Public Goods founders Morgan Hirsch and Mike Ferchak met at a bar in China. It sounds like the beginning of a joke but it was Fortune that brought the two together. Both were in China exploring opportunities- Ferchak had a background in engineering, product development and manufacturing and Hirsh was there working in media after he had already started and sold his first business. Together, they started to discuss ways to build a sustainable lifestyle company.
Fate would make their trajectory circuitous, however. Hirsh went back to Canada to run his family’s 100 year old leather goods business to prevent the company from being sold. When the business went bankrupt in 2014, Hirsh moved to NY where an idea struck him while brushing his teeth. “What if you could push a button, and all of your basic toiletries would get delivered to you on a subscription basis?”.
He called Ferchak who was now in NYC as well. Together they raised some money and the company was launched as Morgans but it didn’t take off. Luckily, they found an investor and created a stellar crowdfunding campaign that raised 35 times the amount they aimed for. It allowed them to rebranded as Public Goods, hire some crucial advisors and the brand took off.
One crucial advisor was Kim Greenfeld, who had more than twenty years of experience at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Greenfeld helped Hirsh and Ferchak connect with manufacturers who met their standards for high quality, healthy ingredients, affordability and sustainability.
One of their initiatives was to minimize the waste. Their shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap and cleaning liquids are in reusable bottles. So, instead of buying new ones when you run out, you can simply order the refill which allows you to use the bottle indefinitely and keeps plastic out of landfills. The white bottles they use for their personal care products are made out of sugarcane (a bioplastic) and products traditionally made out of plastic, like trash bags, are made out of recycled and compostable material.
Their towels are 100% organic which means less water and chemicals are used on the farm to grow the cotton and they avoid harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates and phthalates in all of their products.
Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change and vast amounts of trees are cut down to make paper products. At Public Goods, their paper products are made out of bamboo because bamboo grows faster than trees and are considered a renewable resource. The paper products not made from bamboo are made from recycled paper.
A lot of their products are made in the United States which means buying from them supports local manufacturing and labor.
The combination of form and sustainable function is what we strive for at SPUNJ and in Public Goods we appreciate the perfect symbiosis of the two. Their packing is simple and pleasing to the eye which makes it appealing to even the most hard core minimalist. It’s nice to keep on the counter top or beside table.
The best part is, they make it all affordable. Ordering on their site requires a $59 annual membership fee but on SPUNJ you can buy things (with a slight mark up) without the annual fee. Plus with any order over $65 you get free shipping.