Interview by: Mattie Gonzales
Just before quarantine began I spoke with Tim Hollinger, co-founder of Bathing Culture. A sustainable eco-conscious health and beauty brand. We discussed the ritual of bathing and what sustainability means in the health and beauty world.
What was Bathing Culture founded on? When?
We were founded on community. We started by making soap for our friends, because we couldn’t find shower products that connected us to our outdoor / bathing lifestyle. We’d have wild refill parties where people would come and fill up bottle with soap. One of them got busted by the cops. Turns out there are a lot of folks who are sick of shitty shower products (most of the stuff on the shelfs of mass market places harms personal or planetary health). We launched as a brand on earth day 2017.
What does the ritual of bathing mean to Bathing Culture?
We’re floored by the rituals of bathing. They cross time and cultures. Care nothing for ages, races or creeds. Bathing is very fluid, it can be a deeply meditative soak while listening to cello music, doing an exhilarating backflip off the rim of a waterfall, the reset after a run, a new start after sleep or the joy of playing in a hose with friends on a hot summer day. We love traveling around the world and exploring / experiencing different rituals that cultures have had for thousands of years. In the end all of this boils down to loving the practice of taking care of yourself.
How do you use Bathing Culture, what's the right amount to apply to hands/scrub?
We think the best showers come after getting good and dirty. That said, there is no right or wrong way to bathe. Our formula is super concentrated so you only need a little dab for your whole body. We recommend applying it to a washcloth, natural sea sponge or hand, and working up a good lather. Let the scent transport you deep into the redwood groves of northern california
While our formula is biodegradable we ask folks not to use any products in natural waterways.
We love the sort of 70’s feel the brand has, who is the creative mind behind this brand direction?
We’re inspired by art, nature, our outdoor adventures, the known unknown and of course water. We have a lot of team meetings over dinner or lunch where we rave about design. Greg Burkett on our team is the fall guy for making it happen.
How does bathing culture promote sustainability? Why is a refill program important?
We look at our whole supply chain, so the ingredients we use are being grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers on land that has been used for responsible agriculture for generations. We’re also carbon neutral so we limit any air shipping and work to keep everything as close to us as possible. The formulas we have are biodegradable which is actually one of the biggest issue areas in the industry (a lot of products don’t go away). Or products are also super concentrated, nothing is watered down. A tree is planted for every 5 gallons of soap we make, and we buy carbon credits through our partner Cotap.org we also support conservation efforts by donating proceeds to groups like save the redwoods. Our packaging is also make from locally sourced / reprocessed materials which is a really big deal.
Refills are an important part of getting people to reuse packaging and to get folks truly thinking about their impact. We think refills are the future. While we work really hard on sustainability we still have a long way to go.
Any interesting collabs or product launches you can speak of?
We’ve got a lot of fun stuff in the pipeline. We’ve gotten a lot of formulas really close, then backed off the them because they’re not the best, really stoaked that we’ve got some strong stuff coming out later this summer Follow @bathingculture for the lastest
Why is being a small business so important?
Being small helps keep you really close to your customers. It also allows you to use really high quality ingredients and be very hands on with manufacturing. These days you can be pretty small and still exert a pretty huge impact.
Health/Beauty is one industry that has remained on the rise year to year, with so many new products, so many voices, so many ideas, how does Bathing Culture seek to change the narrative of what kind of products one uses and how many one needs?
We’re helping / celebrating anyone who is doing right by the environment. We definitely think less can be / is more (no one needs a 20 step skincare routine) and there are many products that can serve more than one use. We love the increased diversity and fluidity of the market and are here to help our peers with all the love we’ve got!