Jack's Soap is a social business operating with a buy one give one model -- for every bar of soap you purchase, they provide a bar of soap to someone in need. We recently profiled the company in more detail, but today we're looking at the social entrepreneurs behind the business. In the questions below, co-founders Bridget Hilton and Ben Richardson share the story of Jack's Soap, where the business idea came from, what inspires them, and how they continue to stay creative.
4 Questions with Bridget Hilton & Ben Richardson, Founders of Jack's Soap
How did the idea for the business model come about?
Ben: For a long time we've had the desire to start a company that has the potential to make a positive difference. I believe Jack's Soap is that company. Our idea is a simple one, for every bar of soap we sell we give one away to someone in need. I'm excited about the possibly of Jack's joining the ranks of a new breed of company that is focused on making positive social changes.
How did you decide to join this sector?
Ben: There is a great trend going on around the globe, started by companies like TOMS shoes, who put social progress above profit. I don't consider Jack's to be in the skin care sector although technically I guess we are. I consider Jack's to be in the business of giving and I hope that we can give away a lot of soap.
Bridget: Agreed. Starting a business is great, but I think our generation has realized that it is not enough. If every product you bought had a positive impact, think of how much the world would change.
How do you get your inspiration?
Ben: I draw inspiration from the possibility of making a positive difference in someone else's life. I think there is great need to raise awareness of personal hygiene issues around the globe, 5,000 children die per day from diseases that can easily be prevented by washing their hands. Access to soap isn't enough; education about the importance of good personal hygiene will play an equally important role in curbing current trends.
Bridget: I’m inspired by the fact that we are working with local soap makers in countries like Ethiopia to bolster their local businesses and at the same time change the futures of the young children by teaching them about a healthier lifestyle. I feel this is a much more sustainable way of giving than just dropping off product.
How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
Bridget: I disconnect. I love social media and being online as much as anyone, but it helps me to go for a hike, play guitar or go read a book outside. I feel that the best ideas come when I’m not trying to focus on multiple things.
Ben: I have to be relaxed to be creative. Taking a moment to just focus on berating usually puts me in a positive state of mind.
What’s next for Jack’s?
Bridget: Spreading the word about our mission, connecting with other change makers, and hopefully getting into national retail in 2012. We plan on expanding to more organic products so we can increase the impact we are making in third world countries. Stay tuned!