Customer service done different and fast reinvention of a faceless product category – Interview with Craig Dubitsky of hello

Today’s interview is with Craig Dubitsky, the founder and CEO of hello products. They first came to my attention when I heard that Craig has his Skype address on the homepage of their website as a way of encouraging their customers to get in touch. I was even more intrigued when I found out they are reinventing a category in the consumer products market and having some phenomenal success. Craig joins me today to talk about what they are doing, why they are doing it, what makes them stand, what he’s learned along the way and their plans to make the world a friendlier place, starting with your mouth.

This interview follows on from my recent interview: Removing the ‘friction’ from the last mile of customer service – Interview with Yuval Brisker of TOA Technologies – and is number eighty five in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.

Here are the highlights of my interview with Craig:

  • Craig is an arbitrageur by background, originally working in the currency markets, but now looks for discrepancies and areas for improvement in other areas of our lives.
  • Currently, he is focusing on using design to reinvent the oral health care product market.
  • Is interested in how we can elevate the everyday.
  • Craig loves design as it evokes emotion.
  • Worked with BMW Designworks to help design hello’s product range.
  • Their aim is to make the everyday commodity desirable and bring a level of precision and performance to a product category that has never been done before. In short, to build a seriously friendly oral care brand that’s 99% natural, and 100% nice.
  • People can’t always articulate what they want and, therefore, it is up to entrepreneurs and people in companies to drive innovation forward.
  • Particularly in the case of mouthwash, Craig couldn’t and doesn’t understand why all mouthwashes tend to hurt when used and how pain equals efficacy.
  • Therefore, hello is reinventing both the design of the category’s packaging and the contents of the products.
  • All of their products use natural ingredients and contain no fancy chemicals or alcohol.
  • Craig sees his job as seeing the invisible and make it visible.
  • Hello’s commitment to connecting and serving their customers is demonstrated by putting Craig’s Skype address on their homepage. You can see it here, at the bottom of the page.
  • They feel that is the right thing to do (they are called hello, after all) in this connected world that we live in. They also think it’d be interesting and fun too.
  • People are, typically, shocked that it is real when they try it out.
  • But, it has been a source of some amazing insights, stories and advocacy.
  • To present a human face to a category that is, typically, faceless seems to resonant with people really nicely.
  • The bar, in many cases, is really low so if you just raise it a little bit then it makes you stand out.
  • Mediocre seems to be the standard for most industries so little changes can make a huge difference.
  • You can’t really outsource soul.
  • Hello launched in March 2013 and they went from formulations and renderings to fully fledged commercial products on shelves in just under 6 months. This typifies Craig’s philosophy of not believing things can’t be done.
  • Craig’s obsession with the details plays out in his story how they had to make a 1/20,000th of an inch adjustment to a product’s packaging before it was right and could go into production. But, it’s still not perfect….yet!
  • Hello’s 3 core competencies are:
    • 1. Passion and unbridled creativity in everything;
    • 2. Professionalism and an obsession about operational excellence; and
    • 3. Speed.
  • However, they listen throughout all three of these activities so that they are always adjusting as they go.
  • They other things that they benefit from is that they have no layers in their organisation and no legacy.
  • Hello wants to make the world a friendlier place, starting with your mouth.
  • In the past few months, they have gone from nothing to being in around 18,000 stores (Walgreens, DuaneReade, Target, CVS Pharmacy etc etc) nationally across the USA (Craig also assures me that they are coming to the UK in summer 2014).
  • They are receiving inbound enquiries from countries all around the world.
  • Happily, they have built their supply chain to be able to handle the phenomenal growth that is coming their way in 2014 and beyond.
  • Do try out Hello’s products and, remember, if you have any problems you can always call Craig up on Skype.
  • Stay friendly!

About Craig (taken from his bio on hello’s website)

Craig Dubitsky hello productsCraig Dubitsky, hello’s founder and CEO, is obsessed with design and transformational brands. He was an early investor and board member in Method, the co-founder of eos, CMO of Popcorn, Indiana, and a board member of the Art Directors Club. He is Chairman of Lexicon’s Advisory Board and a board member of Help. He’s a lover, not a fighter, and started hello because he was tired of hearing about a war in his mouth.

You can find out more about hello at their website, and don’t forget to say hello on Twitter @helloproducts.

Comments

  1. Adrian,

    Thanks for sharing another great interview. I love the “why does mouthwash have to burn” and “this is a product you won’t hide under the sink.” Clearly, he’s been in my bathroom. LOL. Look forward to trying it… adding to my shopping list now.

    Annette :-)

    • adrianswinscoe says:

      Annette,
      They have a great concept and I am glad that you liked the interview. I’m excited about the products too but, unfortunately, they are not in the UK yet. However, Craig is going to send me some products to try out.

      Can’t believe that I’d get this excited about mouthwash and toothpaste. Guess that’s part of their design!

      Adrian

      • I was thinking the same thing. Who gets excited about toothpaste and mouthwash?! I’m going to find it this weekend, and I’ll let you know how it compares to the same ol’.

        Annette :-)

  2. Adrian

    The point for me that resonates is

    The bar, in many cases, is really low so if you just raise it a little bit then it makes you stand out.

    In most cases you really don’t have to be that different to really make a difference.

    James

Trackbacks

  1. […] interview follows on from my recent interview: Customer service done different and fast reinvention of a faceless product category – Interview wi… – and is number eighty six in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are […]

Speak Your Mind

*