“Most people come up with a label to sell the contents. My grandfather came up with the contents to spread his message.” Mike Bronner, Co-owner of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap Company
That’s an unusual way of doing business, but when it comes to Dr Bronner’s, the top-selling organic soap, everything is a little eccentric. You might’ve heard of Dr Bronner’s from one of its many celebrity fans; Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Sandra Bullock all swear by it. Or you might recognise the colourful, text heavy label from the shelves at Holland & Barrett, Tesco, or Target. But if you ever stop to read it, you’ll no doubt be intrigued or perplexed. It’s packed with tiny sermons that make up the Moral ABCs, the “we are all one” vision of the late Dr Bronner (who wasn’t really a doctor.)
We’re fascinated by Dr Bronner’s story, which we feature in this week’s episode of The Venture, our podcast about pioneering businesses and the people who made them possible. Dr Bronner was a German-Jewish immigrant who escaped Hitler, started a tiny soap business in America, and with the help of the generations that came after him (his sons, grandsons and great-grandsons) turned a small, loyal following into the $100 million business it is today. And he did it all while staying true to the singular vision of making the world, or “Spaceship Earth” as he called it, a better place.
Today that means balancing social activism with a command of global business. From environmentally-friendly products to fair trade practices, they are committed to doing what’s right while enriching the lives of both the employees who make the soap and the communities who provide the raw materials.
At Virgin Atlantic, we share the Bronner family’s commitment to sustainability, as well as their dedication to doing things their way. We admire entrepreneurs and organisations that are passionate about what they stand for and find success while remaining true to their roots. Even (and especially!) if they’re a little unconventional.
In this episode of the Venture, we visit the company’s headquarters in Southern California to see the close-knit family business in action. And we learn how “the soap that cleans everything” embodies a spirit of invention, and a commitment to ethical business practices, allowing it to stand out in the health and beauty industry.
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