We ditched cable in favor of Hulu Plus and Netflix a few months back, and in all honesty I haven’t missed cable one bit. One of my recent Hulu Plus discoveries is a quirky documentary about a natural product my family has used for years—Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap.
Dr. Bronner’s soaps were some of the first natural products I ever used, but until I stumbled upon this documentary, I didn’t realize there was such a story behind that manifesto of a product label. It turns out that Dr. Bronner was a master soapmaker who came to the U.S. in 1929. A quirky, brilliant chemist, Dr. Bronner would periodically abandon his family (a point with which his family appears to be at peace at this point), to “preach” his message of unity. He was once even committed into an insane asylum for his passionate speeches—although he eventually managed to escape.
The family behind the soap is undoubtedly unusual, but the one thing that really struck me is how generous this family-owned company still is to this day. According to the film, which came out in 2007, the company has donated more than 70% of their profits to charitable organizations or people. They take seriously their promise to treat their employees fairly, including generous bonuses, retirement/profit-sharing plans, and a no-deductible health insurance program. And they care about taking care of what Dr. B called “spaceship earth,” too–they’ve been using 100% post-consumer-waste containers for their products since 2003.
If you’re looking for some insight into a company that produces natural products (or just interested in an interesting story), I think the film is worth watching. (For more details on Dr. Bronner’s activism, history, and products, check the company’s website.) —Aleigh
(Images and video via Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox)