Mary Costa is the co-founder and CMO of Better & Better—a company on a relentless quest to reimagine personal care products to make them better for our health and better for the environment. Focusing on clean, organic ingredients that deliver vitamins in unexpected ways, their first innovation is in oral care, with a premium, natural toothpaste that reduces plastic by 45%, all while delivering vitamins B12 and D3 with every brush. Read on to see why she picked toothpaste, what inspires her as an entrepreneur, and how a simple cup of coffee anchors her day.
Toothpaste is a daily ritual we often don’t think much about. What made you want to elevate that ritual?
We wanted Better & Better to be a company that thinks deeply about the way we all do things, from personal rituals to entire systems of global production. Toothpaste is such a universal part of our daily routines, but it’s become just that - routine.
We believed we could make teeth brushing feel less like a chore and more like self-care. We set about studying the science and learned that toothpaste is, in fact, a great delivery mechanism for vitamins and nutrients because the lining of our mouth is highly efficient at absorption. From there, we formulated for standard toothpaste functions using recognizable, natural, and organic ingredients—and then added a dose of vitamins to step up the overall wellness benefits, making it even better.
What’s one thing about your entrepreneurial journey that has surprised you?
Prior to Better & Better, I joined an existing early-stage start-up. That’s where I met my two co-founders and helped grow and guide that company through an acquisition. This time, I'm on the journey from day one as a first-time founder. And wow! It's amazing to be so close to every aspect of Better & Better, from the product formulation to the brand design, then bringing it to life and speaking directly to customers on a day-to-day basis to grow it into the future.
That being said, entrepreneurship certainly has its challenges, and for me, the ups and downs are the biggest surprise. One day, I'm on top of the world and feel like I'm changing the world. And then, the next day, something shifts--a call from a supplier, feedback from a customer, who knows. As a female founder, I've learned it is really important to talk about these emotional ups and downs and realize they're very common on this journey, though maybe surprising to me.
What is the favorite thing you've heard from one of your customers about your products?
I always love hearing from customers that they're getting high praise and compliments from their dentists. Or simply that their mouths feel great, but my absolute favorite feedback is when I hear from parents that their kids LOVE IT too—they love the pouches and the flavor (it's not too minty), and they're helping their little ones get extra vitamins.
Are you working on any innovations that you want to give us a sneak peek at?
We just launched a natural bamboo toothbrush and a natural floss, which are zero plastic and have replaceable components. So, we're pretty excited about those additions. Part of our ethos is perpetual progress, and we're planning a big 2022.
What’s your self-care routine?
Self-care for me is all about carving out quiet moments in my day or week. Living in a NYC two-bedroom apartment with my partner and two teenage girls—and one bathroom—and being on this journey with Better & Better means it might always feel like there's not enough space in the world or time in the day. There is always something else to do, so finding calm and focus in small moments is key. That translates to a quiet cup of coffee after everyone has left the house to gather myself before I set about the rest of my day. It's a moment for me to reflect, think, plan, and just be.
Oh, and making sure I get to dance like nobody's watching at my favorite fitness studio, 305 Fitness.
What other female-founded brands do you love?
Of course, there's BalmLabs. I know, not the answer you wanted. Ok, some others I love—Cadence (their capsules are great for the gym and travel), Common Good (their cleaning products really work, and they were one of the earliest eco-friendly home brands), and if I didn't drop this hint earlier, 305 Fitness.