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Doing well and doing good

How about a little good news? This week, we talk to Lindsey Delaplaine, cofounder of Plaine Products, a company that’s seen a decided increase in sales since coronavirus hit. 

Lindsey and her sister Alison founded their vegan hair and body care company with a lofty goal: working toward the elimination of single-use plastic. Their products are shipped in aluminum bottles, which are then recycled and refilled in a continuous loop.

“I hate to say it, but we’ve been doing very well! It’s a great time to have an online business, and having a subscription model has been really good for us,” Lindsey said.

“Sales are up, hand wash sales are up, and we already had in the works to add a hand sanitizer, so hopefully we’ll have that in the next month or so. Our customers tend to be pretty aware and informed, so we saw an uptick in sales early on, and it’s remained strong.”

Order fulfillment is a family affair right now, as Lindsey and Alison are paying their warehouse workers to stay home.

“I felt it was the right thing to do,” Lindsey said of keeping their employees on payroll. “I have a background in the nonprofit world. The mindset I operate out of is that you have to take care of as many people as you can.”

That world view is part of the reason the sisters decided to apply for B Corporation certification when starting Plaine Products.

“Not having a business background, B Corporation certification provided a manual of how to set up a business in a responsible way. I had my own thoughts about how to go about it, but applying for B Corp certification was a way to be able to bake in corporate legal language, to have standards, to have questions, and to have things to think about as we grow.

“Their certification is no joke! It’s a lot of hard work, but it was good for us to do as were getting started, and it continues to be good for us. We always know, ‘We have to talk about this in a year when we recertify, so let’s keep these pieces in place.’ It’s good to have recertification in mind as we make choices.”

Lindsey is delighted with the increase in business, not only for the good of the company, but also for the good of the company’s mission to eliminate single-use plastic. Her recent participation in Exxpedition, an all-female plastic research voyage devoted to understanding causes and solutions to the oceanic plastic problem, really stoked that fire.

“Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic waste every year, 78 percent of which is NOT reclaimed or recycled. That’s a lot of plastic,” Lindsey said.

“We want to make a difference.”

Erika Szychowski

Erika Szychowski is the CEO/Founder of Good Zebra and the Founder of The F Project, a social impact project to raise the profile of female founders through collaborative commerce.
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