Creating Good.Clean.Hope with SoapBox Soaps’ Jason Rosen

August 19, 2015

 

John Shegerian: Welcome to another edition of Green Is Good. This is the Green Festival edition of Green Is Good in beautiful Washington D.C., and we are so excited to have with us today, Jason Rosen. He is the graphic designer for SoapBox Soaps. Welcome to Green Is Good, Jason.

Jason Rosen: Welcome. It’s good to be here.

John Shegerian: You are a native D.C. person.

Jason Rosen: Yes, I am.

John Shegerian: So we are so glad to be in your hometown today with Green Is Good. And we are here at the Green Festival and we have got your beautiful products right here in front of us and your T-shirt, which I was admiring before we started taping. “Good. Clean. Hope.” I mean, come on. And you designed that T-shirt?

Jason Rosen: Yes, sir.

John Shegerian: Wow. Alright. Well, let’s talk about SoapBox Soaps. When did SoapBox Soaps approximately start?

Jason Rosen: SoapBox Soaps started around 2010. Dave Simnick – one of the cofounders – was mixing it up in his college dorm room and decided that he was going to take it a step further. With a lot of pushing, a lot of effort he got us into our first Whole Foods.

John Shegerian: Wow.

Jason Rosen: Single store.

John Shegerian: One store.

Jason Rosen: One store. From one store turned into a region. From one region it turned into multiple regions.

John Shegerian: And so – OK – and where was he going to school?

Jason Rosen: Dave was here in D.C. at American University.

John Shegerian: So that’s how you met him?

Jason Rosen: No. I met him outside of that.

John Shegerian: Really?

Jason Rosen: Yeah. A couple years after that they posted an ad looking for a local designer.

John Shegerian: And they were local then because they had come out of the school.

Jason Rosen: Correct.

John Shegerian: And they stayed local.

Jason Rosen: Correct. Stayed local.

John Shegerian: And that was it. And they hired you.

Jason Rosen: Yep.

John Shegerian: And that was it. Then, so they started selling one store, then they got bigger and bigger and bigger.

Jason Rosen: Yep.

John Shegerian: You came in and you started developing a look around it.

Jason Rosen: Different look. Different feel. Different logo. Different bright colored popping packaging.

John Shegerian: What did you design before that that caught Dave’s attention? And had you designed soaps or consumer products, or was this your first crack at that?

Jason Rosen: This is my first crack. Before that, I was in the music industry, designing posters and stuff like that. And I had just recently come out of school for design.

John Shegerian: Really?

Jason Rosen: Yeah.

John Shegerian: So Jerry Seinfeld sometimes says, “It’s better to have dumb ambition than extraordinary experience in one sector.”

Jason Rosen: Yeah. I mean, I have gained so much experience just from working with SoapBox and working with the company that it’s….

John Shegerian: But obviously, your first consumer product, you’ve done pretty good.

Jason Rosen: Pretty good.

John Shegerian: Pretty good. So talk a little bit about the growth. Five years. One store to – where are you today in growth in the grocery?

Jason Rosen: Today, we’re in multiple Whole Foods regions. I think 10 Whole Foods regions. We have a line of hair care in Targets. We’re in Giant Foods. We’re in Krogers. We’re in Yes Organic Markets.

John Shegerian: And online. You can buy the products online.

Jason Rosen: You can buy us online. www.Target.com. You can buy us at www.SoapBoxSoaps.com.

John Shegerian: Www.SoapBoxSoaps.com.

Jason Rosen: Yes, sir. Www.SoapBoxSoaps.com.

John Shegerian: And so how many products do you have, and what do we have here in front of us?

Jason Rosen: So we have four product lines total. We have a hair care line. We have a bar soap line. We have a body wash line, a hand soap line and actually a lotion line that you can buy at CVSs.

John Shegerian: I love this. “Soap = hope.”

Jason Rosen: “Soap = hope.”

John Shegerian: Who came up with that?

Jason Rosen: That is a Dave and Dan. The two cofounders came up with that slogan.

John Shegerian: And then you made that design. “Good. Clean. Hope.”

Jason Rosen: “Good. Clean. Hope.”

John Shegerian: So wait a second. This scares me a little bit. So now I’m going to go buy soap at Whole Foods or wherever.

Jason Rosen: Right.

John Shegerian: And I heard all the great things from you today, and I want to put this on my body. Black soap?

Jason Rosen: Black soap.

John Shegerian: Explain this.

Jason Rosen: So black soap is a West African tradition. It has got activated charcoal in it. And activated charcoal, the properties of that, help exfoliate, they help detoxify, they help deodorize.

John Shegerian: There it is. Black soap.

Jason Rosen: And it smells great too.

John Shegerian: It does.

Jason Rosen: So it’s all around good for your skin. It’s basically – I like to say – a HEPA filter for your skin. So it will suck the toxins right how.

