At W.S. Badger Company, Inc., company founder Bill Whyte runs his firm the way he formulates his products—organically. The organic personal care company, based in the little town of Gilsum, New Hampshire, has grown from a home-based start-up to a burgeoning business in a brand-new facility, mostly by doing the right thing at the right time, and doing it well.

Employees at Badger can bring their babies to work, enjoy daily organic lunches together and get childcare cost reimbursement. In the United States world where dog-eat-dog business prevails a bit too often, Badger stands as a role model of the people-before-profits paradigm that often comes with an ironic ending—profits.

The birth of Badger

Bill Whyte, the company’s CEO, started Badger back in 1995 in response to a personal need. He owned a green building firm at the time, and working construction in the winter months wreaked havoc on his hands. “I was lying in bed one night with olive-oil-soaked socks covered with plastic bags on my hands,” Whyte tells Organic Connections. “My wife, Katie, said, ‘You can do better than that!’”

So he did. Whyte came up with a base of olive oil and beeswax, added herbs, ordered tins, and managed to break even his first year on sales of $125,000. He planned to stop with one product, Badger Balm. “But I began getting phone calls,” he says. “Can I use this on the baby? Is it OK to put on your feet? Can I use this for sore muscles? It became apparent that people wanted lip balm, baby balm, foot balm and muscle balm, so I tailored the base to accommodate them.”