Make Soaps, No War

Emanuel Bronner found in American counterculture a market for his organic soaps and his pacifist ideas.

Ana Fernández Regal. 29/01/2015
Dr. Bronner soaps. Make clic to buy


When Emanuel Bronner immersed himself in the manufacture of soaps, his family had two generations devoted to business. From them, German-Jews who suffered the horrors of Nazism (his parents were killed in concentration camps) he learned the secrets of soap making; and the harrowing experience of war wounds and activism that led him to develop a peace plan (summarized in The Moral ABC) which promoted wherever he could, including, yes, the labels of his liquid soaps.

Bronner was a pioneer of natural cosmetics in the United States, where he arrived in 1929, as a teenager. The presence in the country of several members of his family, experienced chemists who, like him, emigrated from Germany in the interwar period, allowed him to create an extensive network of family business in which he would support the production of his inventions.

Dr. Bronner around the world
Dr. Bronner around the world

Several factors influencing Dr. Bronner’s soaps success and the fact that even today remains one of the most important organic Cosmetics companies in the country. Their soaps never pretended to compete with the big American soap manufacturers, so have made him clear his niche, relying on natural ingredients and crafting. The boom of the hippie culture in the 60s was decisive, since this movement not only identified with the naturalness of the product but also with the pacifist Bronner’s ideas, his contempt for advertising and his respect for small businesses.

Bronner’s philosophy made his products to be unique. He sold his soaps in the garage, and just sometimes attended orders of small shops. He also included on the label of his products his name and address, so often received calls from clients and got into conversations about politics and religion, which made him very accessible and presumably also enhanced customer royalty to the product.

More interested in his activism than in business, Emanuel Bronner’s brand enjoyed moderate success during the life of its founder. The entry into the company of his sons contributed decisively to the expansion of the business. When the new millennium became fashionable «green» products, Dr. Bronner already had decades of experience in the sector.

Dr. Bronner products. Make clic to buy


In the past 15 years, the company has grown by 1100% and remains faithful to the principles of its founder developed its products with organic ingredients from fair trade, using ecological packaging, respecting the rights of animals and developing initiatives that promote social justice. In 2011, the company had a profit of $ 44.6 million, one third of which were dedicated philanthropic activities.

Dr. Bronner soaps are distributed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In Spain you can buy them on the website of luxury private sales Achica. The best-selling brand product is the Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap. This is a vegetarian and vegan soap that stimulates the body and clears the mind.


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