About UsMission Statement
We recognize that human beings are now at a critical juncture in relation to our planet, and that viable alternatives must be created to lead us into a sustainable future.
Vermont Soap Organics was created to manufacture and market high quality, unique and natural personal care products of usefulness and value; and to be an example of how corporations can be a tool for positive social change.
We emphasize the wholeness and integration of the company departments through communication, participation in the growth process, and acceptance of responsibility among co-workers.
We pledge to conduct our business in an environmentally aware manner emphasizing reuse and recycling, the use of natural base ingredients, and the application of appropriate technology.
How the heck did you get into the Soap Business?
In 1984 I was washing windows as a way to earn some money while going to college. I was a biology/chemistry major with a knack for business. The window cleaning business exploded, just as I learned that without 3 semesters of A’s in calculus (my nemesis subject), there would be no hope of taking the MCAT exams (medical school admissions).
My first consumer product was window cleaning spray, sold to some of the condo housekeepers. My second was a rope protector for rappelling off roofs and cleaning windows (we actually sold a dozen or so). The third was a total body powder/antiperspirant (corn starch, baking soda, aluminum chlorhydrate, fragrance).
So for the next 5 years I’m washing windows. Stuff is occurring to me, but nothing fits just right. Now, while all this is going on, I got this skin problem thing happening. My forearms are always rashy and itchy. I have a dandruff like flaking scalp condition. Sometimes my face would get rashy if I slept on a particular side too long.
I was experimenting with a bar soap that a friend had recommended. She had eczema and swore by the stuff. I started rubbing it in my arms. "Yow"! They turned red immediately. I threw the bar out of the shower and against the waste basket.
That was it. My epiphany. Under $5. Use it up and buy another. You like it so you tell your friends. Something special, and natural, and from Vermont. I was going into the soap business! The first thing I did was to try every bar of soap I could find. I bought ten at a time. I started to read and study soap, organic chemistry, track down soap people. I became immersed in soap. If I could make a bar of soap that I could use....anyone could use it!
One day in early Autumn, I take a walk through a country craft fair in Woodstock, Vermont (looking for some fresh apple pie). There's this family selling goat stuff; goat cheese, goat milk - and goat milk soap. Over by this tree behind the makeshift farm stand is an old woman with white hair, all dressed in white herself, and carrying a baby all wrapped up in white blankets. I walk over and look gingerly at the infant. No telltale rashy spots. And her hair looks pretty good too. With some reluctance I shell out $3 for a 2oz bar and walk on. "Try it!" she says. "You'll like it" she tells me. "You'll come looking for us ta git more." Three days later the rashes on my arms, which I had endured for 8 years, went away.
I imagined myself as the person to bring handmade soap to the world. From the craft fairs to the supermarkets. To make so much soap that the price would fall, and everyone would be able to afford it. Silly me. At least 12,000 other people also heard the call.
A few years later I was stuck in some cheap hotel for a trade show, and I refused to use the shampoo product left at the sink. Impetuously, I grabbed a bar of VERMONT SOAP, and washed my hair with it. Three weeks later that flaking scalp condition I mentioned went away. I decided to shave with natural soap, and experienced a dramatic reduction in shaving rash.
I thought I was on top of the world. One bar of soap and good bye dermatologist. Then I got this all over body rash. It was Summer, and I was staying in another hotel, at another trade show. There was no question that the whatever the towels and sheets were washed in was driving my sensitive skin bananas. So I went into the castile soap business.
Castile soap is a natural detergent substitute. By now I had come to realize that I am detergent-sensitive. To my knowledge no study has ever been done to determine what percentage of the population is also detergent-sensitive. To shorten the learning curve I bought a small environmental products company that also manufactured small amounts of liquid castile soap. The formula and a filler machine was most of what we bought, but the price was right, and we have never looked back.
And those rashy problems? I am happy to report that I am now 8 years (2004) symptom free. No dry skin, no rashes or breakouts. I also take omega fatty acids, and recommend that everyone do so as well (unless you eat ground flax seed daily or live on a salmon run).
And Vermont Soap? Well, we are holding our own and growing all the time. As it should be.