Common Good, a new green household cleaning products company based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has been selling their product in Dumbo since their launch at the end of 2010. We were curious about the product and the people behind it. The locally produced, bulk household cleaning products comes ready to use in plastic bottles but also at in-store bulk refill stations, such as the one at Foragers Market. People can bring in any clean bottle to refill or you can purchase a screen-printed empty glass bottle. We caught up with co-founder Sacha Dunn (who with Edmund Levine) started Common Good.
Great seeing your products in Dumbo (Foragers Market). Since your launch in November 2010, how have buyers reacted to your cleaning products?
We’re really happy with the way people have taken to Common Good – especially bulk refill. We knew when we started that we had a couple of barriers to break. we were a new brand no-one had heard of and we were asking people to make a major change in the way they bought cleaning products. It’s just great to have our suspicions confirmed – people are ready to make an extra effort to reduce waste and help the environment. And we hear they like our packaging too, so that’s nice.
How did the company get started? What were the major challenges in launching Common Good?
Common Good was started because we felt we were using too much plastic. We were already using green products and recycling but we were still blowing through so much plastic. It seemed like the right time and place to try to make a change.
We were both essentially prop stylists so we had ideas about how we wanted the brand to look. We were used to sourcing weird things for shoots and we used that styling background to pull together the packaging we wanted. One of the major challenges in launching Common Good was learning the chemistry. We knew we had to create products that worked or people wouldn’t come back to refill. We found a chemist who understands green cleaning products and worked together to create the best product we could.
We really felt that there was room for a new aesthetic in household cleaners. Nothing fancy but just good, simple and clean. That was the easy part. The chemists have the hard job!
What are the most common consumer misconceptions about household cleaning products?
The good news is I think people are becoming more aware of the chemicals they bring into their homes. I’d say the main problems in our market are:
- artificial fragrances, some of which can be quite harmful and are rarely disclosed but mostly because we don’t know enough about them.
- we use too much product to do the job – overdosing laundry detergent is a major problem and i think vinegar is a great substitute for window cleaner.
- the need for anti-bacterial products when soap and water does so nicely.
Overall, we’re moving in the right direction – last year, Senator Al Franken introduced the Household Product Labeling Act. People are reading websites and blogs about this stuff. We need to spread the word farther but even large supermarkets are buying into green now. We believe the next level of awareness is about packaging. Most high density plastics take over 1000 years to break down. We need to move beyond recycling to a greater emphasis on re-using.
Thank you Sacha and to Common Good for the awareness to reduce waste and keeping the environment safe. To buy Common Good products, go to Foragers Market at 56 Adams Street, Dumbo Brooklyn NY. Other locations are listed in the Common Good website.