Belinda Lau is an entrepreneur and the founder of Elims, a sustainable oral care brand. Despite just launching its first product this summer, Elims is already making waves in the sustainability sector. After being the only lifestyle brand invited to the 2019 CleanTech Open, the largest sustainability business accelerator in the world, Elims' products are already being heralded as "game changers."
I met Belinda through a former Cravath colleague just before launching All Places. Elims was one of our first clients and I will always be grateful that Belinda saw in All Places what I saw (and continue to see) in Elims, an upstart, mission-driven company helmed by a relentless and astute business woman destined greatness. I have since personally become one of her customers (I will never buy Tom's toothpaste again!). Without further ado . . .
I learned the importance of having a strong mission from my 15 years at Medtronic, where I helped create lifesaving medical devices. The company’s mission was written in the 1950s and never changed, and thousands of employees (myself included) worked harder in service to the mission statement everyday, and I wanted that for Elims.
For us, it’s a simple formula: craft products that actually improve your health and are totally sustainable. No brainer, right? Well, when I started Elims in early 2019, no one company was doing both when it came to oral care. There were some that were effective but terrible for waste, and others that were claiming to be sustainable but dentists we interviewed said those products didn’t seem to do the job, and those patients that used these kinds of products were coming in with more dental issues!
So between my marketing and biotech background, my dentist husband, Casey Lau, and my friend Pradnya Parulekar, who had 20 years of experience in manufacturing, we thought we could tackle this simple yet untapped market. And I loved the challenge of working on something essentially everyone on the planet has to do (brush their teeth). Because of this, I understood that our impact could be huge and found astonishing stats like there are over 1 billion toothbrushes thrown away every year, and they are not recyclable or biodegradable.
Today, I could not be prouder of our social impact startup that combines seriously effective oral care and real sustainability. We believe people don't have to compromise their health for the planet (or vice versa). So we decided that health and sustainability would be the pillars to everything we do, from products, to business practices. Because we genuinely try to live more sustainably in our personal lives, we wanted to build a company that our friends, family and even our kids could benefit from. That is why all our products are backed in science and clinical data, and also spearheading sustainability in our industry.
It took nearly 2.5 years and we launched Elims in July 2021 with a small but mighty portfolio of award winning products. In fact, Healthline just named our teeth whitening as the Best Teeth Whitening of 2021, so we know we are on the right track.
So, what does success look like? We will know we have done our job not only when our company is completely carbon free, but we have raised the bar for all of the healthcare industry to this new standard.