The deodorant industry hasn’t changed much since its beginnings over 100 years ago. Sure there are hundreds of scents, sprays, roll-ons, etc., but the basic workings of a deodorant container has been the same for decades. In a world of mass production, wrapped up in a throw away society, many companies are striving to become more environmentally friendly. Disposable containers and eco-friendly ingredients are becoming very important to many consumers, as we are all aware of the problems many of the products we use daily are causing with our environment. The deodorant industry is no different. Everyday, landfills around the world are flooded with discarded deodorant containers. A new product and company called Switch Fresh plans to help change that.
Switch Fresh is a patented deodorant product that is the brain child of Antoine Wade, who is the cousin of NBA superstar Dwyane Wade. Switch Fresh is a revolutionary deodorant product that will reduce plastic waste by almost 96% according to the company. This is made possible by selling the consumer a reusable container with customizable designs, which is then filled with interchangeable cartridges. The deodorant container and scents will be made for both men and women. By offering consumers a reusable container, the company’s eco-friendly design will save about 800 deodorant bottles per person over their lifetime from ending up in landfills.
Antoine saw the need to revolutionize the deodorant industry because people would throwaway a functional deodorant bottle when the product was done. All of these plastic containers end up in the garbage and since plastic isn’t biodegradable, they’ll sit in landfills forever.
Switch Fresh’s patented design replaces the normal twist feature found in traditional deodorants with gliders on the sides of their deodorant bottles. The traditional twist mechanism inside of current deodorant bottles take up about 50% of the container. The company will offer their deodorant cartridges in two sizes, a standard which is 2.5 ounces and a larger size which is 5 ounces.
We sat down with the founder and CEO of Switch Fresh, Antoine Wade to get more info about the product:
Black Main Street (BMS): Antoine, tell the readers a little bit about yourself and business background?
Antoine Wade (AW): I was a Commercial Art major. The foundation of Art is unleashing your creativity into your work. I never knew my art background would come full circle with a project like this. I left school when I was offered a position to work with my cousin, Dwyane Wade, at his company Wade Enterprise. They say experience is the best teacher and I wholeheartedly agree. I learned so much working closely with brands like Converse, Gatorade, Lincoln and T-Mobile. From creative input on apparel, to consulting and appearing in commercials, it gave me a firsthand look on how companies valued their individual brands. Working as Director of Operations, I managed events as well as Wade basketball camps. Our youth camp was one of the largest in the country at the time, with a waiting list of over 500 kids. From there we launched the Dwyane Wade Fantasy camp – our unique twist on Michael Jordan’s Senior Flight School, where we invited adults aged 35+ to participate in a weekend of business and basketball. It was the best environment for a budding entrepreneur. With a fee for participants north of $10,000, the demographic was all successful businessmen who loved the game of basketball. After five years running the Fantasy camp, it was the perfect time to step out in faith and put what I learned into launching Switch Fresh.
BMS: What made you come up with this idea?
AW: I got the idea for Switch Fresh after brainstorming a cologne project that didn’t evolve. Athletes sweat a lot and they go through more deodorant than the average person. In a market that is saturated with celebrity fragrances, I thought that launching a deodorant would be a good fit. The idea didn’t go anywhere because it was just “hey let’s do deodorant” without any foundation. However, I couldn’t shake the idea of making deodorant cool. Not just for athletes, but for everyone. I had taken apart a bottle of deodorant and felt that it didn’t make sense. There was a lot of plastic and it was only half full of actual deodorant. I realized that traditional deodorant packaging lacked innovation and has been the same since I started using it as a kid. Not only that, it was a danger to the environment. The bottles we toss in the trash each month are fine, they’re just empty. So, I broke out a pencil and started to sketch new ideas.
BMS: How long did it take to go from the idea for the product to having the finished product?
AW: This project has been a long time coming. I think most people see products as overnight success stories, not realizing the blood sweat and tears poured into making things a reality. The idea to change deodorant came in 2009. I filed the patent application in 2011 and was granted the patent in 2012. However, we had just launched the Fantasy camp and were starting to see growth, so I didn’t move forward with it at that point. The turning point happened while on vacation with my wife. We were on the beach and noticed so many bottles, cups and unnecessary trash. We started discussing it and decided it was time to work on Switch full time. It took a while to find an engineer who could come up with the correct measurements for the prototypes. I was introduced to Matt Nottingham, who is now our lead engineer, and he brought it to life. I kid you not, our first prototype was almost the size of an iPad. (laughing) But revision after revision, we started to get closer to a final version. After getting the bottles right, we had to correct the deodorant attachment sequence, which took tons of variations. We had to make sure that it wouldn’t be too difficult to attach the replaceable cartridges or customers wouldn’t receive it well. Our last design update was Summer 2016 and we finally have a product that we feel comfortable putting in the hands of consumers.
BMS: When and where will we be able to get our hands on Switch Fresh?
AW: Switch Fresh is available for preorder exclusively on Indiegogo at igg.me/at/switchfresh from now through March 19th. We’ll then go into production on the first run. We intend to have the product in the hands of backers this summer, just in time for peak “deodorant season “. At that point, our full line of bottle designs and deodorant formulas will be sold on our website switchfresh.com.
BMS: Can you tell the readers about your product, why it’s so revolutionary, and what’s the vision for the company in the near future?
AW: Switch Fresh is a patented deodorant bottle that reduces waste by 96% and inspires individuality with crisp unisex scents and customizable designs. It’s the first of its kind deodorant bottle that you purchase once and refill with replaceable deodorant cartridges when you run out. This Summer we will launch a subscription service for our deodorant refills. Members will have priority access to limited release bottles and scents, and never have to worry about running out of deodorant again.
We have plans to evolve our line to include customizable bottles, where customers can upload their own designs to be printed on their reusable Shuttles. We’re also sourcing cool new materials for limited edition bottles and hope to partner with different companies to make licensed bottles.
Our plan is to grow this brand beyond just deodorant and there are more patents currently in the works.
BMS: And lastly, will your cousin D-Wade be an unpaid pitchman for Switch Fresh? Lol
AW: I hope so! (Laughing) No seriously, he’s been a huge supporter of this endeavor. I’ve watched him build his brand and partner with several companies since the beginning. His growth as a business man has been inspiring. He has his hands in so many exciting ventures. I wouldn’t ask him to do that. This deodorant not only reduces waste, but it has unique designs and scents and it’s delivered to your doorstep. I want people to recognize the creativity of our product and see the value of what we’re attempting to do in the personal care industry. Not because he says so, but because it’s clearly a better way.