Dr. Bronner's: The Tale Behind the Tingle

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Appropriately, Tom Foster's Inc. profile of the hippies who run Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap starts with the telltale tingle in the nether regions. That silent buzz, created by mint oil, is a selling point for a lot of Dr. Bronner's users, but it's far from the only one. There's also the label full of crammed-together spiritualizing, the fact that the soap is so natural you can take it on camping trips or use it as toothpaste, and the fact it really is run by a family of granola-types. That last is refreshing compared with Clorox-owned Burt's Bees or Palmolive-owned Tom's of Maine. It's really good to know actual hippies still make some of our favorite hippie products. Foster writes:

The company's president since 1998, 38-year-old David Bronner, is a ponytailed marijuana activist who drives a rainbow Mercedes that runs on French fry grease. David is the grandson of Emanuel Bronner, and, along with his younger brother, Michael, he has turned Dr. Bronner's into an instantly recognizable brand and a pioneer in sustainable business, from its vertically integrated organic and fair-trade supply chain to its highly progressive labor practices—all without spending a dime on advertising.

What follows is a lengthy rundown of how Emanuel Bronner created the business and his progeny have made it succeed, and it's well worth a longer look.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.