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Driving global change with Mera McGrew, Founder of Soapply

Joining me on the show today is Mera McGrew, the founder of Soapply. Soapply is a purpose driven business that’s doing good in the world both on a local level and a global level.

Mera started Soapply to make the best soap for your skin and our planet, and they use every sale to help improve and save lives around the world. Every ounce of Soapply is tied to a direct donation that funds water, sanitation and hygiene around the world. More specifically, every 8 ounces of Soapply sold is tied to a $1 donation— that goes towards a local grassroots organisation in Ethiopia called REST.

Mera started this brand with a big idea and a mere $5,000, and has grown it into what it is today entirely through partnerships, experiential events, word of mouth marketing and hustle.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Let's jump into this episode. Female Startup presence. Soapply started with a pretty simple but ambitious idea to change the world by convincing people to change their soap casually. And I first had the idea when I was living and working in Africa, I was working in East Africa and I saw this gap around water sanitation and hygiene specifically around hand washing. And what I saw was kids getting sick from things like dysentery and respiratory disease and not just getting sick but actually losing their lives.

00:03:48Edit And I kept seeing it in the regions we were working. We were only working in 18 unique regions throughout East Africa though. And the question I had was kind of is this something that's just isolated to this area where I'm working or is this a global problem? And I quickly realized in talking with the folks that I knew at the UN the World Health Organization, That this was something that was a global problem. It wasn't isolated to the areas where I was working and there was an opportunity for the private sector to step in and really help make a difference. At that point, 1.7 million Children under the age of five. We're losing their life before they were able to celebrate their 5th birthday because of diseases we could prevent through the simple act of hand washing today, that number is become lower, that number is lower today. 1.4 million Children under the age of five lose their life before the age of five because of diseases we could prevent entirely by the simple act of hand washing.

00:04:51Edit So that's really what the lightbulb moment in my mind was was learning this crazy, depressing statistic and realizing that we could change that and we could change it with something as simple as cost effective as soap, something that costs pennies on a life in this case. And my question was why isn't this already getting funded? And I started working with anyone that would talk to me reading every white paper, every piece of research I could get my hands on to figure out what is the global problem, what role could we actually play as a for profit company if we started a for profit company? Um In long story short I ended up deciding to move back to the US to start a soap company. I figured that we could sell soap that would help get soap in the hands that needed it around the world. Again, pretty simple. Getting back to the U. S. The real question I had was is there an actual need, right?

00:05:54Edit Soap is something that you go to the grocery store. I live in new york city, you go to a bodega their soap for sale on store shelves and the role that we would need to figure out and play would be? How do we offer something that's better um that will actually create a sustainable revenue stream to fund this problem, if that's the goal and quickly in kind of looking at the market and doing market research again, talking to anyone and everyone, the question became, how do we create better soap? And is there a need for better soap? And it turns out that while globally we're facing this access problem around soap and handwashing here in the US where supply is headquartered in base, we have a so problem of our own and it's around safety, the soap that we're using, we're putting directly on our bodies lathering up with every day multiple times a day. Right now, as we're recording this, we're in the middle of a global pandemic. We're washing our hands more than ever.

00:06:55Edit You don't think about it all that often, but your skin, your hands, It's your largest Oregon, up to 60% of what you're putting on, your body can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. And right now, you know, hand washing is up and people are realizing, oh, the soap I'm using, it matters. It has an impact on the health of my skin, right? You look down in your skin is cracked, your nail beds are like splitting and it hurts, it's irritated, it's red, it's itchy and people chalk it up to, oh, you know, maybe I washed my hands with water that was too hot. Um maybe it's the wind outside and it's just chapped actually often time it's the soap that you're using and the soap you're using can make all the difference. So most soaps on store shelves are actually detergents. They're not true soaps, they strip your skin here in the, Oh, I didn't know that. It's kind of crazy. Yeah. At the beginning when we were looking at the opportunity to say like is there really an opportunity for us to create a product here that could fund this, this global problem?

00:08:02Edit Um there were 2100 so products on store shelves sold in the US that contained an ingredient that was either acting as a known carcinogen or endocrine disruptor ingredients that the FDA had come out and said were unsafe for daily contact with humans. But we're in a product that we're putting directly on our skin every day multiple times a day and I personally am someone who I'm buying heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market. I am being conscious of the produce and the products that I'm buying at the grocery store, I'm reaching for products that are better for me and that are coming from a source that I ultimately no, or hopefully no, and when it comes to what I'm putting on my body, I care right in the same way I care about what I'm putting in my body. And so quickly I realized while globally we were looking at solving an access problem here in the U. S. The problem wasn't an access problem. It was a safety problem and are kind of mission became okay create better.

00:09:06Edit So so that's safe for consumers that doesn't come with questionable health or safety concerns and supply is proud to be today. Made safe. So we go a step further. Were made with food grade organic oils. But we know that's not enough. You can be lied to write in sourcing event. And so we actually have a third party Test our product to go through a 360° lab test to ensure that what you're putting on your skin is safe for you and our planet, right? What you're putting on your skin also goes down the drain goes into our waterways into our ecosystems and it can have a devastating effect on the wildlife or the ecosystems that we all care about. So much. So we quickly kind of said if we're going to create a better product it needs to be better for consumers, it needs to be safe. Uh and then we care about the planet. You know, and the people that are in my life, they care about the planet. To, let's face it like a baby orangutan eggs are adorable, let's keep them around palm oil does not need to be in the soap that we're buying.

00:10:10Edit Um it's in almost every product on store shelves, it's in almost every product in your bathroom, whether you realize it or not. So going a step further and saying let's not just make this product better for consumers? Let's make it better for the planet? And what does that look like in terms of sourcing ingredients, including ingredients in our formula that that are in fact better for the planet. And then also what is the packaging looks like Supply from day one has been bottled, arcing sight bottles, recycled glass, we silk screen the label directly on the bottle itself, reducing packaging and waste. And our bottles are meant to be refilled and reused. 20,000 single use plastic bottles are being produced every second. Your soap does not need to be in one of them. So how do we create a product that is effective is safe, is beautiful And is better. And then getting back to why I started supply. Every ounce of supply is tied to a donation. We fund water, sanitation and hygiene around the world more specifically, every eight ounces of supply step sold is tied to a $1 donation.

00:11:19Edit We work one area at a time when region at a time. All global funding and impact is currently focused in Ethiopia in the northernmost region. Tigre Ethiopia and we work with the local grassroots organization called Rest the Relief Society of Tigre. A long winded way to answer, wow, but wow, this is incredible. I'm just like sitting here and all listening to it's all amazing and things that I didn't know, I didn't know that about regular soaps that we're putting on our hands with those chemicals. Is it because of those companies using those products? Because it's cheaper. Is that like the bottom line? Yeah. So like a lot of people I love that you're asking these questions because I think in a way these are the questions I was asking to. I think a lot of companies are started by people that have been in, in an industry for a long time. And so innovation happens. But it happens within a realm that it's already been happening at a pace that's already been happening. And I think that sometimes having an outsider come in and be interested or having a sparked mission that's different from necessarily the product itself is the starting point can lead to innovation and kind of a cool way and lead to someone asking questions that like frankly should just be asked.

00:12:35Edit So this question about like why, why are we using detergents that are stripping our skin and that have ingredients that come with questionable health and safety concerns. That just doesn't make sense. And it turns out that soap quality and price are directly correlated. It's absolutely more expensive to use high quality oils in the case of supply. We're using food grade organic plant based oils that are going to help lock in moisture and leave your hands, you know, looking clean, healthy and irritation free versus a detergent, that detergents are really good at cleaning, right? So good. In fact, that they stripped the entire barrier from your skin and you do find, especially if you're in the kitchen a lot, if you're washing your hands a lot, you will start to see that like a physical manifestation of that and prior to covid, what we saw is mostly chefs, folks in the kitchen, folks in the medical field and people in hospitality who really have been washing their hands at an increased rate because they have to based on their industry and these are individuals who are paying very close attention to the quality of the soap that they were using or were prior to this.

00:13:59Edit And now what we've seen in the last few months is more and more people realizing, hey actually the soap on buying it matters. I'm willing to make a little bit of an investment because I don't want my hands dried, cracked and bleeding frankly. So it's been an interesting kind of map roadmap to get to where we are today. And it's also been interesting to see like who was an early adopter to this, who already was seeing that problem and seeking solutions and seeing much more like the mass market come to supply in recent months and say, hey, this is a, a value proposition that I didn't realize how badly I needed it and now I'm like desperate for your soap, we have customers that reach out and they're like, is there anything we can do to expedite it to get it here tomorrow, our hands die from any other soap, which is a great thing to hear. But also a real challenge when you know you're a small team and you're fighting to just get orders out at a normal rate.

