Leaving corporate life wasn’t exactly a choice for Collin Straka, co-founder of Dirty Man Scrubs. Straka is a self-proclaimed “intrapreneur”, defined by Forbes contributor David K. Williams in October 2013, as a team player who thinks like a business owner within their company roles. “At a certain level, it’s just part of the DNA,” Straka said. “I see a problem and I want to find a solution.”
An alternative to soap and washcloths, scrubs are bags of sugar, salts, or coffee grounds rubbed on the skin to get clean. “Traditionally marketed toward women, Dirty Man Scrubs gives guys a new way to care for their skin,” Straka said.
Did he start with the idea to have an environmental impact?
Coffee grounds decompose in landfills producing methane, a greenhouse gas with global warming capacity. After discovering that coffee grounds work sustainably as a manly scrub for men, environmental impact was a happy side effect.
Developments for the online business include plans to use proceeds from sales to benefit defense of Utah’s public lands that could take shape in a legislative session next year.
“Our clientele and team care about stewardship, so we want to emphasize that in the product we create,” Straka said.
When did the coffee grounds idea pop?
Straka came up with the Dirty Man Scrubs idea while travelling west from Pennsylvania, living in a van he modified—likely a bi-product of growing up over the busy flower shop his parents operated from their home. The way Straka tells it, his entrepreneurship began with the discovery of an old refrigerator he sold to a passerby.
“Living dirty” that way for a year, Straka quickly realized more than a messy shower product was needed to stay clean on the road. Working on his MBA at the University of Utah, he saw an opportunity to solve this problem while talking about soap and brainstorming with friends over coffee. Realizing that coffee grounds are free and usually wasted, he saw the right idea at the right time.
While drinking excessive amounts of coffee and collecting grounds to make coffee scrubs, Collin met Aneesa Turner, owner of Two Creek Coffee, located at 115 South 1460 East. She believed there must be a use for the coffee grounds she’d been throwing away for years.
Is Dirty Man Scrubs a social impact business?
As a product of its environment, Straka described Dirty Man Scrubs as a social impact business. “I was amazed how community forms around something you put into the world,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about people.”