I met Devin of The Optimist Co last Fall at The WELL Summit and was immediately smitten with her brand. "Recognizable is the new natural and our ingredients make it easy to identify our products are safe. No chemistry degree required." Her story is one that I'm sure many can relate to; if you want to see change, make it happen yourself. I found her attitude to be positive (hello, Optimist!) and she really has built her business from the ground up. Her session at the WELL Summit wasn't one that was "hocking" her cleaning products but rather she taught us how we could make our own. That shows a true love for her mission. She wants us to be healthy and happy, our homes clean but not to our detriment. I had the chance to ask Devin a little bit about The Optimist Co. and what they've got going on...Give us a little background as to how The Optimist Co. came about. What initially drove you to start?
After the birth of my first child I put a great deal of effort into finding safe, organic and green products for my home, including my cleaning products. It was during my second pregnancy that I suffered an asthma attack using one of these leading “green” cleaning sprays. After looking at the label, I realized I would practically need a chemistry degree to read and understand the ingredients. This sent me on a new mission to make my own cleaning products with ingredients I could both recognize and trust as safe. No Chemistry degree required!
My friends and family were amazed at how well these handcrafted cleaning products worked and how incredible the pure essential oils I used smelled. Their feedback is what sparked my idea I could turn my cleaning produces passion into a business.
When creating your products, where do you take inspiration from?
I believe that you should use produces that make you feel good. We are way to accustomed to using harsh products to clean that give us headaches, skin irritation and burn our eyes. I wanted to inspire chemical free cleaning in a really positive way as I know how much information we are bombarded with daily as we try to make better choices for our families. I did not want to make switching your cleaning products to safe option to be a stressful task but one that makes you feel excited and happy! This inspiring spirit is what lead to the name The Optimist Co.
When I formulate new products I stick to a simple system. Are these ingredients I can recognize? Are they safe? Do they work? We have a DIY Kit that teaches our customers how to handcraft their own cleaning products so ingredients must be easy to access and are usually found in your pantry or refrigerator.
Tell us a little bit more about your "GreenUps”.
I love to get face time with our customers, hear their stories and use their feedback to develop new products. A GreenUp is a great way to learn about our products and how to clean without chemicals in a fun, relaxed environment. We are all at different stages in our green awareness and journeys so I keep the conversation very open and supportive. It is always helpful to see a product you are new too in action as well and see how great they clean and smell.
What do you love to do in New England, when you aren't busy running your successful business?
I am from Michigan originally so living here and exploring New England has been a fun adventure. I am so lucky to call Cape Cod home and my daughters and are are going to make a Cape summer beach and bucket list. After 4 pm you can park at most beaches for free so we like to pack a dinner picnic and explore new areas outside of our beach sticker reach. We are working on planning our first camping trip to Maine this summer as well.
You have certainly found some fantastic early success! Where do you see The Optimist Co. headed in the future?
Our Bright Side glass cleaner was just named a top Cleaning Product of 2016 by Family Circle Magazine and featured on the Today Show. We are grateful for this national recognition and business is growing quickly!
We are adding a new recurring order feature to our website so our customers can get their favorite cleaning and laundry products even easier and faster. We are also adding new stores who carry our products weekly and updating our map. Most of our store accounts come from the recommendation of our customers who tell us their favorite places to shop.