Men in Wellness: Meet Eric Buss of Davids Toothpaste
Toothpaste is one of the products I recommend that people switch ASAP when they’re ready to take the plunge into the world of greener personal care. You end of swallowing some of it, inevitably, so it’s one that needs a swap right away. Davids Natural Toothpaste has become a favorite for it’s great minty flavor without the grittiness of some natural brands. So we circled up with Davids founder Eric Buss to learn more about the brand (which is featured in our October Treats & Deals promotion) in the latest installment of our Men in Wellness series.
How did you get started in the wellness industry? Why the interest in it?
It was sort of by chance that I landed in the wellness industry. About five years ago, I was looking at the list of ingredients on my tube of toothpaste, and was curious about all these strange sounding names listed. I jumped onto Google and started looking up the ingredients, and didn’t take too long to figure out that a lot of these ingredients were controversial and not too good for you.
I’m an entrepreneur by nature, and this “crazy” idea just sparked in my head: “I bet I could create a better toothpaste.” This “simple” idea turned into a three-year obsession to develop a clean toothpaste. I spent 1000s of hours researching ingredients, trying to figure out what I didn’t want in Davids toothpaste, and what ingredients I wanted. I also discovered in the process that so many of the ingredients being used are coming from China, Malaysia, India, etc. I realized that it’s critical to not just have the right ingredient name, but also to know the source of the ingredient. So I made it a top priority to find the very highest quality domestic U.S. ingredients. We do this for the highest quality possible, but also to support U.S. jobs, which is a big part of our mission as well at Davids.
Why should men care about their wellness?
I think a lot of guys do care about their wellness, but probably too many men (and women) do not take the next step and actually do something about being more proactive. Let’s be honest: It can be a lot of work and often times confusing to figure out what changes need to be made for living a more healthy lifestyle. Sure, we all know we need to exercise regularly and have healthy diets, but what is so often overlooked is the rest of the products that go into our bodies.
I think women have been ahead of the curve when it comes to taking a second look at the ingredients in their personal care and beauty products, largely because they use more of these products then men, so there is possibly a greater risk for women, but men are beginning to be more aware of the need to clean up their personal care products as well. The masses are still using way too many products with ingredients they should be avoiding, but the rapid rise of green beauty products is a big step in the right direction, and a trend that is only going to continue to grow bigger.
What do men often miss about their wellness?
I think men often times men miss some of the more nuanced things that should be done for their wellness. Generally speaking, guys are more inclined to think that working out or spending time at the gym is the main thing they need to do for wellness. Guys need to realize that there are many other things they should be doing for their wellness… Are you getting enough sleep? Drinking enough water? Taking time to destress through meditation or other forms of relaxation? Are you looking at the list of ingredients on your personal care products? Proactively looking up your cosmetics on the EWG Skin Deep database to see if the products being used have ingredients that should be avoided?
I think women have been doing a better job taking a more holistic approach to their wellness, but again, the trend is moving in the right direction, as men are becoming more aware of their need to be more proactive with their wellness and the brands are responding by creating more products geared towards men.
What unique perspective do you bring to the wellness industry?
First, it’s important to realize that we all can become experts in wellness. There are so many websites, books, and other resources out there with valuable information for living healthy lifestyles… we just have to make it a priority and spend the time investing in ourselves.
It’s really important to understand that many of the big companies that make consumer products are not necessarily concerned about our health, and are too often concerned about profits at the expense of our wellness. It’s really up to us as individual consumers to look out for our own health and wellness when choosing products for ourselves. We need to be educated consumers and not just compare prices, but need to be able to pick up a product and compare ingredient lists. Again, Think Dirty App, and EWG Skin Deep Database are great tools for assisting with this.
As health-conscious consumers look for safe alternatives to the mainstream products they use, there is often times a perception that the “healthy” or “natural” option might not function as well. I think I bring a unique perspective on the importance of using ingredients that are not only healthy for you, but OUT PERFORM what is commonly used in mainstream products.
I bring a unique perspective that natural products can actually be better than their less healthy counterparts if formulated well and ingredients chosen correctly. For example, in a toothpaste application, it is critical to have enough abrasiveness to remove the plaque (plaque is what causes cavities), but also critical to ensure that your toothpaste is not overly abrasive and damage the enamel. Many toothpaste companies go with lower grade abrasives, because they cost less. The sign of a low grade abrasive is if the toothpaste feels really gritty in our mouths…a large particle size is typically what you find in a low grade abrasive, and large particles can damage your enamel.
With Davids, I selected an abrasive that is extra fine, which leaves our toothpaste very smooth and creamy. Basically, with Davids you are polishing the plaque off your teeth vs. scratching it off. Yes, this higher grade abrasive cost more, but with a mission of creating the safest and most effective natural toothpaste, it’s what I chose for Davids.
When I selected the flavoring for Davids, I chose not to use artificial flavoring, or mint oil from China, but instead chose to use ultra premium mint oil from the Pacific Northwest. It has a better flavor and better antibacterial properties—it helps kill the bacteria in your mouth better.
It’s this approach to ingredient selection that I use with our entire ingredient list which has helped propel the popularity of Davids… the quality comes through and people keep coming back for more.
We have found that a lot of wellness is focused on women: women’s health, women leaders, women bloggers, women founders, women advocates, etc. Why do you think that is?
Well, there was a time when most women’s cosmetics were actually made by men, but that has been one of the great things about the new brands that are focused on green beauty and wellness… the majority of the founders lately have been women, so makes sense that they have been featured in this space. Also, the product lines are typically more geared towards women, so the communities have been formed that are very women-centric.
Of course Davids is not a beauty product, but we play well in the space, since toothpaste is part of everyone’s daily “beauty” routine. Everyone wants fresh breath and whiter teeth. Luckily for us, our product is unisex, so we a high percentage of fans that are both men and women, and we’ve been getting placement in retail locations geared for both men and women, so finding that sales are fairly equal between the sexes with Davids.
I think there is a very large untapped market for men’s wellness products, and brands would be very smart to develop more products geared towards men as men begin to take more interest in their grooming and more interest in their wellness The trends are all moving in this direction for men.
Anything else you’d care to share with us, Eric?
Well, people often ask why the company name is Davids if my name is Eric. The truth is I didn’t like how “Erics Toothpaste” sounded, so I used my middle name instead, plus it’s like David vs. the “Goliaths” of the toothpaste industry, so it worked that way too!
Want to try Davids for yourself? Check out our October Wellness Treats & Deals for 20% off the brand through Oct. 31, 2017.