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Good Products + Clear Message = Broad Appeal

By: Alexandra Voigt
Posted: February 27, 2009, from the March 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
W.S. Badger Company

The genesis of a natural brand uncovers how a straightforward purpose and product can blossom into a global venture.

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Have philosophies and core principles altered as the company has grown?

I think the principles emerged from the way we were doing business by our fifth or sixth year, and we just thought it would be useful to write them down and make things clear. They are really just variations on the idea of being kind and considerate to people and the planet. I’ve been really surprised at how important they’ve become to us and how much Badger workers appreciate the principles and refer to them, especially to principles such as, “Fun is good,” or “A personal and caring approach to communications.” Certainly, when we write promotional copy or attend a trade show, one of our hallmarks has been to remain personal and caring.

Was there ever a time you were unsure if your organic products would find a market?

Our first product was an immediate and widespread success. We always first try new products on ourselves and our friends and family, and we feel that if they absolutely love them, others will too. In fact, our approach to product development is to make something for someone you love. If we do that, then we can feel proud to give such a product to the world. We won’t refer to a target audience; when we create products, we think of a person, not a consumer.

Are you able to pinpoint when a mainstream perception regarding natural and organic products changed?

During the past two years, there has been an absolute tidal wave of interest and growth in “natural” and “organic” products in the personal care and cosmetic world. The problem is that it is difficult for the average buyer to discriminate between [different and sometimes opposing definitions of natural products]. Communicating this has actually been a big marketing dilemma for us—stressing that we are certified organic as opposed to just having some natural ingredients. It’s a bit like buying wine. How can you tell, other than by price or research, which is the better wine?

Has your company been affected by the green movement? Do you feel the perception regarding your products has changed as a result?

Green is good. Certainly, people are more concerned about global climate change and by the various scares regarding cosmetic and food safety. The organic movement has grown, as have our sales, and we are now much more readily accepted, recognized and even sought-after by previously main-stream buyers who wouldn’t have given us the time of day.