Online Exclusives

Mothers of Invention

September 3, 2008

Dana Rubenstein and Tamar Rosenthal, co-founders of Dapple dish detergents, are ready to launch a new toy cleaner that�s good for baby and the environment.

Mothers of Invention

Dana Rubenstein and Tamar Rosenthal, co-founders of Dapple dish detergents, are ready to launch a new toy cleaner that’s good for baby and the environment.

Christine Esposito
Associate Editor

When baby’s favorite toy takes an nose dive onto the rather murky-looking restaurant floor, parents have two options: pick it up, pack it away and listen to baby scream, or enlist the “five second rule” and grimace as baby puts it right back in her mouth with a smile.

Thanks to Dapple, parents will soon have a better option. The New York-based company founded by Dana Rubenstein and Tamar Rosenthal is ready to launch a new toy cleaner that’s good for baby and the environment.

Dapple is said to be good for baby and the environment.
The launch quickly follows the company’s inaugural products, eco-friendly dish liquid and automatic powder dishwasher detergent, both of which were unveiled in February. The dish products, which specifically target the residue and odor left behind by breast milk, formula and other baby foods, are made from 100% naturally derived ingredients and are free of chemicals such as parabens and phthalates.  

The company has taken the same tack with the new toy cleaner, which cleans the dirt, germs and guck left behind on toys without parabens, phthalates, SLES, dyes or synthetic fragrances. Users simply spray it on, wipe it off and the toys are back in business—or elsewhere.  

“Cleansers with bleach, alcohol, and harsh chemicals are the household items we lock away to protect our kids from; we just couldn't accept the idea that the only way to clean their toys was with these products. We envisioned our babies popping their toys right back into their mouths after they're cleaned, and we wanted to be comfortable with that,” said Ms. Rubinstein. “The toy cleaner is formulated with that in mind. It gets the job done, but in a safe and natural way.”

A Better Way to Clean Bottles

In Dapple’s case, necessity was truly the mother of invention.

While rinsing and re-rinsing (and re-rinsing) baby bottles in the wee hours of the morning, Ms. Rubenstein thought that there had to be a better way to get her baby’s bottles clean—without leaving behind soapy residue or breast milk. The next morning she and her friend Tamar Rosenthal discussed the matter. Two years later, Dapple was born with the help of green chemists and input from pediatricians and other experts—a.k.a parents.

Talking to other moms (and dads) is an essential part of Dapple’s strategy. For example, when developing new packaging for its dish detergent products, Dapple asked website visitors to pick their favorite delivery method–a pump or traditional pull top/squeeze bottle.

“To us, Dapple users are the experts,” said Ms. Rosenthal. While the firm also consulted with industry experts, “ultimately it's the parents —the people using the products—who know what they need best,” said Ms. Rosenthal.

Baby Steps…For Now

Once stocked only in a select number of stores in New York, Dapple is making steady progress in expanding distribution to more outlets. Today, Dapple can be found in a more stores in New York, California, Oregon, Chicago, Connecticut and Florida. And recently, Dapple took its furthest step yet: the company has started selling products in Hong Kong.   

Since May Dapple dishwashing products have been listed on The 32oz. box of powder detergent ($5.99) and 16oz. bottle of dish soap ($4.99) are generating very positive reviews at the online retailer, and the brand is garnering good coverage in print and online in parenting magazines such as Cookie, Fit Pregnancy and Parents.

“The overwhelming response to our products has also been an incredible motivator for us to move quickly,” said Ms. Rosenthal. “Our brand entered the market with a strong force and we intend to sustain it, continuously giving parents products that can safely yet effectively solve the unique cleaning challenges they face—from sticky toys to dirty bottles.”

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