With sustainable packaging filled with “good-for-you” ingredients, Public Goods sells a wide range of products from household cleaners to personal care to grocery, all housed in minimalistic packaging. While company officials keep hard numbers close to the vest, they say revenue has doubled almost every year since its 2017 launch. Today, 73 staff work for the New York-based company on a global basis and its range of 10 products has exploded to more than 300.
As expected, this fast-growing company says it saw an uptick in membership and revenue during the pandemic. And once strictly DTC, Public Goods now has brick and mortar presence, too.
Late in 2021, Public Goods expanded into a new category–skincare. Its lineup of gender-neutral, clean and vegan products are all priced under $15.
Happi asked Michael Ferchak, co-founder and chief product officer, about Public Goods’ new skin care range and what’s ahead for 2022.
HAPPI: Why skin care? What did you think Public Goods could do better that wasn’t already out there in the market?
Ferchak: We survey our members regularly to ask what new products they want us to develop and launch. In these surveys, a high number were asking for more personal care products. In fact, nearly 85% of our community has requested more skin care products.
Our goal at Public Goods is to offer all the essential products our members use daily in an eco-friendly one-stop shop. A comprehensive skin care offering was a natural next step for the brand. We saw a unique opportunity to create skin care that adheres to our brand values – healthy, sustainable, simple, beautiful and affordable – and is available for our members to purchase from the same place they are getting their other everyday essentials.
HAPPI: Can you share some insight into the R&D behind the products?
Ferchak: When launching new products, our product development experts start by surveying our members asking what products they want to see next – then we may do a follow-up survey inquiring about product specifications. Next, we work with various manufacturers to develop the product and go through rigorous testing to finalize it. As part of the process, we also develop the most sustainable option for packaging, making sure it looks beautiful, too. For this specific launch, we identified a handful of skin care products that we thought would be important in creating a Skin Care System for our members, while keeping in line with our minimalist assortment philosophy.
HAPPI: Also, can you talk about the packaging? Is it sustainable?
Ferchak: We put a lot of focus on sustainable packaging at Public Goods. We chose to package many of our skin care products in glass bottles, including our Vitamin C Serum, Clay Mask, Eye Cream, Night Moisturizer and Facial Mist. Other products that would traditionally come in plastic blister packs, like tweezers and nail clippers, we’ve packaged in plastic-free paper boxes. We’re also working on a new bath salt that will be packaged in plastic-free paper tubes.
HAPPI: Were there any constraints in choices for the skin care specifically since there can be issues with safety and raw material degradation, for example?
Ferchak: Regarding material constraints, whenever we have a liquid or cream product, there is a chance for reaction with the packaging material it comes in contact with. Glass is one of the most non-reactive materials, which is great, because it’s also one of the most eco-friendly. Whatever the material we ultimately choose, it must pass industry-standard compatibility tests with the product that is going to be packaged inside.
HAPPI: Is there a product in the new skin line that you believe is the hero or standout?
Ferchak: Our Skin Care System, comprised of the Crème Cleanser, Vitamin C Serum, Clay Mask, Eye Cream, Night Moisturizer and Facial Mist, are considered the lead products for this launch. We think that they are all essential additions to someone’s skin care routine, and we’re currently seeing the Eye Cream, Vitamin C Serum and Night Moisturizer fast become best sellers!
HAPPI: The company is really far-reaching in terms of product offerings—are there areas where you won’t go or enter in CPG?
Ferchak: Our product portfolio currently spans over 300 products and is growing rapidly. We’re on a mission to create a one-stop shop for consumers, so we consider any category that is essential to your home a possible category that we’d like to expand into – from what’s in your pantry to what’s in your kitchen drawers.
HAPPI: What is ahead of Public Goods in 2022?
Ferchak: We’re really excited to continue our product catalog expansion in 2022. In 2021, we grew our product development team to nine employees in preparation to develop and launch several hundred products in the next year, including products in all-new categories. Additionally, we are working with a team of experts to develop our future sustainability strategy and plans.