Craig Dubitsky, the admittedly design-obsessed founder and CEO of the natural oral care product line, is pleased with his latest victory. “Colette is one of the coolest, if not THE coolest, stores in the world.”
Hello’s products–primarily toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath spray–are organically curved to fit naturally into the palm of your hand, feature minimal packaging, and come in unique flavors like Pink Grapefruit Mint, Sweet Cinnamint, Supermint, and Mojito Mint. (The refreshing lime-mint concoction is my favorite.)
Dubitsky, who grew up in Englewood, NJ, moved his family to Montclair in 2011, and began building his business in earnest. He and his four-member team (make that five if you count Harbor, the canine head of Human Resources) work out of a mod, spacious, light-filled loft on Bloomfield Avenue near Willow Street.
“Who says you have to be in Manhattan? I love New York City, but don’t need to schlep in there everyday,” says Dubitsky. “We have every amenity you could want right outside the door. More importantly, Montclair stands for something. It’s an open-minded community—a place where anything is possible.”
Dubitsky is proof of that. In only one year, his young brand’s retail distribution has grown to more than 20,000 stores. Hello is currently available at Walgreens, Duane Reade, CVS, Stop & Shop, Giant, select Target stores, and other leading retailers in the U.S. and Canada. He says the tremendous pace of growth is gratifying. “People told me: ‘Who cares about toothpaste?’ But I think people care about everything,” says Dubitsky. “There are no boring categories, just boring executions.”
The former commodities trader was a board member and early investor in Method, the maker of green cleaning products, where he honed his entrepreneurial skills. “I saw how commoditized products could be transformed through beautiful design and eco-friendliness,” says Dubitsky.
Marketing itself as “Seriously friendly,” Hello Products stands apart from its Goliath competitors, Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble, which control almost half of the $30 billion global oral hygiene market.
“Other brands focus on fear, telling you to fight bacteria at all costs,” says Dubitsky. “I wanted to reinvent oral care. Why do you need a mouthwash that burns? Ours tastes delicious. Why do you need nasty, electric blue toothpaste? Our products are effective without alcohol, artificial sweeteners, or dyes,” says Dubitsky.
His strategy is working. Not only is Hello Products growing at a swift clip, Dubitsky is already receiving professional accolades. Earlier this year, his company won a GOOD DESIGN™ Award, one of the world’s most prestigious and longest-standing design award programs. Hello Products feature attractive, simple packaging designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the luxury car brand’s global design agency.
The coveted international award is based on the level of innovation, form, materials, construction, concept, function and quality, as well as product appearance and aesthetic appeal.
“My mission is to bring design, emotion, beauty, and performance to the everyday. You begin and end each day by brushing your teeth. I want to elevate that experience,” says Dubitsky. “And I’m so fortunate to do what I love in a place where I’m excited to live. It’s such a gift to be able to wake up everyday and think: ‘This is amazing.’”