Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soap has been the top selling organic soap in North America for many years. Have you ever stopped and wondered about the man behind the company and how it all got started? Well, without further ado, here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about Dr. Bronner and his magic castile soap.
1. Emanuel Bronner Was Born Into Soap
Bronner was part of a third generation family of Jewish master soap makers in Germany. His family was celebrated for decades for their important liquid soap innovations for the country. Unfortunately, Bronner’s relationship with his father and uncles had begun to sour, so he emigrated to the United States in 1929 for a fresh sart and to begin consulting for American soap companies. (I know I’m not the only one who is glad he did!)
2. He Began His New Life In The U.S. Lecturing About World Peace
Bronner was passionate about world peace and spent years spreading his life philosophy, which he called Bronner’s Peace Plan, to anyone who would listen. It eventually became known as “the Moral ABC.” Essentially, he believed that if people stopped focusing on their differences and instead thought about how we are actually all the same, we would all be better off on what he termed this “Spaceship Earth.”
3. His Philosophy For World Peace Was Borne Of Tragedy
In the 1940s Bronner received the devastating news that his parents and other family members who stayed in Germany had been murdered in Nazi death camps. Shortly after this, his wife fell ill and passed away, leaving Bronner with his two sons and daughter. He put all three children into foster care so that he could put more focus and attention on refining his speeches. Eventually his oldest son, Ralph, joined his father on the lecture circuit and continued spreading the Moral ABC long after his father’s death in 1997.
4. Bronner Was Once Committed To A Mental Institution — By His Sister
After learning that Bronner had abandoned his children to pursue his lectures, his sister had him committed to Elgan Mental Health Center outside Chicago, where he was subject to electric-shock treatments. In the mid 1940s, Bronner escaped, fled to California, and started to identify himself as a Rabbi. It was here that he began mixing up large batches of the liquid soap his family had been making for decades.
5. His Now-Famous Peppermint Soap Became A Giveaway To Anyone Who Attended His Lectures
After noticing people were attending just for the soap, Bronner began to print his talks on the bottles. He spent much of his life refining the 30,000 word creed by which he led his life and his company still prints on the soap today. Try out his peppermint soap for yourself.
6. The Company Now Bases Its Business Practices On Bronner’s Philosophy
There are six principles that guide the employees of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap:
“Work hard! Grow! Do right by customers. Treat employees like family. Be fair to suppliers. Treat the earth like home. Give and give.”
7. The Company Was First Listed As A Non-Profit Religious Organization
The IRS didn’t buy it and Bronner was served with a notice that he owed 1.3 million in back taxes, which was enough to send the company into bankruptcy. Bronner’s son Jim then stepped in to save the family’s soap business.
8. These Days, Bronner’s Grandson Runs The Magic Soap Business
Jim’s son David certainly takes after his grandfather more than his father Jim ever did (who actually rejected his Dad’s life philosophy to become an industrial chemist). After graduating from Harvard, David spent time travelling and reading up on Eastern religions, finally coming to understand what his grandfather had been so passionate about. After his father passed away in 1998, David took over the family soap business.
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9. According To The Company, There Are 18 Different Ways To Use The Soap
Keep in mind these claims have been made by the company and magic soap enthusiasts seem to have only found 14 acceptable ways to use the product. These include as a shampoo, body wash, face wash, dish soap, and laundry detergent, among others. The company claims you can brush your teeth with it, but who wants to brush their teeth with soap? Yuck.
10. For Years A Secret Ingredient Was Added – We Know Now That It Was Caramel Colouring
After David took over he decided he no longer wanted to hide the ingredient from customers. He also decided to change the ingredient to hemp oil, which slightly changed the colour of the soap. Loyal customers found the new, known ingredient ended up improving the feel of the lather.
11. David Was Very Passionate About Hemp Oil, So Much So That He Sued The DEA Over It
In the United States hemp has been seen by the government as an equivalent to marijuana for many years. In 2001 the DEA strengthened their enforcement on THC bans and began seizing shipments of all hemp seed and hemp oil products at the border. David directed the hemp industry in a lawsuit against the government. To ensure the message was heard loud and clear, corporate representatives would camp outside the DEA headquarters and give out samples of granola containing hemp seeds and poppy seed bagels, which showcased the point that poppyseeds have trace amounts of opiates, but obviously bagels are not illegal. Eventually, the agency reversed the policy.
12. Since Then, The Company Has Been In The Activism Business
Bronner’s sued other companies claiming to be organic such as “Kiss My Face” and “Avalon Organics” over false advertising and use of the word. The company also changed their labels in 2014 to support the labeling of products containg genetically modified organisms. David has even been arrested twice, once for planting hemp seeds on the lawn of the DEA headquarters and once for milling hemp oil in front of the White House! How about that guy?
13. When An Organic & Fair Trade Source For The Oils Couldn’t Be Found, The Company Started Their Own Farm
This company certainly puts their money where their mouth is. They now operate their own organic and fair-trade palm, coconut, and olive farms in Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Israel. In sticking to their vision of world peace, olive oil is sourced from both Israel and Palestine.
14. They Pay Their Employees Fairly
The highest paid executive at the company is capped at five times the lowest paid worker. David, being the CEO, makes around 200,000 dollars annually. The company offers every employee a fully paid heath plan and the company contributes 15 percent of each employee’s salary to a retirement fund. Full-time employees receive a 25 percent annual bonus.
15. The Company Is Selective About Where To Sell Its Product
Originally, Dr. Bronner refused to sell his products to any retailer that wouldn’t be willing to listen to one of his lectures and hear his thoughts on life. David rejected offers from Walmart twice because he didn’t want to support the company’s policies or their low pay for workers.
Wow! I don’t know about you, but after learning about all the amazing business practices and the vision of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap, I feel like I want to support this company even more! I also assure you this is not an ad or affiliate marketing post, this company is just that awesome and their business model is totally worth sharing!
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