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The Story of the Mother Dirt Name

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"Mother Dirt" first showed up about midway through our search for the perfect name for our budding company. The creative team had an immediate response to it, admittedly mixed, but undeniably strong. There's something very powerful about the name and what it makes you feel that stuck with us. We put it on our short list, part of us wondering if we would ever be brave enough to pitch a name like "Mother Dirt" to a room full of biotech execs.

Dirt: This is the essence of our science and our mission. First, our bacteria and core technology comes from the soil. Second, it represents challenging existing thoughts about what clean actually is. We're asking people to reexamine things, to rethink clean.

Mother: This word not only represents Mother Nature herself, but its message about reconnecting with our roots, and with what it means to be human. What we do is less about chemistry, and more about people; less about skin care, and more about health.

And together, these words have a synergistic effect. There's a bit of a throwback to the child within all of us that still remembers when it was ok to play, and ok to get a little dirty. Remember that feeling? It's not only an important memory (and sadly something that fewer children do today), but also a wonderful playful attitude that is very who we are as people.

As we continued exploring other options - everything from the expected, to the scientific, to the very abstract - none created nearly the same emotional reaction as Mother Dirt. Out of all the options, it was the one we would always come back to and soon we started to understand why. The name, while unexpected, perfectly encompasses our core values and message we want to share with the world. Most importantly, it is authentic to who we are.

There was no other choice in our minds. It's the final slide of a highly anticipated presentation to the senior team for our new name. All of them have been waiting for months for the final reveal. (No pressure!) Mother Dirt. There it was. Two unexpected words in thin, black, futuristic font projected up on the white wall.

The response? Silence, and more silence.

You could feel the surprise in the room, as the senior team looked up at the words “Mother Dirt” on the wall, and tried to understand their own reactions.

The silence continued.

And then, right before the silence became painfully awkward, right before the scary thoughts came in, it was shattered by the loud bang of two fists on the table, followed by a loud declarative:


Everyone turned to face the sounds: It was Jamie Heywood, our cofounder and chairman. After a pause, he went on to give the most amazing soliloquy on the power of the name in a more magical way than any of us could have imagined. He got it, and the rest of the team wasn’t far behind.

And thus a Mother is born.

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