In my freshman year of college, I remember writing a paper arguing against the presumption that Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club) was a nihilist. I mean how can someone with the entrepreneurial spirit to make and sell soap for a living actually claim that life or reality has no intrinsic meaning or value – am I right?
While David Simnick certainly doesn’t have the destructive nature of Tyler Durden, he does share his interest in soap. The co-founder and CEO of Soapbox Soaps, Simnick jokes casually about the early beginnings of his company and how his friends often compared what he was doing to what went down in the movie.
Soapbox Soaps, however, is not the product of a movie; rather, it’s a product of reality – a reality that was only made possible through a lot of hard work and dedication on Simnick’s part. The soap industry is a competitive industry – with everything from big companies that dominate the market, to smaller, farmers’ market-type producers; people told him he couldn’t do it – there was simply no way his soaps could take on the other guys.
Somehow, however, Simnick was able to take this company from the Fight Club situation happening in his basement to one that sells specialty soaps in just over 200 stores nationwide (including Whole Foods). How did Soapbox Soaps manage to do this? Well, according to Simnick, one of the reasons they were able to do this is that they focused on the WHY: why should people care about their product? Their WHY? Because they donate a bar of soap to a child in need every time a consumer buys a bar. Because they help save kids’ lives. Because they make consumers feel like they’ve made a sincere difference in the world.
For Simnick, figuring out the WHY is just one of the steps that startups should take when trying to make it from initial seed to a profitable business. In the video below, he covers all six of those steps.
Watch the video here.
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