John Shegerian: Really? And you said, what’s in this one here?

Jason Rosen: So it’s all-natural soap. Very easy to make. You could do it at home – really – if you wanted to. It’s olive oil, corn oil, shea butter, sea salt, oatmeal, coconut oil for the lather.

John Shegerian: That smells good. I’m taking this home with me. That’s awesome. So talk a little bit about all the different lines that you have here at SoapBox Soaps.

Jason Rosen: So each product line has a different aid mission to it. So our bar soaps, it’s a “buy one, give one.” So you buy a bar, we donate a bar.

John Shegerian: Wow.

Jason Rosen: With our liquid hand soap, buy a bottle, we donate a month of clean drinking water.

John Shegerian: To where? Where is the donation? If I buy this soap today, where is it?

Jason Rosen: Bar soaps are 65 percent domestic, so here in the United States, we work with various NGOs – overseas as well.

John Shegerian: Wow.

Jason Rosen: India. Asia. All around Asia. Africa. South America. South and Central America.

John Shegerian: Got it. And when I buy shampoo or other things what happens?

Jason Rosen: Body wash is a year of vitamins.

John Shegerian: A year of vitamins.

Jason Rosen: Yup.

John Shegerian: To a foreign country or local?

Jason Rosen: Foreign country.

John Shegerian: Foreign country.

Jason Rosen: Those are donated specifically in Northern India and Central America.

John Shegerian: So you’re sort of doing … what Toms did for shoes, you’re doing in soap.

Jason Rosen: With soap. Yep. Exactly.

John Shegerian: First company to do it in soap?

Jason Rosen: First company to do it in soap, I believe.

John Shegerian: That’s awesome. Talk a little bit about what’s going on; why you’re here today at the Green Festival.

Jason Rosen: So we’re here at Green Fest to sell our soaps and to get the mission out to people and let people know that with due personal care you can actually make a difference while buying natural.

John Shegerian: Got it. And how is this different than other soaps that are in Whole Foods or other great natural food stores?

Jason Rosen: There are a lot of natural soap brands out there but what sets us apart truly is the social mission.

John Shegerian: OK. Because no one else has that kind of social mission in soaps?

Jason Rosen: Yeah. We are the guys.

John Shegerian: How did the guys come together? Obviously, you guys have created a brotherhood now. You’ve been with them for years. How did this whole thing get founded?

Jason Rosen: Dave and his – I guess – childhood friend, I’d say. Dave is from the Midwest. He is from the Chicago area.

John Shegerian: Yeah.

Jason Rosen: His childhood friend started this company, started this idea. Eventually, Dave’s childhood friend stepped down and Dan – Dave’s classmate from American University – stepped in and they took it from there.

John Shegerian: Wow.

Jason Rosen: Yep.

John Shegerian: And how big can this go? I mean, is this being sold now across America? Can this be sold across the world? What’s the vision and the dreams?

Jason Rosen: We are national so we are coast to coast. We are looking to sell in Canada. We are looking to sell in the U.K. So we are taking steps to get that out there.

John Shegerian: Right.

Jason Rosen: We want to make it a global mission.

John Shegerian: Yeah. We’ve got Jason Rosen here. He is the graphic designer – beautiful graphics, beautiful t-shirt – for SoapBox Soaps. You can find their great soaps at www.SoapBoxSoaps.com. Jason, is more of the sales coming from online, or more is it coming from Whole Foods and the other great retailers?

Jason Rosen: I’d say it’s mostly the retailers.

John Shegerian: Retailers.

Jason Rosen: Yeah.

John Shegerian: And so you’re in every Whole Foods now in the country? Or most?

Jason Rosen: We’re in 10 out of the 12 regions.

John Shegerian: Ten out of – that’s a lot.

Jason Rosen: Yeah.

John Shegerian: Talk a little bit about working for a social mission company. How has this affected your life, your practice? And is this all that you’re doing, or do you also graphic design now for other companies as well?

Jason Rosen: Currently, I’m just exclusively with SoapBox.

John Shegerian: Got you.

Jason Rosen: But working for a social mission company is great. Working with like-minded people, open-minded people, people that want to make a difference, want to make a change. It’s really fun. I love going to work every day. It’s a family.

John Shegerian: This is great. First of all, “soap = hope” is amazing.

Jason Rosen: Thank you.

John Shegerian: It’s a great tagline. But I love this, so I’m going to read this to our viewers and our listeners. “All SoapBox Soaps are cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, made in America, 100-percent recyclable packaging, palm oil-free, paraben-free, petrochemical- free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, made with 100 percent pure hope.” How can you beat that?

Jason Rosen: You cannot.

John Shegerian: What are the new products? What’s in the works? What is the latest and greatest news?