00:15:00Edit But story for another time. Absolutely. I mean I'm definitely in that boat where I've been washing my hands a million times a day and they're so dry and it's just it's just not nice. It's really not a nice experience. I want to go back to the very beginning in those early days when you just launched the brand and kind of talk about the process of how you started it because you've, you know, you've had the idea you've gotten back to the U. S. You're clear on what you want to do for the world and like the bigger picture and then you clear on what you want to do within your own community. What do you do next? Do you get some money? Do you have to tap into your savings? Is it expensive? What happened in those early days? So I was able to save a bit of money While I was working abroad, I started to apply with $5,000 of my own money and I was really focused on the product itself. How do we create the best so possible and creating the best, open it, what's the formula looks like and what is the end product look like?

00:16:02Edit How do we invest in that? I went ahead and used my own background, I started post college, I was working in a lab and antimicrobial and antibacterial lab, so I had some experience in the lab and that came in handy and I started meeting with soap makers around the world at this point I've met with soap makers in Tripoli in France throughout africa throughout the US. I went and have made soap with these individuals and really the goal was to learn from them, how do we take this time tested method and use it right, how do we create something that we know really works and it's going to offer um the results that we want and need. And so for me that was a big part of it, how do we learn from the best people that have been doing this for years? And we ultimately met up with and now work with, I call them are SMS Masters are soap makers are based in Middlebury Vermont right here in the us, they've been making soap for over 20 years.

00:17:10Edit Um our product truly benefits from the craft that they bring and the goal of working with someone that has that experience allowed us to also say me at that point to say, okay, here are the things I really don't want in it. Um and a lot of soap makers are unwilling to work with you when it comes to formulation because they are also concerned with how much it costs them to purchase and produce and how much they would be able to get um in return. And so, working with soap makers where it was a true partnership and the stories kind of could come together rather than just farming it out and having it formulated outside of kind of our realm. So the first step was how do you make soap? And so that really was where I started, I literally um started making soap, I took a soap making Of course, I checked out, I think like 50 soap making books from the library, which I have to give a plug to the local library in New York City and where I'm from in colorado, I'm a big fan of the library, I love that and yeah, I checked out all of these books and I read everything I could and I read about different regions and what ingredients these regions kind of focused on and why and um from there I started experimenting and I went ahead and got my hands dirty and I started making myself what was really important for me from day one was making sure that anything that I was asking someone else to do, I understood what was going into that, right, what did it take?

00:18:53Edit How much time did it take? What were the margins like actually having an understanding so that I could sit across from someone and talk through things and really know what it meant and make good decisions, not just for me but for the person sitting across from me and for the company. So I was making soap like out on the back porch, my family home in colorado and I was making it in my new york city apartment, I would go out on the street when using lie, so that um, I didn't expose myself to anything tastic and yeah, that was really where it started is saying, okay, how do I do this and then how do I meet with and work with the absolute best people in this field so that we can produce something that when we say, you know, this is the best, so there is, I can say that and really feel confident in saying that and know that it's true, wow sounds amazing. And so when you found this manufacturer out of Vermont, you know, was that just like looking up on google asking around how did you get connected to them?

00:19:59Edit You know, actually, I met them through soap makers out in California. So I started doing this, I called it the tour just soap and the original tour where I went and I met with soap makers, any soap maker I could meet with, I would whether they were, you know, a farmer's market bar soap maker doing something out of their farm or out of their apartment or home or whether it was a larger production, I was meeting with anyone and everyone I could and I got introduced to the person that kind of, I met with first through a soap maker out in California that I met with three times. I think that actually was unwilling to Work with a formula that wouldn't include a few things that were just a no go for me and for supply from day one. And so um, I went up and met with them multiple times, went on a few bike rides, a few hikes and realized that there was a lot of alignment in terms of values and also an understanding of what we were building and why some of these like very small choices that were more costly to me and to supply and involved more on their part were so important to what we were building on term.

