It certainly SEEMED like a good idea to include pumps in our packaging when we reformulated in 2016. After all, we had received so many requests to do so. Yes they are more expensive for us as a company, but hey - we want to make Moms lives easier and so the decision was made early 2016.
Change Is Never Easy
Switching our packaging up wasn't easy. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a decision on something so simple as a closure on a bottle? Both Kelly and I were DIZZY after staring at hundreds of types of pumps. And then there was a sampling and testing phase too! When all else failed, and we just couldn't reach a decision, we hit the stores and became completely obsessed with other company's pumps!
Daily photos would go back and forth between Kelly and my cell phones. Our favorite closures would then get emailed to our manufacture who would either enlighten us as to the cost of producing our own version of these pumps, or go get us a sample.
Pumps became a daily topic of lengthy discussion. Not just the design of them, but the ease of use, the over-hang of the nozzle and how much product they expelled at each pump. Yes. We actually discussed the difference between 5 or 15 mls of product being expressed at each pumpage (I just made up that word right now FYI!).
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
After WEEKS of back and forth between Kelly and I and our manufacturer, we finally found a closure that everyone liked and most importantly what our company could afford! Nobody tells you that if you want a custom closure for your bottles, that you have to pay thousands of dollars for the mold to be made, and then you have to order a minimum amount of units (right around 100,000 units if I recall correctly!). Unfortunately, Baja Baby just doesn't have that kind of budget - and if we did - it wouldn't be spent on plastic, I assure you!
We found a clean and simple pump closure that opens and closes easily and we went with it. I was a firm advocate for the pump, so when I saw our new finished product - I was thrilled that my bath-time kid experience was going to be improved.
That was, until I received my first batch of products in the mail.
I couldn't WAIT to open the box to see and use our beautiful new products. But what did I find? Many bottles which had become unscrewed in transit, with congealed (albeit organic!) shampoo stuck all over the bottles.
One Time Problem?
I urgently placed an SOS call to our manufacturer and we immediately set about fixing the issue. We tried many things: lengthening the shrink wrap on the bottle from top to bottom, to half-way down the bottle; heck we even changed the type of shrink wrap too! When none of those tests worked, we tried putting the bottles into different outer boxes in different ways, and every time we thought the issue was solved. Each time we did, we would have a customer experiencing the same disappointment that I did.
And that's just not cool.
And Then There's The Environment
It never dawned on me that switching to pumps wasn't good for the environment. Until some of our awesome customers began to point it out. As we asked for feedback on the changes we had made on our packaging, there was a consistent theme: 'Love the new look, but you're killing the planet in the process!'
Ok, maybe that sounds awfully harsh - but the truth hurts, when it's true!
Several years ago, shops in the UK began to charge their customers for plastic bags. While initially this wasn't such a popular concept, people came to accept it and thankfully the transition has encouraged the vast majority of people to either reuse their bags, or switch to fabric bags instead.
Brandon Gaille blogs about this very topic, which you can read here.
Trying To Do Better
Just like our formulations have vastly improved, Baja Baby is trying to make positive improvements in all aspects of our company. We try to give the best customer care that we can every day. We aspire to have the safest, cleanest formulations for our clients. And we want to become part of the solution when it comes to using plastic. We want to HELP the environment, not HURT it.
Still Not There Yet
As I mentioned once before, it's my ultimate goal to have a 100% compostable vessel for our products. That end goal is going to take time and a boatload of money but I'm committed to getting there one day. Every time I see the line-up of plastic bottles in my shower, it reminds me to find a way to stop the madness and keep looking for a solution!
If you're reading this and you know of a way that we could attain that goal - please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am all ears.