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Public Goods
How One Company Is Making Vegan Personal Care Items Affordable

Many people are intrigued by natural brands that promise cruelty-free products and healthy, paraben-free ingredients. Unfortunately, however, these brands don't always fit into every person's budget, leaving people in a sticky situation. Luckily, companies are in the works to bring consumers products that meet their values without breaking their wallets. 

For example, a brand new company is offering natural personal-care items for less than what you tend to find at big chains and box stores. Their secret? Cut out all middlemen to bring healthy products from the factory directly to the consumer.

Public Goods pushes products over profits. 

Public Goods is formed around a very simple concept: Sell memberships to customers, and then let them purchase all the company’s shampoos, moisturizers, toothpastes, sunscreen and tree-free toilet paper at cost. With that singular idea, Public Goods launched a Kickstarter campaign featuring a onetime lifetime membership option for $49. After the campaign, membership will be on a monthly and yearly basis. A week later, the company had raised almost five times its goal of $20,000.

Bolstered by public support, Public Goods already plans to expand its marketplace to include groceries, linens, and cleaning products in the near future. The company estimates its average customer will save $70 each month by purchasing through Public Goods instead of other marketplaces.

Vegan, eco-friendly, and paraben-free doesn’t have to be expensive. 

Every item sold by Public Goods is vegan, free of parabens and sulphates, and sidesteps a supply chain many believe to be the root cause of overpriced items.

“Top-quality, natural products don’t actually have to cost a lot of money to make,” Public Goods co-founder Morgan Hirsh said in a release. “It’s the supply chain that’s the problem! We think consumers deserve better than that, and that’s what Public Goods is all about. Superb formulations and an expanding range of essential products makes Public Goods a winning concept for the conscious consumer.”

Doing this allows Public Goods to sell products that cost on average half that of popular chain's natural lines. The company also saves on costs by putting out products in plain packaging; not unlike the new, online supermarket Brandless, which is also operating on a business model that is no-frills, and no middlemen.

Public Goods was formed by Hirsh, who used to run a leather-goods manufacturing plant, and Michael Ferchak, an engineer with extensive experience in new business development and international trade sectors. The company’s lead product advisor, Kimberly Greenfield, used to work as coordinator of buying at Trader Joe’s, and helped to expand the organic label at Whole Foods with 1,000 additional products.

Public Goods launched a beta version in January 2016 under the name Morgan’s. Morgan’s success was the final push the founders needed to go live with the company.

Through Aug. 18, you can be a lifetime member for just $49. 

Public Goods will offer its $49 lifetime membership to Kickstarter backers through Aug. 18. Once that campaign ends, membership will cost $12 a month. It's an investment that, if this company takes off like it appears to be, will likely offer a return on investment many times over.    

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