00:21:18Edit Yeah, a perfect alignment. Yeah, it was about people and then on the big emission. Yeah. And from the beginning packaging was incredibly important to me, making sure that we were looking long term and saying, what do we want to do here right? There's an opportunity for us to tackle something that frankly is adding to our global plastic problem in a huge way. And we're not talking about it. We're talking about single use plastic straws. People are talking about single use plastic bags. We're talking about even the coffee cups that we get, but we're not talking about the soap that's next to almost every single sink. If you go into any store and you walk by the so pile, take a look almost all of that liquid soap is in plastic bottles and it doesn't need to be. And so from the beginning that became something that I was really focused on. How do we create a a bottle of package that looks really beautiful that people would be proud to have next to their sink. That also long term is better for the environment for sure.

00:22:23Edit Absolutely. I mean, it's just crazy. It makes so much common sense and you're like, but how did I not think about this before? Yeah. In those early days, you have the $5,000, you've found the manufacturer, you've developed the formulation. How do you launch? How do you find customers? How do you start getting the word out there? What was your strategy so interestingly, I was very precious about making sure that the packaging was sustainable. I will share that. I knew I wanted it to be in recycled glass bottle. I knew I wanted to print the label directly on the bottle, we could not afford the correct ink that would cure on the glass. And so we were using a type of ink that would simply wash away. And when you would basically touch the bottle, the label would come off and it was not on purpose. We didn't want that. But basically that's what we were going to launch with, is this minimal viable product that we could honestly afford and turn around until our customers, you know, thanks for bearing with us.

00:23:33Edit The goal right now is for you to be able to remove the label fully when the bottle is done, so you can turn it into your favorite vase or whatever else and it's not branded, but that was not what we actually wanted. And what happened, this is a very new york story gives me so much joy to tell it, especially right now in the middle of Covid, which makes all of these things um feel a little heavier, but I was I moved back from Africa and I was living in Brooklyn in a temporary apartment. Um I think I found on craigslist and I was determined to start supply and all of my time, I mean was dedicated to starting supply and I was moving the week before I was launching and supply was going to launch online only as a subscription company. And we were set to launch in a week. I was going to move to be closer to the office and I left behind the minimal viable product at the apartment I was moving out of and it was the product that I just described where the ink wasn't quite staying, but it wasn't a glass product in a glass bottle and the product was supply.

00:24:52Edit So I left it behind. Long story short, the person who moved into that apartment ended up being someone that worked at West Elm and they ended up offering to host supply for a pop up to launch us. And we've gone back and forth about potentially you know them launching us on store shelves but you know being where we were as a company, not we're prelaunch um I had no money to support retail inventory and so what we worked out is ok, we'll do a pop up at your flagship store in new york city to launch the brand. Um so what we did to launch is we launched online as a subscription company. I sent an email to 16 people, most of them my family and very good friends and I outlined exactly what it was. I was trying to achieve. I told them the ambitious goal of changing the world by convincing them to change their self.

00:25:54Edit I explained why it was important, what they were putting on their body. I introduced the impact the soap, they were using what that impact was on our planet. And I talked about this global mission that was so much bigger than a soap company or any single hand washing experience or so product. And so from that email we had everyone purchased and then luckily they sent it on the first person to buy supply. I've gotta plug it. My mom mom's are the best moms are the best she was like you have to have me on the phone the minute you press live on the website so I can be the first one. So she was our first customer, the O. G. Supplier. And then we launched a pop up with West Elm and we sold out and I think we sold maybe like my gosh 45 it was less than 100 bottles but that was a big deal. Um It was everything we had and it was extremely exciting and Western was excited about it.

00:26:59Edit And unofficially we teamed up with them and we were doing pop ups for that first holiday season which was over 4.5 years ago now. And we were popping up and by we I mean I was popping up in their stores every day from thanksgiving to christmas and wow okay that's a serious pop up serious pop up. So different stores throughout new york but they have three stores throughout new york. So there's one on the Upper west side, there's one in Chelsea and then there's one in Brooklyn for those of you that are familiar with new york and West L. A. And yeah we ended up kind of unofficially popping up with them and at these three stores and we continue to sell out. And one thing that happened is you know anyone that would talk to me about soap for handwashing or our global mission I would talk to and one of the people who ended up purchasing not just for themselves but for family and friends as gifts for the holidays was a journalist at the new york times and unbeknownst to me, one of the boxes that was purchased ended up being for the new york times and oh my, we 24 hours before the feature went up, I was notified or I guess 24 hours before it went to print, I got a call from their fact checking department and that was a really big moment for us.

