This is not the post I had planned to write tonight.
We were watching Jeopardy earlier, and one of the clues involved Q-Tips and how its web site had a list of Life Hacks. So I thought that sounded interesting.
My first guess was that it truly was a list of clever life hacks, but then when I checked the web site, it was limited to clever uses of q-tips. I scrolled through the list (it is quite extensive), still hopeful that maybe there might be some really clever uses that I could write about, but nothing really caught my eye, so I scrapped the idea of writing about q-tips. But if you are interested in that sort of thing, here is the link.
However, thinking about how one product can have multiple uses reminded me of Dr. Bronner’s soap.
The odds are that you have not heard of this soap, it’s kind of a fringe product. I first learned of it through my son Joey, and so I gave it a try.
It is not your typical soap in terms of generating a lot of suds, but it seemed to do the job.
But what struck me most was the labeling on the outside of the bottle. (For the full transcript of the label, click here – it is the oddest product label you will ever read – guaranteed).
The label claims 18 uses for the soap, and here is what the company web site lists as those 18 uses:
You can use Dr. Bronner’s soaps for washing your face, body, hands and hair, for bathing, shaving, brushing your teeth, rinsing fruit, aromatherapy, washing dishes by hand, doing laundry, mopping floors, all-purpose cleaning, washing windows, scrubbing toilets, washing dogs, controlling dust mites, and killing ants and aphids.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I want to be brushing my teeth with something that could also be used to mop floors, scrub toilets, and kill ants. Or wash my face with the same soap that helps control dust mites.
But my sense is that Dr. Bronner’s has a relatively small but committed and loyal group of users that swear by its products.
I think part of the allure is the company itself, which is not your typical business.
Dr. Bronner’s was founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third- generation master soapmaker from a German-Jewish soapmaking family. He used the labels on his superb ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our unity across religious & ethnic divides or perish: “We are All-One or None!” Still family-owned and run, Dr. Bronner’s honors its founder’s vision by continuing to make socially & environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating our profits to help make a better world. All-One! It was the iconic soap of the counterculture 60s.
The company talks about its six “Cosmic Principles“, which define their most important relationships and guide them in everything they do, from soapmaking to peacemaking. Their overall mission is to spread love first, making profits second.
Here is the list:
- Work Hard! Grow!
- Do Right by Customers
- Treat Employees Like Family
- Be Fair to Suppliers
- Treat the Earth Like Home
- Fund & Fight for What’s Right!
As I noted, not your typical company.
There’s even a documentary about the life of Dr. Bronner. Here’s a brief description:
A human story about a socially responsible company, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox documents the complicated history and inspiring family legacy of an eccentric soapmaker and counterculture hero, Dr. Emanuel H. Bronner. In 1947, after escaping from an insane asylum, he invented the formula for the original Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, a peppermint-infused, all-natural, multi-purpose liquid soap that can be found today in every American health food store. On each bottle of his soap, he printed an ever-evolving set of teachings he called The Moral ABC, designed, in his words, “To Unite All Mankind Free!” All profits from sales of the DVD are donated to Uncle Ralph’s favorite Human Charities.
I do think everyone should try Dr. Bronner’s soap at least once, if for nothing else than to just read the label.
But you may also discover that you like the product, and may find your own uses for it (like many other people have done), besides just the 18 listed above.