Hi, I’m Tara Button, founder of Buy Me Once and Co-founder of The Beagle Button, here to tell you my waggy tale about one huge problem, one ambitious idea and some triumphant technology that’s designed to change the way the world shops.

The Beagle Button Independent Review

Please try The Beagle Button for yourself here. It’s completely free to use and designed to make eco-shopping effortless!

You can shop as normal, and if there’s a better product, Beagle will sniff it out.

I’d love to know what you think. 

Add the Beagle Button to your browser
Currently available on Desktop/laptop

One huge problem

Amazon packages over consumption

Most of us (73%) say we want to buy sustainably, and we’re not lying exactly, we DO WANT to. It’s just that when it comes to actually doing it, it can get a bit tricky.  

Having the time to research products is a luxury many of us just don’t have. Plus, where do we find this stuff? And can we trust it when we do find it? It’s no wonder most of us end up sticking to our trusted habits, popping onto Amazon as a first place to go, or going with the first brand that looks semi-okay. This doesn’t seem like the biggest issue, but when millions of people do it, it means that shopping behaviour isn’t changing fast enough to solve the crises facing our climate and the natural world. 

As an eco retailer, I’m super aware of this problem. How can green shops and brands connect with shoppers who do really want to buy greener, but are just too busy to look further than Amazon or the shopping panel of Google?

One ambitious idea

Tara Button Daniel Hemsley founders of The Beagle Button

When I attended a “Plastic Hackathon” back in 2019, I did not know that I would be meeting a red-bearded man who I would start a second business with.

I met Daniel Hemsley when we were put into small groups to come up with business ideas to solve the plastic problem. We came up with many on the day, many completely bonkers, and one which would have required us to set up a whole chain of dry cleaners, but one nugget of gold came out of the thinking:

We could use a form of technology called a “browser extension”
to allow people to shop as normal but alert them if there was a more sustainable option. 

To give you an example, if you were shopping for table glasses on Amazon, The Beagle Button could pop up to let you know that there are longer-lasting versions on Buy Me Once. Or if you were shopping for Black Skinny Jeans, The Beagle Button might let you know there are Organic, Fairtrade black skinny jeans available elsewhere. 

The Beagle Button sustainable eco shopping browser extension

This idea persisted in our minds but we needed a final piece of the puzzle to get going. Dave Henry was that piece. He agreed to come on as a third co-founder and COO. Together, we pitched the concept to Sustainable Ventures, who were one of the judges at the event, and were delighted to discover that they shared our enthusiasm for the idea.

They gave us 100k for us to test this idea. 

Technology triumphant! From idea - to Beta product. 

the beagle button


the beagle button

In 2020, we started to build the technology to see what was possible. We hired Magnus, our Chief Technology Officer who is so clever, I still find it hard to comprehend how he does what he does without some kind of wizardry. 

We built a rough and ready prototype to see if we had a chance of making this work. The first time I went shopping online and saw our extension pop up and suggest a better product, I was so excited. This idea might not be so crazy after all! 

At first, the product-to-product matching on our prototype was a little ropey - about 40% of the time it would pop up with something rather random. Sometimes it was even quite funny - for instance, being recommended a moon cup… while shopping for glasses. :O

But over time, as our database got bigger and the algorithms started to learn why bad matches were happening, it got better and better and now we’re confident that it’s the most useful tool for sustainable shopping that exists. 

We decided to name it “The Beagle Button” because we wanted the technology to feel like a helpful shopper-guide-dog who sniffs out the most sustainable options and fetches them instantly.

The Beagle Button who are we Now, in 2022, after rigorously testing the technology with 1500 users, we’re ready for the big public launch. As a Buy Me Once reader, I’d love you to be one of the first to try it. 

It’s free to use and you can simply uninstall it at any time. If you like it, or especially if there’s anything you think can be improved, please let me know.

Add the Beagle Button to your browser

Currently available on Desktop/laptop

FAQ about The Beagle Button 

How do you decide which products to recommend?
The Beagle Button sustainable shopping browser toolOur team identify sustainable brands and products using criteria based around our five pillars of sustainability:

1. Reduce emissions

2. Reduce waste

3. Reduce harmful chemicals

4. Protect workers

5. Protect animals

We prioritise those companies doing the most to be carbon neutral and negative in their production, using the most sustainable materials, who have been awarded certifications for workers' rights and pay and who have eliminated the use of animal products in their supply chain. Product longevity is part of this calculation as it reduces both waste and emissions by preventing multiple items from being made and going into waste streams. 

It’s easy for companies to greenwash by adding a couple of claims on how they’ll recycle it or use bottles to make their products. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it means very little - it’s all about comparing brands to see who is doing the most, in the right way. A recent study concluded that 60% of sustainability claims in fashion were misleading and greenwashing. This is just one more reason why The Beagle Button is so important. We do the research so you don’t have to. 

We also allow you to customize what you see by letting us know which sustainability and ethical values mean the most to you. That way, you can always be sure you’re seeing the most relevant product for you. 

Which sustainable products do people end up buying?

Exactly what people end up buying all depends on what they are looking to buy in the first place. One of the things I like the most about the way The Beagle Button works is that it doesn’t try to persuade people to buy any extra stuff. A person has to already be shopping for it to spring into action and it only does so when it identifies the type of product you’re looking for.

Our top ten most clicked on products are:

  • Organic Cotton Jeans
  • Organic, vegan bamboo G-strings
  • Textile Off-Cut Reusable Face Masks
  • Long-Lasting Solar Power Banks
  • Organic Cotton High Waisted Skinny Jeans
  • Fairtrade Organic Cotton Short Sleeve T-shirts 
  • Organic Denim Shirts
  • Bamboo Toothbrushes
  • Natural Roll-On Deodorant sticks
  • Zero Waste Handmade Mascara

How do you make money?

The Beagle Button will not accept money upfront to verify a brand as that would compromise our independent research. All brands must pass our criteria first and foremost. So the way we monetise is simply to make a small percentage of any sale that we recommend. This comes at no cost to the shopper and the sustainable brands only pay us if we help them make a sale. This is called affiliate marketing.

What’s next?

We have lots of plans for the Beagle Button including expansion to other countries and platforms including mobile. There are also some exciting ideas of making it even better and even more useful. It’s all a little hush hush right now, but I do hope you’ll come along for the ride. 

Add the Beagle Button to your browser

Currently available on Desktop/laptop

Thank you for listening to my story. Do let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Wishing you a super summer!
Tara Button

May 16, 2022 — Jemma Sharman