00:28:34Edit It led to a lot of growth and a really exciting kind of period in my life. And the beginning of what I'd say is like really been the growth of supply, wow, there's some really key like serendipitous moments in there that are just, it's hard to replicate that kind of luck almost especially with the west elm buyer receiving that forgotten bottle that you left behind. That's crazy. I know, I am able to share the kind of numbers that that new york times article generated. What kind of traffic does that kind of press give a brand? You know, I like haven't looked back at that and so long that I can't give you a specific, but for us, I mean it was at that point it was like, it was a step change, Not hundreds, probably like increases of like 1,000% growth. It was something crazy at that point. We've been up and running for a few months and really zero paid ads, we didn't have a pr firm.

00:29:36Edit We still do not we haven't done any paid press reached out to anyone. So really it was kind of our introduction to the world. So it's hard. I'd have to look back and tell you, I don't want to lie to you. But it was incredible. I mean it would be hard to replicate. I mean that early on growth and percent growth it happens pretty quickly. Unbelievable. Just amazing. But yeah it was really incredible. And from that new york Times article there were a few folks in Hollywood that got on board. Even Chevy Chase like shared it through his social channels and that also was a catalyst for increased sales and growth as well. So there were a number of things that that definitely set the dominoes in motion if you will. Yeah. Absolutely. And is that a theory that you have now still in the business that you don't run paid advertising and you don't work with paid pr or have you shifted the mindset there? We have not um we we do not have a P.

00:30:39Edit R. Firm. What's pretty incredible is you know, you have had some amazing features in the new york times just actually this month I guess also shared supply again and vogue. Food and wine featured us is trending. We had a half page. And food and wine a number of Forbes and most of, well not most all of the journalists who have written about us actually are customers of supply or have actually seen it, and it's amazing because they're telling our story, you know, fully and they're a part of our community, they represent our story, they are our story, we wouldn't be here without them. And so it's been really interesting and rewarding to see that, I think, you know, we are at a point where we're going to start exploring what it looks like to, to expand. Obviously we want our community to continue to grow when more people are purchasing supply were able to increase what we're able to give that is at the center of everything that supply does.

00:31:46Edit And so really from a very early point, there was a question, you know, if we're investing in paid pr paid ads, every dollar we spend is a dollar, we can't donate. That is how I looked at it from day one and we've been lucky and that the community that we are building has really continued to show up for us. We haven't done paid ads, we haven't worked with influencers in a paid fashion that said, we have influencers that are amazing that have incredible reach that do work with a number of very large brands for a large amount of money and they are our customers and not only do they pay us, but they turn around and they share what we're doing, why they're involved with their community, and it's really, I mean it's genuine, It's organic and we do see growth from that. And one of the questions that were kind of working with right now is how do we continue to stay true to who we are?

00:32:50Edit How do we allow and empower individuals who want to share our story to share our story? And that's something that we're honestly sitting with. Yeah, prior to this call, we were everyone's working remotely, but we were on a call talking through just that, you know, we're at a point where we want our community to share us. We love that we're growing by word of mouth and we want to also empower individuals to kind of take that a step further. So how do we do that? What do we offer people? Could we increase what we were giving? How could we, like, I think there's just these questions that are kind of, you know, we're not taking a traditional approach, we didn't put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a launch media campaign, you know, how we've grown has been organically by people purchasing and then we're using that purchasing to turn around and buy inventory and grow. And are our growth has been working, which is a different model that's really powerful. Yeah. And I imagine that also attracts people who are coming and knocking on your door to be like, hey, we want to invest in what you're doing, we wanna, we wanna be part of this.

00:33:59Edit Um what has that happened? I'm nodding my head, Yes. Yeah, that absolutely has happened. We absolutely have seen growth that's coming through organically. So our partners, we have gyms that have supply, we have wine bars, coffee shops, we have restaurants high in farm to table restaurants, we have small boutique hotels, we have coworking spaces, like the wing, like you name it, Oh, supply is sink side anywhere you go, you might spy supply. And we're also in homes across the U. S. And also we have some folks that even pay for international shipping to the UK, which is still baffling um to me, but I do love it too. But yeah, we have definitely seen organically. These partners come in and opportunities for growth, whether it's through through partnerships or individuals that are interested in trying to get involved in a different way, whether it's an investor or something something different.

