Saturday, October 24, 2015

The economics of soap

I've talked a lot about the sustainable ingredients of my soap and why this soap is so good for you skin, but now I'd like to talk a little about the economics of my soap, and what it means to support local economies.

I order my organic, sustainable shea butter from an African American lady in Brooklyn who promises her import business supports small and local farmers in Ghana.

I buy organic coconut, avocado and olive oils from Costco, where employees are given a fair wage and benefits.

I buy my organic vervain leaves from a tea supplier in Boston who exclusively imports from small growers in the South of France.

I buy the chemicals needed for saponification (sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide) from an educational chemical supplier here in Denver.

I make each batch in my greenhouse, using a mold I created myself, and I label with stickers I created with my own art and printed on my computer.  Each batch is a labor of love and I enjoy my work very much, and I enjoy sharing the product with others whose dry skin problems might be helped, as mine have been enormously helped.

When I sell each bar for about $7, I am basically just covering the cost of my supplies.

When you buy a bar of Dove soap at Walmart for $2, the environmental impact is immeasurably larger than the cost of a bar of my soap.  That soap is full of detergents and the result of mass production, and the executives of Proctor and Gamble and Walmart make a fraction of a few cents off each bar.  The employees who manufacture, package, ship and sell this product don't see any of that profit.  They often even make a sub-poverty wage, which is subsidized by government welfare payments which all of us pay for with our taxes.

Do you really want to add to the incredibly negative environmental and personal impact of supporting large inhuman corporations?  I think the long term spiritual and psychic impact of using cheap mass produced products is not good for you, or the earth.

So that's why I make and sell soap for virtually no profit.  I believe it's a very small contribution I can make toward a more balanced healthy earth, and maybe an example for all of us to examine where we get our products, who profits, how they help our skin, our morale, and our planet. Yes, it's hard to spend $7 on a similar item that can be bought for $2, but is it really similar?  What is the long term cost to not only your skin, but your spirit?

I encourage all of us to be more conscious consumers, with even as small an item as the soap you wash with.

Blessed Be.