Dr. Bronner’s may very well be the most unique company in the entire organic industry.
Not only has it been producing super-high quality soaps, cleaning and personal care products, and coconut oils since 1948, but its unconventional approach and commitment to social and environmental issues truly set it apart.
Most notably, the company gives 8.6% of its revenues to hundreds of different causes. Yes, 8.6% of revenues — a staggering amount.
Led by its Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) David Bronner (above, right), this third-generation family company is incredibly committed to fair trade and regenerative organic agriculture and is one of the founders of the Regenerative Organic Certification; has been one of the main backers for the legalization of industrial hemp farming and supporters of Vote Hemp; advocates for the legalization of marijuana; helps fund research on psychedelics as a tool for healing trauma; donated millions of dollars over the years to push for GMO-labeling, on both the state and federal level; provides free health care to employees; puts caps on executive compensation; and so, so much more.
If there is a cause or political event that in some way impacts the organic industry, you can be assured that Dr. Bronner’s has made a statement about it or is involved in some capacity.
Given that this is such a unique brand, I wondered what it is like for the people who have to sell the company’s products to retailers — what do they talk about in the sales meetings, how much do the buyers already know, how much does the activism of the company matter, etc.
These were all questions that I posed to Director of Sales Marc De Rosa and Senior National Sales Manager Gina Coccari, two executives who were recently promoted to run the Dr. Bronner’s sales division.
Here is an edited version of my conversation with them.
When you go into a sales call, how familiar are the buyers with the Dr. Bronner’s brand and what are the key points you try to get across?
Marc De Rosa: The amazing thing about Dr. Bronner’s is that we support so many different causes. No matter who I’m meeting with, I can find a cause that they identify with, whether that’s animal advocacy, social and environmental justice, or fair trade.
Gina Coccari: Currently, we’re focusing on Regenerative Organic Certification. It’s part of the DNA of our brand, and we want to help drive the industry towards more regenerative agricultural models.
How much do you discuss the company’s charitable endeavors during sales calls and does this matter to the buyers?
MDR: Buyers demonstrate real interest in our charitable giving and support of progressive causes. Our job is about more than selling our products — it’s about inspiring people with what we do to create a new standard for business.
GC: We always discuss this point with buyers. Our supply chain and support of social causes greatly differentiates us from other brands, and our commitment to giving back also informs how we partner with retailers. Conscious buyers who are also deeply committed to making the world a better place care a lot about these efforts.
In terms of future retail distribution, where do you see the Dr. Bronner’s brand being sold?
MDR: We’re looking to expand into home, hardware, beauty, outdoor and pet retailers. My vision is to have Dr. Bronner’s be a staple in every home on the planet.
GC: We want everyone to have access to Dr. Bronner’s products — not only because the product is superior, but because the business model supports so much good.
Which are the best-selling Dr. Bronner’s products?
MDR: We are famously known for our liquid and bar castile soap line. Our organic and fair trade coconut oil is a top seller, as is our peppermint toothpaste. Lately, our shaving soaps, lip balms and hand sanitizers have gained incredible popularity.
GC: Dr. Bronner’s original 18-in-1 liquid castile soaps lead the pack! We’re proud that we have these other products that have become category leaders as well.
What is your favorite Dr. Bronner’s product?
MDR: I use all our products from head to toe! If I had to pick one, I’d have to say our Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner, which I use for laundry and cleaning just about everything in my household.
GC: I’m obsessed with our organic peppermint hand sanitizer. It leaves my skin super soft and tingly!