00:35:03Edit It's incredible. I want to talk about something I saw on your website, the artist collaborations that you've done. First of all, they're incredible. I love them. Um so beautiful. Can you talk a little bit about that process? And the collaborations? Yes. So one of the things, so the question you just asked, building off of that, one of the areas that we saw a number of people reaching out was actually artists coming to supply and saying, hey, I love what you're doing, I'm buying your product and I'd love to be a part of it in some way. Is there some way we could do something and I wish I was an artist, I'm not but I have a lot of respect and love for art and there is something so incredible about art, right? You're able to tell a story that can be complex and heavy and you can do it in a really beautiful way and you can do it in a second with art. And if you really think about supply, supply has a pretty heavy story.

00:36:11Edit Like the root of Supply is really inspired by this pretty depressing fact, 1.4 million Children under five losing their lives because of diseases they could prevent or we could prevent through the simple act of handwashing. That's depressing 1.4 million is a number so big. I can't even visualize what that looks like. You know, that's not just a bus full of small Children dying every day. That's close to 100. Right? And depending on the bus says, uh, I should say, but just but what I will say is that the opportunity to work with artists came from artists actually reaching out and wanting to collaborate with us. And the idea became how can we, how can we work with artists and how can we do it in a way that's mutually beneficial. Um that also really highlights the art that they're creating and tells a story that's so complex that we would never be able to do it on our own, no matter how many words we put down on paper and we launched a limited edition artist series.

00:37:21Edit The very first artist was uh Oliver Jeffers. Oliver Jeffers is a new york times best selling author. He has illustrated many books that if you have kids, you definitely own. Um he's also taken over the high line this past year, done solo shows around the world. He is an incredible artist. His art is hanging in museums and we launched with Oliver, our second artist was a new yorker cartoonist, uh sorry, silly nets and very different styles. The third artist was and is a National Geographic Explorer and the idea of kind of so every artist is different. Each of their audience is is different. Their method is different, but the ability to tell a complex story through beautiful art in a second they all share and being able to take supplies complex story and break it down in a way that resonates for them and to create artwork that can be printed directly on the bottle that can be, you know, serve as sink side art in someone's home and that can tell us right in a beautiful way that supply frankly can't.

00:38:41Edit And so we've launched these artists series, bottles in really fun and exciting ways. So the very first bottle with all over jeffers, we teamed up with a chef that was trained at Alinea and worked Working at Blue Hill and we curated a seven course meal um inspired by the artwork itself in the story of supply, wow! Cool. When guests entered into the space, they were invited to wash their hands before sitting down and we took them on a journey that introduced them not just to the artwork but the mission of Supply and why we were all sitting there and how incredible it is really, if you think about it to sit down at a table and connect around something that everyone needs and that's you know, that is food, that is water and that is so and you use soap because it keeps you clean, but more importantly, you use soap because it keeps you healthy and that kind of opportunity to engage with our community and have an intimate experience that allows them to see kind of the larger mission that we're focused on and let them be a very central part of our story and our community and engage with them personally, because everything that supply does is personal.

00:40:01Edit Right? Our soap is crafted by hand. You're using supply on your hands and the soap that you're purchasing helps ensure that opens up in the hands of others, literally improving in saving lives. So, it's been such a fun experience to kind of work with these artists and figure out what's special to them what resonates to them with supply and then how do we build out this cool, unique event that's just so authentically us and that artist and invite people that are truly a part of our community only people that have purchased supply are invited to even purchase or are invited to attend if it's a free event and we've done a few different things with different artists, we've done um an event at the explorers Club Club here in new york city that I became a member of from when I was still working as a scientist um and focusing on research.

00:41:02Edit But we worked with this artist who was really, really interested and uh enjoyed natural wines and was specifically excited about female owned vineyards around the world. And so we called on our friends at Blue Hill and their head of beverage came and helped curate this beautiful wine tasting that took everyone at the event on this journey, introducing them to natural wines and the wine makers behind that wine and serving them in really cool and unique ways that tied back to supply, which I won't go on and on about. But if you ever have an opportunity to come to one of our events, I hope you will there always incredibly fun and more than anything, they're just so special because detail goes into every single thing to make sure that it reflects what we're about who our community is and how much our community truly means to us and I think what makes it even cooler is that it's unexpected, the artist collaboration, it's unexpected.

