Listen, everyone has an About Us. We have all read the endless self-indulgent, self-important, usually boring stories, right? So why read this? I’m guessing if you are the type of consumer who just purchases “stuff” based on the price or getting your immediate needs met, then there are other brands out there for you, and you wouldn’t have clicked on our About Us anyway. If you are a person who understands how critical it is to support brands who are actually committed to something greater than just the bottom line, then this About Us is for you.
We think it’s important to understand what a brand stands for. It seems there is a growing movement toward supporting brands that stand for something. We are very happy to witness this as we have been standing, often alone, for many important issues for over 20 years now, and, nope, we aren’t tired yet and, nope, we don’t plan on stopping.
In 2000 I left a teaching position to start Herban Cowboy. I used to teach college math, so I wasn’t missed. I mean come on, does anyone really love math class, be honest. While I was teaching, I would moonlight at a health food co-op (shhh, don’t tell anyone), working in the herb section - thus Herban Cowboy. I saw there was a need for innovation in the personal care space, and so it began. I borrowed money from my dad to start Herban Cowboy. He was disappointed, as he had hoped for a more practical, less risky choice like med school or whatever. Sorry, Dad. Over the past twenty years, I’ve often questioned my choice, but I’ve never regretted standing for something bigger than me, no matter how hard it has been.
Around the same time, I married my wife Lisa, who was working three jobs to put herself through college (she’s way smarter than I am). She just thought I was a bit “off,” and that hasn’t changed - love is truly blind. We were both totally broke; our only car was given to us by my mom at our wedding, and our first home was a rent-free rustic family log cabin we shared with all the wild animals in the surrounding area.
(Please note this disclaimer - I do not recommend being broke, starting a company and getting married at the same time, not the smartest move.)
From the outset, we have been underdogs. No private equity money, no influential advisors, no nothing dude, it’s been all sweat equity. Still, we both agreed that we wanted Herban Cowboy to be different, instead of just another company using “green terms” to sell to people. We chose the hard path, spending all our profit, time, and energy educating consumers on important issues like veganism, sweatshops, US made products, recyclability and sustainability, while also scraping pennies together to invest in eco innovations (more about that below).
Let me take a moment to show you a tiny peek into how your investment in Herban Cowboy, aka buying our products helps keep companies who care going. Year after year, we have reinvested our profits, aka the extra money you pay to us to make products for you. So, no, we do not have a private jet, hey we don’t even own a company Keurig. Instead we invest in important environmental innovations, like: pushing packaging manufacturers to create more eco-friendly options, (we won an award in the metals packaging industry for our innovations); bringing to market a renewable, effective deodorant base, which is now the standard used by many companies on the market; and using innovative natural ingredients as alternatives to synthetics.
Most importantly, we have spent the past twenty-plus years driving hundreds of thousands of miles, crisscrossing the US in our broken-down Subaru, going from store to distributor, conference to speaking engagement, being laughed at, told it was a fad, and flatly turned down – all because we want to promote the removal of animal ingredients from personal care. Yep, that’s us. We have been educators and disruptors more than we have been business people. I believe in having a business mind and a hippie heart, because that’s what it takes to survive the brutal business environment while also caring about the environment. You and I both know, if we as consumers don’t have better options among the products we consume, then how can we make any positive changes?
I want you to know the real About Us, and thus the overshare here – so when you invest your hard-earned dollars in a brand, you can trust that this clear mission statement, to be part of changing the world, is at the heart of Herban Cowboy. I am sure my competitors don’t want me telling you all this, but hey, as they say when they take tons of money from investors with the goal in mind of copying us and pushing us out of the market, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” We are taking on the industry/competitors, and educating, innovating, and creating a space for a brand with real commitment, in the hope that more consumers just like you take every opportunity to be part of a larger message about changing the way we consume. In the end, I think we all know it’s worth it, and we are the generation to get it done.
Luke & Lisa
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