by GSA Tim Adams, SNHU Class of 2013
Have you had those kind of days when you’ve worked outdoors and your hands just totally dry up and no matter how much hand cream you use, they just seem to take forever to feel good again?
Well, apparently Bill Whyte, the founder of Badger had several and decided to try and find a solution. Not just any solution mind you but an all natural one that would not only work but be all natural so it wouldn’t be harming the environment and healthy to use also.
Well, with a night or two of sleeping with his hands wrapped in Olive Oil soaked cloth and plastic bags, a product was born and a company got its start.
I can’t imagine sleeping next to a person with their hands wrapped in Olive Oil, even with a touch of Honey mixed in and thankfully, with a little refinement, and perhaps a few more ingredients, nobody has to today.
The Badger company, founded in 1995 by Bill Whyte, now has a produce line of over 100 hundred different products. All natural product. Healing products, Healthy products, that are sold around the world.
Our tour host, Caity, started us off with a brief history of the company and the story of Bill, a carpenter, who founded the company. While Bill has stepped aside from his job as CEO, his family still runs the company, and it’s a company unlike most companies you’ll ever run across.
Upon entering the building you will notice a cafeteria to your left and a small company store hallways on your right. While most businesses do have a cafeteria for their employees, this one serves all of the employee’s a free, all organic lunch every day! How many companies do you know that do that? Not only is the lunch free but employees don’t need to punch out for their lunch break like a lot of companies require. It’s no wonder that most employees are there for 5 years or more!
Moving down the hall into the packaging area, we saw a couple machines filling containers, one with sunscreen and another with Balm. One person was removing product from the line and putting it in boxes while another walked around inspecting the contains moving down the line to verify they were sealed and labeled correctly. Unlike the Lucy show where the machine had Lucy running herself ragged trying to package the Chocolates, these machines were running at a slow pace so the employees could keep up with the work without having to feel rushed.
On the other side of the hall there were a couple of different operations going on. At one table several people were taking cardboard packing containers, opening the side pouch on it, packing in a tube (bug spray?), sealing the box and stacking it in front of them in a neat pile. In the back of the room, shipping clerks were taking boxes off of carts, packaging them and getting them ready to ship out to different stores around the country. One interesting note, Badger tries to reuse cardboard boxes, so in the middle of the room was a rack with lots of flattened boxes with these ‘old’ boxes, waiting to be reused.
They weren’t kidding when they decided to be nature friendly!
Next we walked past their warehouse where products were being picked for orders receive the previous night.
Proceeding upstairs with passes an area that’s used for Yoga and an Aikido class once a week. Classes are run by employee’s and are for those that wish to participate. There was also an office room where newborn infants could stay with their parents until they were 6 months old. A nice way for parents to bond with their new born and also a nice way to make new parents feel welcome to continue working there at Badger.
The second floor also contained their offices, customer service and Quality Control Lab. It also had areas where we could observe their gravity flow system to fill their top selling products, sunscreens.
Unlike many modern manufacturing facilities, Badger’s building, while quite modern, had been built in 2011 and added on to since then due to growth of the company. It’s not the rectangular brick and mortar, or concrete block type of building you might expect. Since Bill Whyte was a carpenter, the building is a wood structure that’s been built to last.
One item that was mentioned several times is the Badger is B Corp Certified. While I had not heard of this certification, when looking at their web site I find the following – “Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.” I now understand why Caity made mention of this certification so many time.
You can find out more about Badger and their products at https://www.badgerbalm.com or visit them at 768 Route 10 Gilsum, NH. They do have a special ‘tent day’ in August so you might want to keep an eye opened on their web site for that, then stop over to pick up some of their wonderful products.