00:42:11Edit I didn't expect to see that on your website and then there's also so beautiful and then to hear about these events which I didn't realize was part of the story. It's just it's really interesting. I really love it. Yeah, the idea, thank you. The idea with the artists collab has been, I mean it's also just a organic growth that led to it and these are not, That was not part of you know, from day one, I always thought it would be really exciting to have an opportunity to work with artists to have them help us tell our story um in different ways and part of that ties back to our impact. When you look at, how do you help create behavior change globally? Art plays a huge role in behavior change oral storytelling and art and acting and singing these all tie back to, how do you encourage someone to wash their hands? How do you teach someone the proper steps to ensure that they're staying clean and healthy?

00:43:15Edit And so I think there's just so many authentic tiebacks and having the opportunity to work with such incredible artists, it must be, it must be a high point in the career high point. Can you, if you were, if you could see me see, I'm like smiling ear to ear whenever I talk about the artist and our community, I truly, I can't say enough that supply is not one person more than anything. Supply is a global community of people that just wash their hands and we're a community that is globally connected and we recognize that our actions impact others and wanting to show up in a way that is positive and that's positively impacting others. It gives you faith in humanity, it's worth washing your hands for Yeah, it absolutely is. I can feel your passion and like your enthusiasm, it's it's it's so nice to see not this many people get excited about stuff, but I'm one of them but you are one of them.

00:44:19Edit I love it. You made me be more excited about soap that is for sure. Mission accomplished. I want to ask what your advice is for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business Hindsight is always 2020 like advice along the way, it's easy to tell someone do this, don't do that. The number one thing I'd say is have confidence in your idea, know that you have your idea for a specific reason you have a vision that no one else can necessarily see, you can, you can share it. But everything that's coming together in your mind is what this idea is and whatever the company is is going to become and there will be people that say no to you. There will be people that say that it's a terrible idea, trust me when I told my family and friends that I was going to start a soap company, not everyone thought that was the best idea in the middle of this global pandemic when everyone's been washing their hands more than ever, many of those people have come, come around and said I was wrong, um but that's beside the point and I think that the point I'm trying to make is showing up and being confident in knowing that your idea, it comes from something that's specific to your history, your knowledge, your experience and your vision and there are going to be people that are not going to share that and it won't understand it.

00:45:51Edit And that can be really scary because you're already taking a huge leap of faith and you are risking a lot if you start your own company financially, you are, you're making an investment, not just with your money, but your time, you're giving up a lot in terms of your relationships with friends with partners with family, you are all in if you're all in with the company and knowing that is important and if you really are all in, you know what you said earlier, like you can see how excited I am about. So you really have to be obsessive about your idea because if you're not, No one else is going to be, you know, you're your own motivator you're your own kind of sounding board and making sure that you walk in and you feel confident in your idea and confident in your vision. That's incredibly important and my advice would be do whatever you need to do, whether it be research getting a degree, some people you know say, you know, I just need to be able to walk into a room and say I went to business school that will make me feel confident, then go to business school because it's worth it.

00:47:05Edit If you don't need that, you don't need that, but just do whatever it is that you need to do to be able to show up and feel confident in your idea, your ability to execute that idea and the vision that you have so that you can make it a reality because at the end of the day it's going to be you. I love that, Thank you so much. We are on to this, I love long winded, I'm all for it. I love some long wind. That sounds funny. That does sound well, we are talking about water sanitation and hygiene, so like toilet tackle out, you know, We're up to the 6th. Quick questions, so good, let's go question number one, what's your why my wife is Everyone needs so love it. Crystal clear, number two, What was the number one marketing moment that made your business pop? Mm The first one was the new york Times which already referenced in this. The second one was vogue.

00:48:10Edit I have a crazy story which I won't share now because this is the lightning round, but trust me there were some real lows around that point, I was in Ethiopia and that feature came out and I had terrible food poisoning um in the middle of this impact trip. So I actually read our vogue feature while hugging a public toilet in the middle of the, at this airport. Oh God, that sounds absolutely simultaneously. Our system was almost crashing because we were getting so many orders, so a real mix from my God, yeah, mixed emotions right there. I Can, I can feel it, question # three is where do you hang out to get smarter? Where do I hang out? I hang out in nature who I hang out with is probably just as important people that are smarter than me in every area always, I'm always the dumbest one in the room or I try to be, I love that. Um question number four is how do you win the day?