Jason Rosen: So the latest thing happening for us is our launch in Target. We launched in Target a few months ago, and we’ve been doing really well. That’s our hair care line – shampoo and conditioner. We launched in select CVSs around the nation. We have a lotion line there. And you can find all these on our website. If you go to our website, we have a retail locator. Www.SoapBoxSoaps.com.

John Shegerian: Type in your zip code and you can find it.

Jason Rosen: Exactly.

John Shegerian: Or you could just order anything online.

Jason Rosen: Or you can order it online and it will ship right to your door.

John Shegerian: So talk a little bit about that. By breaking into Target and to CVS, does that give you guys real excitement and hope for the future of the company, and that now you’re becoming really mainstream?

Jason Rosen: Absolutely.

John Shegerian: Wow.

Jason Rosen: It’s nice to be able to break away from the natural industry and go into a larger market like Target and CVS.

John Shegerian: Yeah.

Jason Rosen: It means there are a lot of conscious consumers out there that actually are looking at the products they’re buying, looking at the ingredients, looking at the social mission behind it.

John Shegerian: Talk a little bit about a pitch meeting. We have so many entrepreneur and potential ecopreneurs that want to be the next Jason Rosen, that want to be the next Dave. What is it like going into CVS or Target with the boys and just really going for it?

Jason Rosen: Dave Simnick – one of the co-founders – is extremely charismatic and he truly, truly, truly has all of his heart behind this product.

John Shegerian: Yeah.

Jason Rosen: And they way he gets us in these places, it’s great. He definitely can talk to them and kind of….

John Shegerian: What’s the secret sauce? What’s the secret sauce, Jason? You’re an insider.

Jason Rosen: His passion. Truly, his passion behind it. It’s truly his passion behind the social mission behind this product. He truly believes in it.

John Shegerian: Does he show up in a suit and tie, or does he show up in one of those T-shirts?

Jason Rosen: Occasionally, the T-shit but yeah, I mean….

John Shegerian: That’s great. That’s great. That is just awesome.

Jason Rosen: Yeah. We’re all young adults. The average age at the office is 25.

John Shegerian: Wow. How many employees do you guys have?

Jason Rosen: Currently, I’d say 12 or 13.

John Shegerian: And right here in D.C.?

Jason Rosen: We are located in Alexandria, Virginia. Right outside of Washington, D.C.

John Shegerian: And what kind of office? Is it an office building, or is it an untraditional office space?

Jason Rosen: I would say it’s a little untraditional. We have an open office space.

John Shegerian: That’s great.

Jason Rosen: So no cubicles. Two floor office. From time to time, we have music playing. We have a lot of fun in the office.

John Shegerian: That’s awesome. So great. So since it’s a mission-based company, share with our viewers and our listeners a little bit of one of the great stories. Give a great story of when you were donating, how it changed some people’s lives and affected all of you guys.

Jason Rosen: Absolutely. So we do a lot of work at Thrive D.C., which is a local homeless shelter.

John Shegerian: OK.

Jason Rosen: And we make multiple visits so you get to know the people that are at the shelter.

John Shegerian: Right.

Jason Rosen: And going there from time to time you bond with people. But yeah, that’s kind of one of the stories is going to see….

John Shegerian: Getting to know what’s going on.

Jason Rosen: Yeah. You talk to these people month after month and kind of see what’s going on in their lives and you get to see you’re making a difference. A lot of food stamps don’t cover food stamps. WIC does not cover personal care – toothpaste, shampoo, any of that – so giving them this soap helps them greatly because they can’t afford that.

John Shegerian: Jason, now that you’re out of college and you’re a professional does working at a company like SoapBox Soaps – even though it’s important to make money to pay for your own overhead and groceries and for your own is it fun working for a mission-based company. because it’s not all about you anymore, right?

Jason Rosen: Absolutely.

John Shegerian: Your generation is about the “we” instead of just “me.”

Jason Rosen: Millennials seem to be more about the “we.” They’re very conscious. It’s good. You feel good. At the end of the day you go home, you feel good.

John Shegerian: You wake up your feel good.

Jason Rosen: You wake up your feel good.

John Shegerian: Doing good.

Jason Rosen: Yeah. Personally making a difference. Actually, being hands-on and making a difference makes you feel good.

John Shegerian: Wow. Jason Rosen, we’re so thankful you came on today. For our listeners and our viewers out there, please go support SoapBox Soaps. Www.SoapBoxSoaps.com. You can type in your zip code. You can find out where a store is – a CVS or Target or a Whole Foods near you – or you could just order the stuff right online yourself. We’re at the Green Festival today in Washington D.C. We’re with SoapBox Soaps. This is Green Is Good. Jason Rosen. “Good. Clean. Hope.” That says it all. You guys are making the world a better place and are truly living proof that Green Is Good.