- Sandee & Callie

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1 comment

Congrats on your 10 year anniversary! I think maybe I started using your deodorant close to the beginning of your journey – picked one up at a little booth and happily have never looked back! (Or forward to new deodorants either! Lol) And yes, I’m one of the ones who has bugged you about bringing back an old scent! One vote for the grapefruit one please – that was THE BEST! I look forward to the day I can have citrus scented armpits again 😂 . . .and to many, many more years of using your products. Thanks for making them!
NO TOX LIFE replied:
Thank you for being here with us on this journey! Vote for the grapefruit scent noted. :) We appreciate your support!



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