This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes sits down with David Simnick, CEO & Co-Founder at Soapbox and Managing Partner at Impact Driven Brands, which is the parent company for both Soapbox and Bushwick Kitchen. Soapbox features a variety of nourishing hand soaps, body washes, and shampoos. For every product sold, a bar of soap is donated to someone in need and is often paired with proper hygiene education. To date, over 3 million lives have been impacted by Soapbox purchases. Bushwick Kitchen features a collection of hot sauces, all locally sourced near its headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.
Simnick’s story is remarkable. Soapbox products, which started from a college student’s kitchen only 9 years ago, will be used by over 500 million people in 2020, through hotels, fitness centers, WeWork offices, and other establishments. And this number doesn’t include actual sales — Soapbox products are available for purchase in over 100,000 different points of distribution across the US. Yet, David would be the first to tell you that the sales are secondary — his passion is saving lives, which is literally what his company is doing every day. On the podcast, David retells his company’s incredible 9-year run — and lessons learned along the way — and discusses why and how he’s using business for good.
THE ENTRUEPRENEURSHIP TAKEAWAY:
“You want to know what gets me out of bed in the morning? I do not know their names or their faces, but I know that — without a doubt — between the efforts that our team puts together here and, most importantly, the consumers that love our products and continue to purchase our products, we have saved lives.”
“There is no shortage of capital in the world. There is a shortage of great places to invest that capital. It is your job to bear through all the no’s in order to find the right type of values-aligned smart money that is going to help you build this mission.”
“[In entrepreneurship], it is on you. Both the failure and the success. How hard do you want to work? How long do you want to stay up? How fast do you want to push yourself and others? That is on you… And you have to be super comfortable with failure.”
“How we do what we do really genuinely matters. And I think what’s really fascinating is that we don’t tell that story well enough. But our consumers are making a difference, and that is truly special.”
KEY TOPICS DISCUSSED:
2:56: David retells his earliest memories of entrepreneurship and how his mother taught him from a young age how to do business for good.
5:45: David discusses how he wrongly equated entrepreneurship with government and how, after a couple of internships, he realized that public service wasn’t for him.
9:20: Simnick highlights some mistakes and failures he experienced en route to establishing his current portfolio of brands.
14:17: David lays out the events that led to the founding of his first brand — Soapbox.
18:00: Simnick discusses how he found his first product buyer and how, after 8 long years, his products are now in 100,000 points of distribution across the US.
25:55: David reflects on four different occasions where he thought failure was imminent.
32:21: David highlights the exciting future for his brands and spends time discussing why, specifically, he takes great pride in his products.
36:06: David shares some advice for current and aspiring entrepreneurs, including the importance of resiliency.