Who doesn't love the thrill of finding the next Glossier or Allbirds when the brand is still small, scrappy and not showing up on everyone else's faces and feet? I know I do--and I'm particularly interested in those fledgling companies who are taking on and shaking up long-established industry players
The opportunity to uncover not just one, but hundreds of promising new startups came earlier this month at the Consumer Discovery Show (CDS), hosted in New York (and in Los Angeles in October). Established by FounderMade, the bi-coastal show spotlights promising up-and-comers in the realms of beauty, food and beverage, and health and wellness and puts their people directly in front of potential investors, distributors, retailers and influencers.
Unlike many conferences and trade shows I've attended (which are typically manned by event marketing professionals) attendees at the CDS have an opportunity to meet and directly interact with the company founders. It's in this way that you can get a true sense of the passion and purpose that brought these fledgling brands into being. After speaking with dozens of incredible companies, here are the ones I'm most excited about:
I knew that founder Craig Dubitsky believed in the safety and flavor of his toothpaste, when, 10 seconds after meeting him, he took one long "shot" of the stuff directly from the tube. Dubitsky, who was also one of the co-founders of Eos lip products and an investor in Method, went up against the three entrenched industry behemoths (Colgate, Crest and Sensodyne) to create Hello Products, a colorful and cheeky oral care brand that promotes itself as" Friendly AF."
His toothpaste may be better for you, too. It's free from triclosan (an antibacterial ingredient banned from soaps) as well as dyes, artificial flavors, microbeads, parabens or glutens. The brand is rapidly taking over market share, second only to Tom's of Maine in natural oral care. Hello also makes it easier for you to swap out that old, not-so-friendly toothbrush: You'll get one free with every tube when you opt into a toothpaste subscription service.
For people who sweat (aka, everyone) the struggle is real. Most drugstore deodorants contain ingredients (such as aluminum, parabens, triclosan) which may cause health issues. Natural deodorants can have high failure rates. Recognizing an unmet need in the marketplace, L'Oreal marketing alum Allison Moss created type:A--a safer, non-toxic deodorant designed, as the name implies, to be an overachiever in its mission to keep you dry and odor-free.
For now, her line consists of a single hero product--a dry touch, sweat-activated formula--in two gender-neutral scents. The product comes in a soft tube applicator which gives an experience closer to a stick deodorant (you won't have to apply it with your fingers as you do with so many other natural cream/jar deodorants).
In an effort to provide full transparency, every ingredient used in type:A is revealed on the site, along with its reason for being on your skin. While the products only launched earlier this year (through the type:A website and natural beauty retailer Credo) they've already received rave reviews from early adopters.
If I've learned anything from Shark Tank, it's that attempting to launch a new beverage brand is an exercise likely to end in disaster. When Spindrift founder and CEO Bill Creelman launched his concept--triple filtered sparkling water + real fruit juice--in 2010 it might have looked just that way.
He was selling Spindrift from his Prius, the product clogged production lines and he was rejected from tons of retailers. But those who did try Spindrift went crazy for it, and today, the product is now available in Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sweetgreen, Starbucks and Target, to name a few.
While the sparkling water category is still fairly small compared to its big, sugary cousin--soda--Spindrift is making a major impact. The company's sales have spiked 800 percent in the past two years, according to Food Dive, and recently closed a 20 million dollar funding round. Creelman credits the success, in part, to people's desire to drink what's real versus sugary or artificially sweetened). "it's unlikely people are going to go back to just drinking sugary drinks," he says.