Most people are familiar with the stringent, citrus sting of cleaning products. That scent means something has been scrubbed, wiped, and scoured within an inch of its existence, disinfected to the point that it’s finally clean — right?
Not according to Sacha Dunn, the co-founder and CEO of Common Good. “In America, we’ve been led to believe that effective household cleaning products require disposable, single-use packaging and harsh chemicals like bleach,” she said.
Since 2011, the Brooklyn-based company has created natural soap and cleaning products that are all-natural, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free — with chic packaging.
From laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaner, each natural soap is packaged in a reusable bottle that can be refilled in stores across the country. But in order to reduce the number of plastic bottles that pile up in landfills and pollute our waterways, Dunn said the company needed to think bigger. So, Common Good launched a Kickstarter campaign for a product that makes it easy for people to refill their cleaning products at home: a refill box.
Dunn said the company wanted to crowdfund its soap refill box to get a sense of the market, public interest, and feedback from the Kickstarter community — which is a crucial element for Common Good.
“Refilling needs to happen in every home, and it is important to make Common Good accessible to more people, not just those that live near a neighborhood refill station,” Dunn said. “Most importantly, refilling needs to be easy.”
Natural Soap And A Sustainable Solution
Dunn, a former stylist, co-founded Common Good with her husband Edmund in 2011. She was concerned about the chemicals coming into her home and the amount of plastic recycling her young family generated from soaps.
“I remember walking along a hiking trail in upstate New York and picking up all these discarded plastic bottles and wrappers and just thinking to myself, ‘I don’t want to be contributing to this. How can I do something about it?’” she said.
“Back in Australia (where we’re originally from), we’d keep the big plastic container and refill it with a milk carton of laundry detergent,” she said. “When we couldn’t find anything like that here in New York, we realized this could be our solution.”
But instead of going the DIY route, Dunn turned her passion for reducing waste and creating safe cleaning products into a business. “And Common Good was born: safe, green, plant-based soaps and cleaners, combined with refill stations where people could bring their empty bottles, refill them, and keep them out of the recycling stream for years,” she said. Today, the company offers natural laundry detergent, linen spray, and soap refills.
To create the first Common Good cleaners, the burgeoning company partnered with a team of green chemists who specialized in creating gentle, sustainable, and effective products. The result? Natural soaps that are plant-based, biodegradable, and safe for sensitive skin, babies, and pets. Each product is scented with pure essential oils, and leaves no chemical residue behind.
“We were passionate about creating cleaners that were safe for our family and making an environmental impact, and eventually that became a stronger force in our lives than picking out the best rugs and props for my styling jobs,” Dunn said. “You can never take the stylist out of the girl, though. I am still working on our office space!”
Looking Toward The Future
As Common Good grew, shifting from a freelance creative business to manufacturing and distribution made Dunn feel as though she earned an MBA in real time. In addition to running a business, she also learned how to build a company culture as Common Good expanded.
“As a freelancer, you don’t work with the same people for very long,” she said. “Now we have a team of people who are amazing, and we look forward to seeing each other every day.”
As the market for natural, eco-friendly cleaning products has exploded over the past six years, Dunn said Common Good has had to invest more time and energy into the e-commerce side of the business. Specifically, the company now offers subscriptions to make ordering cleaners a seamless and more efficient experience. Common Good is also working on new scents and formulas that include therapeutic and anti-microbial properties for its line of detergent.
With the Kickstarter campaign, the company hopes to further tap into the e-commerce boom and create a bigger impact in reducing plastic pollution.
“It is a big step toward making buying cleaners more convenient for customers, while still staying true to our plastic reduction mission,” Dunn said.
(all images courtesy of Common Good)