eTown Interview – Tom Chappell (Tom’s of Maine)

Tom Chappell - Tom's of Maine - eTown Interview


In 1968, Tom and Kate Chappell left Philadelphia, where Tom worked for an insurance company, and moved to rural Kennebunk, Maine. As part of their goal to simplify their lives, they sought out natural, unprocessed foods and, unadulterated products.

Unable to find natural personal care options for themselves and their children, in 1970 Tom and Kate decided to create and sell their own. They began with a $5,000 loan from a friend and the philosophy that their products would not harm the environment.

Tom Chappell - Tom's of Maine - eTown Interview

From this small start, Tom’s of Maine grew and developed into a different kind of company, one based on the belief that people and nature deserve respect. Over the years their product line moved from non-phosphate laundry detergent to natural personal care products such as the first natural toothpaste (1975) and deodorant (1976).

They’ve grown in size and in 2006, they became part of the Colgate-Palmolive Company. But their simple, direct approach hasn’t changed one bit: they listen to what their customers want (and don’t want) in their products, they learn how it can be done, and they respond with effective natural, sustainable and responsible solutions.