Brother and Sister Duo Reinvent the Toothbrush

By Mayra Monroy on November 24th, 2015 / Comments

The toothbrush and dental hygiene aisle at your local grocer is endless. Hundreds of brands, hundreds of choices. But what if you could find a toothbrush that not only kept up with your dental hygienic needs but also gave back? A toothbrush that not only was created from and in the U.S, but also able to live a second life once you were done with it?

For John McDougall and sister Heather, their passion for sustainability intertwined with everyday essentials with the creation of Bogobrush, the product of simplicity and necessity.

“We both were increasingly passionate about sustainability, and were frustrated by seeing countless conceptual eco-design projects or policies that never seemed to get over line from concept to reality,” said McDougall. “We wanted to combine our talents to bring something to the world that would create a daily moment of environmental and social consciousness, and we kept coming back to the toothbrush.”

The Bogobrush is made out of recycled or biodegradable materials, offering two options. For plastic brushes, the material is made out of recycled plastics, giving these plastics a second chance, and completely recyclable when it’s done. For biodegradable, the material is made of a plant-based bioplastic, giving it the ability to return back to the environment when you’re finished with it.

Bogobrush released its first product in 2012, finding both success and failure almost immediately. After a devastating scrap rate after the first round of funding, Bogobrush started over. Any setbacks have proven to only set them forward, as Bogobrush continues to grow out.

“With no product, and hundreds of orders to fulfill, we decided to start over with sustainable materials we could source and manufacture locally,” said McDougall. “The shift was difficult, but it led us to some amazing local factories and material scientists that have helped bring our products to life. In order to produce locally, however, we needed to purchase our own tooling, which is incredibly expensive for a small startup.  We were incredibly fortunate to get in touch with the Michigan Women’s Foundation, who provided us with a loan in order to purchase tooling, inventory, and really get us off the ground.”

Bogobrush isn’t your ordinary brush. It is specifically designed to fit comfortably in your hand and look good doing it. Bogobrush works just as well, if not better, than its powerbrush counterpart, while also cutting down the price. Not only are you purchasing an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable toothbrush, you are also giving to your community. Each toothbrush purchased is a toothbrush donated to local clinics and organizations in need.

“For me there is no better reward than knowing I am working to create products and experiences that move us towards a more beautiful, abundant, sustainable world,” said McDougall. “Our toothbrush is small, but we want to show that our ‘little toothbrush that could’ is capable of big things.”

To date, Bogobrush has donated over 2,000 toothbrushes to partners all across the country, and the possibilities are endless. Not only does the company hope to expand the brand in the future, they want to be advocates for sustainable change.

Based in the Cass Corridor of Detroit, the duo is launching their full collection of Buy One + Give One, eco-designed toothbrushes, made entirely in the USA. To purchase your own “little toothbrush that could,” visit Bogobrush online.


About the Author

Mayra Monroy

Mayra Monroy

Mayra Monroy is studying communication and journalism at Aquinas College. A Texas native, she enjoys studying communication culture and the arts in West Michigan. She currently resides in Grand Rapids and works as a editor-in-chief for Aquinas’ collegiate student newspaper and a freelance journalist.