As the world leader in certified organic pure Castile Soaps, Dr Bronner's is a brand you need to know! Renowned for their quality, versatility and eco-friendless, Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps have quickly become a favourite in my household!
I recently met up with Lisa Bronner, grand daughter of the famous Dr Bronner when she came to visit Australia and I asked her everything I'd always wanted to know about these special soaps. Read part 1 and part 2 of my interview with Lisa here and here!
Using only the highest quality of natural products, I was always interested in how the Dr Bronner's team sourced the ingredients for their magic soaps. Lisa said, "We are very careful on how we sourced our ingredients and we are very careful about how we sourced our natural fragrances. We are the biggest consumers of organic fair trade probably all around the world. We use a lot of it and in fact we have to order our peppermint oil four months in advance because it isn't easy to get and sometimes our sales spike up. We really looked the world over. Sometimes in the US we get flak from people asking why we are not using things that are grown in the US. We have to explain to people that we don't have organic growing in the US because there isn't the manpower for it. So, we really looked the world over for our essential oils. Our essential oils are peppermint oils that come from India, because that is just the best region. Essential oils are heavily influenced by their climate."
Lisa explained, "If you grow peppermint in India verses peppermint in Canada, you are going to get a very different smell in peppermint. So, when we are sourcing the essential oils, we get the samples of the oils and smell them. The Lavender oil, another susceptible scent, we get from Eastern Europe. Hungary and Romania are the ones that smells the best. A little bit spicy and not a bit floral that will come from France. But they are all organic if it's available. We really looked the world over to find a source that we like how they do it systematically and organically and then we like how it smells. You know some of it is very old school when we were lining up the veils and we have people come by and sniff them and I like that. I like doing that you know. Some of it is just very subjective."
So how did Dr Bronner's manage to cut through the cosmetics and personal care industry without a mainstream advertising budget? "This is where our customers come in", explains Lisa. "We have the best customers in the world and they are so faithful to us. They communicative and we really respect that. I think a lot of companies may be bothered by customers calling them. We love it! My grandfather put this personal phone number on the bottle of soaps. And if you called him, you would get him. Maybe you wouldn't talk but he loved to talk about it and we have kept that true, so if you call on the number on the bottle you will get the company. We have a person to answer the phone and you can talk to her. She gives the answers to their questions." Lisa explained, "We relate with our customers, have a lot of conversations and make sure that their questions are answered. Our advertising has always been by word of mouth, one person talking to another."
"The other thing is that we do a lot of consumer education, which is a kind of advertising too", Lisa adds. "We always do it and we try to educate people about our soap and what it is. As well as the fair trade way and the export way, organic products and why it is necessary and that sort of thing. So, just a lot of talking and a lot of conversation."
The company has been around a long time and I was interested in whether the company's strategy had changed? "No, it was one person with a vision and one person who did everything", says Lisa. "My grandfather! He made the soap, he sold the soap. He taught the soap and now we have a 150% company. And that's the tough thing to do. I saw that change and there were some growing pains there trying to bisect and take what one person is doing and figure out how you can make two people do it and then ten people do it and where you are going to draw the boundaries" said Lisa, "It's tough because then you have different personalities and different ways of doing things. You have to work out these differences. So there is a lot more to that than one person with an idea."
To find out about the many uses of Dr Bronner's magic products, check out this blog post I wrote here!