00:49:12Edit And that's around your AM and PM rituals that keep you feeling good, keep you feeling happy and fulfilled and successful. So am I try to work out, I'm a runner, I like to go on a run, I call it my therapy, my church, my mind clearing my meditation. So a short run in the morning, I have started doing something called my five gratitude. I don't know, I'm sure there's multiple names for this but I on my way into the office have a list of five things I'm grateful for that I am required to mentally repeat at least three times before I enter the office. And the thing that keeps me going, especially right now is just recognizing what a privilege it is to play a role in keeping people healthy. Like not just keeping people clean, but keeping people healthy. If you're able to wash your hands, you're able to show up in a way that you're healthy right?

00:50:16Edit Which means you're not just able to live your life, but you're able to go to school. If you're a little kid right and learn, you're able to go to work, you're able to show up for your family. So changes everything. If you can wash your hands, you stay healthy. If you stay healthy, you have an opportunity to write your own story and that's a really powerful thing and at night I'm terrible at this, but I try to shut my computer. I don't, it's like, I think that people often say like, oh I'd have this nightly routine. I do try, I try to make myself t but I'm usually still responding the emails like in bed with my computer and my, my computer usually gets tucked under my bed at night. Um It's lost itunes the first thing I do in the morning, I'm sure it's not healthy, but it's still happening. Hey, I mean you're being honest about it. I love that, tell it how it is. Um Question number five is if you only had $1000 left in your business bank account, how would you spend it easy on?

00:51:21Edit So apply on soap. Um, I didn't have much more money than that to begin with and the investment was directly and so We are focused on selling a single product. Supply is the best soap for you. It's the best hope for our planet and it's the best hope for people everywhere. And we grew supply from $5,000 to what it is today. And I have absolutely no doubt That if we spent $1,000 on product, we could turn it into a lot more Amazing. And question # six, final question is how do you deal with failure and it can be either around a personal experience or just your general mindset and approach. Mm I think when things don't go exactly as planned or a model doesn't play out the way that you expected it to or you get a response that you weren't hoping for. There's often an opportunity for growth and when things go exactly how you planned usually don't learn that much.

00:52:23Edit So I really don't think of failures as failures. I think of them as opportunities to learn, improve and grow and evolve and honestly getting negative feedback, having things go wrong. It's where growth happens at the largest rate and in an accelerated fashion. So yes, it's upsetting when things don't go exactly how you want it to and it can weigh on you, but honestly, I really don't dwell on it. I think that a reframing as quickly as possible to get what you can from it is a really healthy way to look at it. And at the end of the day, it only helps you improve and grow and the people who love you the most, your family, your friends, your customers that have been around for the longest that sing your praises, no matter what those aren't the people that are going to give you the really negative feedback that in some cases you might actually need. And so while it's hard to swallow sometimes it's really important that you sit with that you take any potential learnings and then you turn that into an opportunity to grow to better meet your customer to show up in a bigger, better, more important way to your team, your community or other.

00:53:38Edit So hopefully that answers it. But I think, you know, bumps along the way happen and they can be a little bit hard and making sure that at the end of the day, you have someone you can talk to and, you know, for me in certain instances that is mentors, advisors, formal or informal, it's my family, it's my friends, it's other female founders, you know that you can pick up a phone and transparently just talk and say, here's what's happening and I'm freaking out, walk through this with me, you know, brainstorm with me, let me know if I'm crazy and to feel comfortable in that conversation. So you can be honest is really important because the last thing you want to do is just pick up the phone and have a conversation that doesn't get you anywhere. And I think sometimes with failure or with challenges, it can be hard to share that with people. So making sure that you have individuals that really you trust, that you know, have your back and that will help you walk through that and turn those into opportunities to grow rather than a chance to say like, you know, yeah, it's a failure and not learn from it, surround yourself with people that will help you get to the next step.

00:55:00Edit Amazing, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I have absolutely loved to learn about supply and your story and see your passion and your enthusiasm. It's just, it's really remarkable and I'm just so on board for what you're doing. I'm such a big champion.


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