Christina Ramirez was on an assignment at UC Santa Barbara 13 years ago when she came up with the idea for eco-conscious toothbrushes. Today her Plus Ultra Bamboo Toothbrushes are sold in more than 320 retail stores in 22 states, including Whole Foods and Amazon. She also has her sights set on expanding into other eco-conscious products.
In our conversation Christina shares how wise advice from her stepmom encouraged her to leave a job that had left her feeling miserable for an out-of-the-mold job that would bring her long-term happiness. The wise push, Christina says, gave her the confidence to walk toward her ultimate business dream. But her dream didn’t come without a lot of hard work and tough lessons. We talk about the ups and downs she faced when starting a new business – from flying to China to find manufacturers, to a tough lesson in quality control when her first lot of 5,000 toothbrushes were damaged.
We also talk about all the steps Christina took even before facing the production hurdles to bring her idea for a bamboo toothbrush to life. She had a goal: She wanted to create a product sold at Whole Foods. So, she applied for, and was hired for, a job as a cashier. Then, for 6 years she did everything she could to move up in the company. And although she says she didn’t make enough money to even buy a car, she was happy to be working among like-minded peers while learning about the business. Christina shares how she pitched her idea for bamboo toothbrushes to Whole Foods, and how she got the green light from the company’s buyers on a category call. And then, since she didn’t even have a product yet, she shares the day-and-night hours it took to research, develop and manufacture the product shed dreamed about.
If you’ve ever wanted to build a business, we think you will love Christina’s inspiring story. And we’ve got a good feeling it will give you that boost you need to pursue your very own business dreams.
Other Topics Discussed: Finding a job that serves your soul, Manufacturing in foreign countries, The reality of the time commitment in starting a company, Outsourcing, The problem with old school toothbrushes. (In 2018, more than 50 million pounds of toothbrushes ended up in landfills.)