Be Authentic, Mission Driven, and Unafraid of Failure with David Simnick
In this week’s podcast episode we discuss how to let your mission fuel your plan, navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, and the importance of being authentic.
David Simnick is the CEO and Co-founder of Soapbox Soaps. He had the idea for Soapbox when he was working as a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development and then began making soap on the side.
Soapbox had their first big break selling with WholeFoods, and currently sells their personal care products in major retailers across the US (Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid, Meyer, Kroger, and Walmart to name a few). They have been featured on the Today Show, MSNBC, Entrepreneur magazine, and Forbes.
David has even given a TEDx talk entitled “Great Leaders Need Authenticity.” Soapbox was founded on a mission to save lives and make a difference in the world. They produce quality personal care products without harmful ingredients, participate in soap recycling programs with hotels to reduce personal care products in landfills, and give away one bar of soap to the less fortunate per every product sold.
Our episode this week is all about how personal care products are so much more than just a way to stay clean. We discuss the involvement of soap with disease, school attendance, and landfill waste.
With a lot of humility and very very small beginnings, David googled how to make soap and made his first batch in his kitchen at American University. From there, Soapbox Soaps has grown tremendously and even went through a major rebranding recently. They pride themselves on not including any ingredients that are thought to be harmful, toxic, or carcinogenic.
Did you know soap works in a similar way to how oil and water separate? When soap gets in contact with water, it picks up the particles on the top layer of your skin and that’s what’s washed off.
In this episode, we discuss how importing personal care items can upset local economies, and steps organizations can take to provide these items by working with local NGOs instead. We talk about working together with hotels to recycle soap and prevent it from accumulating in landfills. David elaborates on the multiple factors that play into creating an affordable and accessible product, as well the relationship between why a customer makes a personal care purchase and the branding displayed on products.
David fills us in on the development of Soapbox Soaps, some of the struggles they have faced, and what they are working towards. He also gives advice for budding entrepreneurs from his own experience.
- The origins and mission behind Soapbox Soaps
- How soap works with water to clean and prevent the spread of disease
- Soap, socks, and underwear are the three most needed personal care items at homeless shelters and food pantries
- The application of natural and organic labels to personal care products
- What actually happens to make a personal care product organic
- Soap recycling programs with hotels
- How Soapbox Soaps got their first big break selling in Whole Foods
- Where the financing comes from
- The experience of a big business failure
- The number one tip for being a successful entrepreneur
Quotes From the Episode
"Poverty doesn’t know any borders or backgrounds."
"Being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to be in it for the long haul."
"You as the leader can’t burn out. You gotta continue to push forward."
"Being an entrepreneur is glorious highs and really low lows."
"It is a humbling journey being an entrepreneur because it means you have to constantly be listening to the consumer."
"Missions matter. Missions allow for a brand to have a soul and to be authentic."
"Consumers don’t buy the how or the what, they buy the why. The why can only exist if you have the authenticity to back it up."
"Do what you love. Find what it is that you love doing and have that be your career and the way that you can make money. If you do what you love then it’s not work. Find what you love to do and work towards that and build that."