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With a marketing degree in tow, it was no surprise when Dave Darr set out to take a commonplace product and make it cool with beautiful branding. Now, it’s a little bottle of cutting board oil that’s making a big impact. Walrus Oil is sold in 500 North American stores and is set to line shelves in 300 Walmart stores by year’s end. Darr says a portion of profits goes to planting tree saplings, and the number of new trees planted should be around 25,000 by the end of 2022.
SBJ: What is Walrus Oil?
Dave Darr: I started the company in 2017, and I was, at the time, doing a lot of woodworking for restaurants making cutting boards, serving boards and dining tables. I was making so many cutting boards that I was making my own wood finishes also. Then, we just started marketing it as a product for the general market. So, essentially, it’s just an oil- and wax-based finish you put on your cutting board to maintain it and preserve it. A cutting board can last hundreds of years if you maintain it, and it can last one year if you don’t maintain it.
SBJ: Does it mainly make the cutting board last longer, or does it do anything else?
Darr: It definitely will enhance the look of it. We always say it kind of pulls out preserves, like the natural wood tones. So, obviously, walnut’s going to look like a deep beautiful brown, maple is going to be very light tan, and cherry is going to be reddish orange. It sort of brings out the natural colors and locks them in. It repels water. It’s a really cool brand, but it’s not that cool of a product. But when you think of cutting board oil, at least until now, there hasn’t really been anything you can think of. Some people will just go and put olive oil on it, which is terrible. So, we felt like there was honestly a huge space of opportunity.
SBJ: What are the ingredients?
Darr: We use a blend of coconut oil, beeswax, a plant-based vitamin E, which comes mostly from sunflowers, and we use mineral oil as well – food-grade mineral oil. All of that is completely shelf-stable, so on its own it won’t go rancid.
SBJ: Tell us about your environmental certification.
Darr: We are Climate Neutral Certified. So, there are a couple of organizations that do that. Basically, what they do is evaluate how much energy your company is using to operate, and they’ll even audit your supply chain to see how much gas you’re spending to bring in raw materials and make it. Then, they figure out, okay, you need to do this much activity to make up for the carbon you’re putting into the air. These are basically carbon offsets, which could be anything from you pay a certain fee and they might use that to plant trees or to fund nonprofit windmill operations in other countries. It’s that kind of thing.
SBJ: Where do you manufacture products now?
Darr: So, we have been renting a place – an industrial area in Nixa – and we bought a building in one of the only industrial areas in Ozark. It’s 10,000 square feet on a couple of acres. We’re already planning on expanding the building and adding onto it within a year or two.
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