We love bamboo at GoReusable, so we were excited to see posts on an eco community on Facebook about coming together to develop the best bamboo toothbrush on the market. The Lazy Environmentalists Bamboo Toothbrush was launched on 24 April. We asked founder and entrepreneur Amy Matthews to share the story behind it.
I set up The Lazy Environmentalists Facebook community in February 2019. The idea started with a need to share my eco-anxiety and do something practical about it. My partner Sam and his best friend Adrian encouraged me to set up the community find likeminded people to share the start of my eco journey with. It was really heartening that it was received enthusiastically by so many people feeling the same.
We started to think about how we could add more value and support our fast-growing community better. Members were raising concerns about problems they were having with eco-friendly products they were using, and we felt the same. That gave me a lightbulb moment.
Could we create eco-friendly products, developed by our community, that would remind us all every day that we do make a difference?
In August 2019 we decided to go for it, and over the next four months I asked the community a lot of questions about what they wanted to see in a product.
We decided on a bamboo toothbrush, as a lot of community members were raising concerns and questions about ones they were using. We reached out to a designer and a manufacturer who sent us batches of samples and started the design and development process.
We shared a 3D design image and, over 20 posts out to the community I asked a huge range of questions about the design and what they wanted to see in the brush. We had some great feedback, which helped us decide that The Lazy Environmentalists Bamboo Toothbrush should have medium bristles, a curved head and a paint dipped tip. There would be motivational slogans on the handle, which should have rounded off edges so it would sit comfortably in the hand.
For the next development phase, our aim was to get some more crunchy feedback. We wanted our community members to test the prototype brushes and tell us exactly what they thought of them. So in December 2019 we selected 50 of our top fans – the most engaged members of the community – to be our testers.
We knew we were going to get genuine feedback and we weren’t wrong. Our top fans loved the medium bristles, the curved brush head that allowed them to clean hard-to-reach areas, the motivational slogans and the paint dip. However, they told us the head was too big, the handle was too square and the neck was too short. Around 150 other members of the community also chipped in with feedback on the design.
We went back to our designer and then our manufacturer to get another set of samples created with this feedback addressed. We then sent out the revised brush to the top fans for their approval. They loved it. In their opinions it was now the perfect bamboo toothbrush.
The special thing for me about this product is that it’s inspired, designed and tested by our community. I hope it will help us all stay motivated on our eco journeys, by reminding us morning and night that the little things we do really do make a difference. And I definitely think it helps to know that we’ve got over 90,000 fellow lazy environmentalists behind us, celebrating every change we make.