From mom to momtrepreneur: How one organic soap company is creating a give back movement with a little help from their customers
In 2009, Lindy LaRoche found herself living the proverbial dream. She had quickly risen to success in medical sales, setting herself up for a lucrative career as one of only a handful women in her niche. Although Lindy loved working for a company whose products improved lives, her priorities shifted after the birth of her first child.
Torn between a desire to be at home with her son and the realities of a sales job that kept her on the road week after week, Lindy knew it was time for a career change. Finding herself back at square one, Lindy considered the possibilities for her future—beginning with the things she was most passionate about in her life. A crafter and DIYer at the core, Lindy had always loved making soap. Driven by a respect for the Earth and a desire to teach her son that giving back is a daily opportunity, not just a once-a-year event, Lindy developed a unique business model based on the tenants of quality ingredients, sustainable practices and giving back to local communities around the country. And in 2012, Poppy Soap Co. was born.
In addition to creating beautiful, natural soaps specially-formulated for a variety of skin type and issues – from psoriasis to eczema to acne – Poppy Soap Co. is the only woman-owned, organic soap company giving back to women’s shelters across the United States. For every bar of Poppy Soap purchased online or in stores, the brand donates an additional bar to a local women’s shelter. To date, Poppy Soap’s “Bar for Bar” initiative has provided women in shelters with more than 3,000 bars of soap, serving as a human touch of hope as they begin a courageous new life journey. In addition, many of the women employed by the Poppy Soap Co. are survivors of intimate violence or have received services from local women’s shelters themselves, making it an intimately personal cause for the brand.
As the company continues growing, Lindy remains focused on sustainable, superior business practices that benefit customers, communities and the Earth. Poppy soap is 100% carbon-neutral and biodegradable—from product to packaging. The brand uses local ingredients whenever possible, from costal lavender to rose petals purchased from organic farms in the Pacific Northwest to organic, fair-trade cocoa butter sourced from a local chocolatier. Although some ingredients, such as Poppy’s organic virgin coconut oil, must be sourced from overseas, Lindy maintains a personal relationship with all Poppy Soap’s vendors and farmers to ensure that she understands where the ingredients are coming from and how they are grown so that Poppy Soap Co. customers continue to receive a product of the highest quality.
“We want to thrill, surprise and delight our customers every step of the way,” says Poppy Soap Co. Founder Lindy LaRoche, “We go out of our way to build relationships with our customers; their support and patronage are the reason our Bar for Bar program exists. As a brand we’re not unique because we care, we’re unique because we help others care. We bring awareness to an intimate violence epidemic in our country while providing a truly handmade, personalized soap experience that benefits the health of your skin and is good for the environment. Our product empowers people to have a conversation about supporting women’s shelters. Rather than just giving people another way to consume, we give consumers a simple way to take an actionable role in doing good by becoming part of a local give back movement. The catalyst just happens to be a really great product that is good for consumers, good for community and good for the Earth.”