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Q&A: Adopting sustainable habits with Bite

Insider Intelligence spoke with Lindsay McCormick, founder and CEO of Bite, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand founded to help consumers decrease plastic use in their personal care routines, starting with a plastic-free toothpaste before expanding into other products like deodorant.

Bite focuses on teaching consumers how they can make their daily lives more sustainable, and ways to eliminate plastic containers within personal care routines.

Insider Intelligence: Why did you start Bite?

Lindsay McCormick: I had been working as a TV producer and was on a plane every other week for different shoots, always traveling with only a carry-on. I was going through those little toothpaste tubes and found that I could refill my shampoo, conditioner, and face wash, but I was constantly throwing out toothpaste tubes. I wanted to find alternatives that weren't packaged in plastic and didn’t need to be thrown out every week.

II: Prior to Bite, you worked as a TV producer and a surf and snowboard instructor. How did that help you start your D2C brand from the ground up?

LM: When I first moved to California, I was a surf and snowboard instructor. From my time working in Malibu and then Big Bear, I started noticing the rapid impacts of climate change. Snowboard instructors who had worked on the mountains for decades noticed irregular patterns in snowfall, and in Malibu, I would notice more plastic washing up on my board.

I then moved out to Los Angeles in the hopes of working in nature documentaries. In TV production, I learned that you have to deliver an end result on time no matter the complications that may arise. This mentality was really helpful in building Bite where no matter what happens, we have to deliver the product to the customer.

Coming from TV, my job was to make really complex things simple and a lot of that translates into Bite. We try to educate our customers by helping them wrap their heads around abstract concepts like climate change through visual storytelling.

II: Why did you choose to launch a sustainable brand specifically around oral hygiene products?

LM: In 2018, everyone still thought recycling was efficient, and it was before the public started understanding the real plastic problem. For me, I went for oral care products as a way to reduce plastic use in the daily consumer’s habits because toothpaste is something we all use every day.

One thing that they always say to avoid in a business is trying to get people to change their habits, but I went into creating this weird product that required people to flip the script on how they have habitually been brushing their teeth their whole lives. A lot of people ended up wanting to change their habits and are looking for alternatives that are better for the environment.

II: What does sustainability mean to the brand?

LM: It’s about understanding that everything we do is so connected, and the things we're using every day end up in our ecosystems and oceans. There will be products where you can't get plastic out, such as medical equipment, but there are places where we can work to get rid of plastic.

My mission is to get plastic use out of our everyday routines and help consumers think about their consumption habits—getting the consumer to think about the planet every time they use our product.

II: What changes do you hope to see in the next few years in ecommerce around sustainability initiatives?

LM: Overall, it's a net positive that companies are starting to consider sustainability measures because the more people talk about it, the more attention it receives. Of course, there is a huge issue of greenwashing—big businesses that are doing it maliciously and smaller businesses that don't know enough about their product’s manufacturing process.

Competition is amazing in this space. At the beginning, we couldn't even find a fulfillment center that would guarantee not to use plastic tape. Now I've been able to refer all my friends who have sustainable companies to go to one I found that has adopted sustainable measures like paper tape. Thus, as the competition and need for sustainable packaging grows, businesses will start implementing more sustainable measures.