Rub a dub dub, Dr. Bronner’s continues generating profits in the tub

It’s quite literally a rags-to-riches story.

It’s your first day working at Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in Vista, California, a company known for the densely packed messaging on its 18-in-1 soap labels.

Magic Soaps revenue

You walk past the garden and are greeted by the Foamy Homies in tie-dye coveralls, who, to the hum of a fog machine, have you introduce yourself with a disco dance move.

CEO David Bronner — that’s cosmic engagement officer, by the way — introduces the company and delivers a sermon, enlightening you on his grandfather’s “All-One path,” their Christian background, psychedelic rebirth, and more, according to GQ.

Unusual but effective

In 2022, Dr. Bronner’s revenue reached $170m+, down from 2020’s pandemic-driven $188m, but up from $4m in 1998 and bankruptcy before that. Uniquely…

  • The company’s highest-paid employees cannot make more than ~$300k, or 5x that of its lowest-paid vested employees.
  • Benefits for its 300+ staff include up to $7.5k in child care and 10% bonuses, free vegan lunch, Zumba classes, back massages, and ketamine therapy coverage.

A Certified B Corp, Dr. Bronner’s donated $23m+ to drug advocacy and research between 2015 and 2022.

Riches through rags

David’s grandfather, third-generation soap maker and not-actually-a-doctor Emanuel Bronner, emigrated to the US from Germany in 1929, where his family was later killed in the Holocaust.

In America, Bronner consulted for soap manufacturers, was admitted to — and escaped from — the Elgin State Insane Asylum for preaching his “Moral ABCs” a little too much for some, and eventually founded Dr. Bronner’s in 1948.

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