The Juliette Interviews: Morgan Hirsh
Morgan Hirsh is the owner of a wonderful company called Public Goods which has managed to change the game of manufacturing and distributing everyday products to the masses. Public Goods only sells items that are healthy and sustainable for people and the planet and their members get wholesale pricing, making it affordable and eco-friendly! What’s not to love about that?!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan as part of this month’s Juliette Interviews.
JH: What exactly is Public Goods?
MH: We’re a brand that makes beautiful essentials for a healthier more sustainable home.
JH: I understand the business model is membership-based. What are the advantages of this for the consumer?
MH: This allows us to deliver better value because we get our profit up front from the membership, so margins are much lower on products.
JH: This is your third business. Tell me about how you first started as an entrepreneur, what the first two businesses were, and how they led to this one?
MH: It’s all I ever wanted to do. But, my last businesses didn’t work out. Like any founder, you just keep trying.
JH: How did you get the idea for the business?
MH: Always loved simplicity and dislike waste and clutter. The only way to buy essentials were places with so much waste and clutter like drugstores or Amazon, or DTC brans that only made one thing so you had to go to 20 websites. Public Goods seemed like a better way to go about stocking people with essentials.
JH: Your business is modeled around sustainability, tell us a little bit more about that.
MH: We make bottles from sugarcane. Our toilet paper is tree free. And, we plant a tree for every order placed. These are just a few of our initiatives on this front.
JH: What were the biggest challenges in getting this business to where it is today?
MH: Investors, regardless of what they say, tend to want to find analogues rather than innovation. While differentiation is what drives success and this is known, ironically, this feels unsafe too. Therefore, early on investors wanted to me to stick to toothbrushes or or shampoo, and didn’t like the idea of brand with a broad assortment. So, I had a turn down funding opportunity because not everyone was seeing the vision.
JH: Who inspires you most?
MH: Martin Luther King Jr. His essay, Letter From Birmingham Jail is I think the best essay ever written. I’m also a big Shel Silverstein fan. Just love his poetry and he’s brought so many so much joy.
JH: Do you feel the COVID-19 crisis has helped your business?
MH: It has, yes. More people went online and we happened to have stock of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and canned foods all of which were in high demand. So, we’ve been very useful to people during this time.
JH: If you could do one thing differently when it comes to building this company, what would it have been?
MH: I would have teamed with talented designers sooner than I did.
JH: What are you most looking forward to in 2021, both personally and for Public Goods?
MH: I just got engaged so that’s exciting! As for Public Goods, we’re growing and so I’m looking forward to all the new people I’ll get to work with, and to seeing the current team grow as individuals, myself included. Growing a business means learning a lot — and that keeps things interesting.
JH: Wow, congrats on the engagement! I’m looking forward to see how you and Public Goods continue to expand and adapt to whatever 2021 brings!