If there's one design concept that rules the toothpaste aisle, it's homogeneity. Drug stores across America are filled with row after row of those red and blue rectangular boxes, and the marketing isn't any more diverse. If one brand claims to "kill" gingivitis, the other "fights" it. All of it drove Craig Dubitsky crazy.
As one of Method Home's original investors, and co-founder of the colorful and highly stylized lip balm brand, eos, Dubitsky has staked his career on bringing great design to forgotten categories. So just last year, he launched Hello Products to bring friendlier, more beautiful branding to the sleepy $30 billion dental care market.
With ample contacts in the industry, he partnered with BMW's DesignworksUSA to create the packaging.
"We loved that David and Goliath story, where Craig was taking on these major incumbents and was going to disrupt them," says Peter Falt, director of creative consulting at DesignWorks. "Craig understands that if you're going to get in there with the big boys you really need design to compete. It's really a business weapon."
Dubitsky also built 20 custom tools to manufacture the bottles, flew in toothpaste caps from Italy (they were the only ones with a butterfly hinge discreet enough for Dubitsky's taste), and once adjusted the buttons on Hello's breath spray by one 20,000th of an inch, just to guarantee that satisfying click. "These are the things that keep me up at night," Dubitsky says.
"He's just manic enough," says Falt, laughing. "It's his tenacity and his follow through on the vision that makes all this happen."
Today, Hello's products, which range from Mojito Mint toothpaste to Pink Grapefruit Mint mouthwash, are being sold in 20,000 stores and counting, yet still, Dubitsky isn't totally satisfied with the finished product. "I'm never happy. It always needs to be better," he says. "That's what you call a virtuous cycle of paranoia."