Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

February 26, 2010

Inside the Heart & Soul of Pangea Organics: Part Two

A week back from Boulder, Colorado and I'm still inspired by listening to the thoughts and ideas of Joshua Onysko, founder of Pangea Organics. Founded 10 years ago at the age of 23, Joshua now owns the largest handmade cold process soap company in the U.S. Pangea is not your average soap company. It's the leading manufacturer of organic, sustainable, handcrafted and cruelty-free skincare.

You can listen to
Part One of my audio interview, posted earlier this week.

In this 23-minute interview (this is part two)
Joshua talks about:
  • Living inside Pangea's first three facilities;
  • The importance of balancing your career and your personal life;
  • Why being palm-free is important; how 95% of all ingredients used in cosmetics and skincare are imported and how one of Pangea's missions is to source 50% from the U.S.;
  • Raising capital;
  • Being ahead of the organic wave in the U.S.;
  • How it took five years for Pangea to post profits;
  • Why he expects it to take until 2015 for the U.S. natural industry to weed out inconsistent brands and be filled with authentic, organic products
  • How and why Pangea's ingredients are food grade
  • This year marks Pangea's 10-year anniversary in April and how Joshua views the celebration
  • One of the biggest challenges that he faces today (hint: he had to cut 72% of his stockists.)
  • What going mainstream by selling to Sephora in 2009 has done to his business.
One of his messages to soapmakers in the U.S. is to create a high quality product to raise the bar (my pun) on the quality and sustainability of ingredients used in handmade bath and body products. "If you're out there making skin and bodycare products, know that if you put a poor product together, you're not doing the industry any good. Because people are going out there and having a bad experience with this gooey, separated mess and associating that with organic. So if you're going out there and make an organic product, make it work better than everything else on the shelf. Don't sacrifice quality for one ingredient you don't want to use."

Be inspired and take a look at Pangea's research and development mission. There are three key factors that have to come together before their product will hit the market: everything has to be natural, it has to be food grade, and as many organic ingredients as possible. Once these three factors come together it then must be an efficacious product that outperforms everything else on the shelf. For example, the reason Pangea hasn't introduced a haircare line is that there is not yet a surfactant on the market that meets their environmental and quality standards.

All business aside, perhaps one of the best suggestions Joshua gives to bath and body company owners is a philosophy on how to view life. "Focus on the small victories and view every day as a gift. There's challenges and there's weaknesses, but there's also these moments, these small victories that happen every moment, every day that you have to focus on."



February 23, 2010

Inside the Heart & Soul of Pangea Organics: Part One

Joshua Onysko and me at Pangea Organics, Boulder, CO

I just returned from Boulder, Colorado where I had the pleasure of interviewing and being inspired by Joshua Onysko, founder of Pangea Organics - the largest handmade cold process soapmaking manufacturer in the U.S. In case you don't already know, Pangea is not your average soapmaking company. It's the leading manufacturer of organic, sustainable, handcrafted and cruelty-free skincare.

What I found most impressive about Joshua (besides being incredibly gracious and having lived in my hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyoming), is what's inside his heart and soul and how he transfers this gift to his company. For example, Pangea Organics gives 5% of its profits to Women for Women International, a program founded to micro-finance women-owned cooperatives in developing countries who are producing ingredients that he uses in his company's products.

By the way, Joshua founded Pangea in 2000 when he was 23. Although it took the first five years to reach profitability, from 2005 to 2010, Pangea will have grown from almost $0 in sales to over $10 million. He is candid in this interview about the low margins on his soaps, especially with sustainable and organic ingredients, marketing and the company's overhead.

In this 20-minute interview (this is part one of two) I ask Joshua questions on how to be a successful bath and body entrepreneur. He also shares insights into Pangea. I hope you find him as engaging and facinating as I do. Check back on Friday, February 26 for Part Two of the interview!

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