“Success means never letting the competition define you. Instead you have to define yourself based on a point of view you care deeply about,” Tom Chappell, Tom’s of Maine, said.
That’s the story of Tom and Kate Chappell’s wildly successful personal products company. Basically, they created the market for natural toothpastes, deodorants and more.
Most of the world’s most successful companies were started by someone who was scratching his or her own itch. Clif Bar founder Gary Erickson took a bite of an energy bar and thought, “I could do better than this.”
Ditto Nike. Track coach Bill Bowerman wanted to give his athletes an edge. With a waffle iron and some rubber, he created a product that changed athletics forever.
Tom and Kate scratched their own itch. In their search for non-toxic products, they realized that if they wanted them, they’d have to make them themselves.
Now, half a century later, they’re a successful, sustainable mainstream company with over $45 million in sales annually. While Tom and Kate sold their company to Colgate for $100 million, they continue to run the company day to day.
And they run based on the same principles with which they started. Tom’s of Maine does too many wonderful things to include, but goodness is baked in. For instance, they pay their employees to volunteer, they donate 10 percent of pre-tax profits to human or environmental charities, they don’t test on animals and their products don’t contain artificial colors, flavors, fragrances or preservatives.
When success and sustainability join forces, the sky’s the limit. Go ahead, scratch that itch.