If you've ever used Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, you'll remember it. An old boyfriend of mine found it to be so memorable that he wrote a short story about the effect it had on his... well, if you've used it you know.
Back in the day, this was a product you could only find in a giant bottle at a co-op. The first time I saw it for sale somewhere mainstream I was overwhelmed with surprise and delight. This was a fringe semi-secret for a LONG TIME! Passed along friend to friend (or stranger) via samples and word of mouth. My mom was a force in this slow soap revolution. Giving out film canisters full of it for decades, with the endorsement/warning "it's like the Cert's™ breath test -- for your genitalia!" Yes, I have that mom. The mom that told me snorting boogers instead of blowing them and diet soda would impair my mental capacity and that all other soaps were illegitimate ("it's the only true soap!") and caused cancer.
(Emmanuel Bronner, the man behind the brand and that iconic bottle.)
It's the only soap I've ever used.
So when the co-op announced it was having a member art show for its 40th birthday this month, I knew I had to make a tribute to the creator of the greatest consumer product on Spaceship Earth.
The inside is my favorite part.
Now, if you've only tried this product while it's been in the current iteration of its packaging, you've missed a lot. Sure, the label is still far out. But it used to be very, very far out. Luckily, we happen to have a copy of the original label, which is what I printed onto the fabric on the inside.
Check it out up close.
If you'd like to read more of Bronner's philosophy, I recommend The Moral ABC. It's fantastic.
A few other recommendations:
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Box: a documentary about the man and company.
This interview which I teared up while reading at LaSalle's bakery in 2012. The idea of David (the current president of the company) engaging in the psychedelic experience and realizing the grandfather he had kind of dismissed as a weirdo was the most cosmic entrepreneur in the history of capitalism. Soon after he took over the leadership of the company, bringing it to incredible levels of success without compromising his grandfather's ideals. It's a great story.
This interview with Emmanuel's son Ralph (David's uncle) with a lot of great insight into the company's values and business model. Very interesting.
And then this! A record made with clips of Dr. Bronner's many hours of the dictation of his Moral ABCs and other thoughts. He was a man with a message more than anything, and maybe the most grabbing thing about him was how hard he worked at getting that message across to as many people as possible.