Meet Eric of Davids Toothpaste
Tell us how you started Davids.
Around 2012, I was at home, and by chance just started looking at the list of ingredients on the toothpaste I was using at the time. There was a bunch of strange sounding ingredients that I had no idea what they were, so just out of curiosity, I jumped on my computer and started Google searching the ingredients. It didn't take long to realize that a lot of these ingredients were not that great, and some posed some serious health risks. I know it sounds strange, but the way my mind works, a light went on, and the idea just sparked... I bet I could make a better toothpaste.
Over the next three years, I spent 1000s of hours diving in deep, working with food scientist and formulators... studying other toothpaste that was on the market, and figuring out what ingredients I wanted to use and wanted to avoid. My guiding principle was that I wanted to create the very highest quality natural toothpaste possible using only safe and natural ingredients. The designer in me also just wanted it to be modern and cool. After three years of intense research and development, I finally felt like I had Davids perfected, and was ready to bring to market, so officially launched Davids in June, 2015, and we've seen very rapid growth since then.
Why is it important that we care about the ingredients in our toothpaste?
Everyone should care about the ingredients in their toothpaste, since everything we put in our mouth is absorbed through our gums, and enters our bloodstream. Really, the concern should be about how these chemicals are effecting our bodies and our longterm health. Most mainstream toothpaste, and even some of the "natural" toothpaste, contains fluoride, sulfates, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and artificial preservatives that pose some serious health risks. With Davids, we really went out of our way to find the very highest quality, safe and natural ingredients that we could find for the sustainability of the environment and the sustainability of your personal health and wellness.
So why do most toothpaste companies use all these artificial ingredients? One reason: It's cheaper to make toothpaste this way. The chemical manufacturers have made artificial ingredients very cheap, so most toothpaste companies simply use these cheaper ingredients so they can keep the price as low as possible, and keep the profits as high as possible.
When I was developing Davids, the most important thing for me was about finding the highest quality, safest and most natural ingredients possible. Our ingredients needed to be good for our customers, but also good for the environment. This is were we came up with the tagline "nature+america+you." It's all about our commitment to the sustainability of nature and the environment, and you and your health.
I think the average consumer thinks that the government somehow has regulations in place that would keep all potentially harmful ingredients out of products, but unfortunately this isn't the case. It really is up to each individual consumer to take personal responsibility to read the ingredients yourself and to make your own personal health choices—nobody will do this for you—we all have to look out for our own personal health.
A great tool for checking ingredient safety is the Think Dirty phone app. Just download the app onto your smartphone, and when you are considering using a new cosmetic/personal care product, you can check to see how the ingredients are rated for your safety and health. I'm very happy to say that Davids is rated a "0"...the highest rating possible for ingredient safety.
Another good source of information is the Skin Deep Database put out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). You can check Skin Deep for ingredient ratings and overall product ratings here as well. We recently went through a rigorous vetting, and EWG has given Davids their coveted EWG VERIFIED designation, which you'll see on our packaging. Davids was given an overall "1" rating by EWG, which is their highest rating possible for ingredient safety.
Another thing to keep in mind when doing your own research about ingredients, is to take internet blog articles and self proclaimed blog "experts" with a grain of salt. There is some really great helpful information on the web, but there are also a lot of misinformation and rumors floating out there about different ingredients, that many of the bloggers cut and paste from blog to blog (some are true) but frankly, some are false. Personally, I'd recommend sticking to what the trusted scientific experts have to say, so I'd recommend always checking with EWG or Think Dirty as a trusted authority vs. what you might hear as an opinion by a less trusted source when checking on individual ingredients or products.
Do you have a favorite ingredient? What do you love about it?
Broadly speaking, my favorite ingredients are those that are Made in the USA. While I was developing Davids and trying to figure out where to buy all the ingredients, I quickly discovered that most of suppliers were offering a lot of imported ingredients, mostly from China, Malaysia, India. Also talking with industry insiders I came to realize that most of the toothpaste (and other cosmetics) that say "Made in the USA" are most often made with a high percent of lower grade imported ingredients.
When I found out that the industry standard was to use lots of imported ingredients, it actually made me upset, because any ingredients that are brought in from overseas instead of being produced domestically, leads to American job loss, and I'm not down with that at all. I started searching to see if I could use only the very highest quality natural ingredients from the United States for making Davids, not just Made in USA, but USA ORIGIN ingredients also—big difference!
Instead of buying cheaper mint oil from China and India like many of my competitors, I found suppliers in the Pacific Northwest where they produce the very highest quality mint oil in the world. This mint is about 3-5x more expensive than imported mint, but the flavor and quality is so much better, and guess what—we are able to support mint farmers working the mint fields in the USA.
The natural abrasives in Davids (calcium carbonate) comes out of a quarry in Pennsylvania, so we are supporting blue collar quarry workers there, instead of buying low grade calcium carbonate from India.
Davids also includes xylitol which is a natural sweetener, but more importantly studies have shown that xylitol actually works to remineralize the enamel on your teeth. Most toothpaste companies don't use this ingredient because it's so expensive, but we use a premium xylitol made from the sap of birch trees and produced in the USA. Again it costs more but it's the best xylitol available and supports USA workers. We actually use 98% USA Origin ingredients and put that right on our label. The "america" part of our tagline (nature+america+you), speaks to our commitment to the sustainability of American jobs and our economy.... a very big deal to us!
What inspires you?
Great question. I really get inspiration from the whole process of having an idea spark in my mind, and just the whole process of bringing this into an actual finished product. I love the whole creative process. I love diving deep into the weeds, and enjoy doing all the investigative work to find out what ingredients and packaging are going to work best and finding the best suppliers. It really is like detective work, and something that I really enjoy.
Also, the customer feedback that we get has been overwhelmingly positive, and hearing what our customers have to say really makes it all worth while, and inspires me to push forward to introduce Davids to more and more people that I know will be positively impacted by our products. It's very inspirational to know that the products we are producing are actually making a difference in peoples health and overall wellness. What could be better than that?!
I also get a tremendous amount of inspiration from being able to write good-sized checks to our USA suppliers, knowing that we are helping sustain our fellow American workers and the US economy. And all of that combined makes producing Davids an enjoyment, not a job.
How have you seen the green, indie beauty industry change since you launched Davids?
Well, our company is only about 18 months old, so the indie beauty industry has not completely changed since our launch, however there is no doubt that even in this very short period of time there is an increasing shift for consumers to seek out more healthy personal care items, which I'm sure will be a continued long term trend. I know that more and more companies are jumping into the green/indie beauty space every month, and both Davids and the industry as a whole is expecting to see very healthy growth.
We are very happy to be part of this growing space, and so happy to see an increasing number of people ditching their unclean cosmetic/personal care products produced by mega corporations and switching over to these great clean options, very often produced by family owned indie companies like Davids... just a very exciting time to be part of the green beauty indie movement.
Can you share one thing we don't know about you yet?
Hmmm...well, hopefully you know by now that my name is Eric Buss, but people always ask the obvious question..."Why did you name your toothpaste Davids?" The backstory for our company name is that I didn't like how Eric's toothpaste sounded, so I went with my middle name (David) instead....thought it just sounded better, plus it's like Davids vs. the "Goliaths" of the toothpaste industry, so worked that way. :)