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The One Gallon Soap Company

Submitted by: Tristan Corriveau
State: Maine
City: Scarborough

Business Description

The One Gallon Soap Company collects, cleans, sterilizes, and manufactures used hotel bar soap into premium liquid hand soap.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

The One Gallon Soap Company is a unique business concept that fulfills the consumer’s basic need for soap while being environmentally responsible. We started The One Gallon Soap Company because we found a real problem. An everyday problem almost as common as soap itself, in fact the problem is soap itself. We realized hotels throw away over 2 million bars of soap every day in the US which goes into landfills. So we set out to find a way to fix that problem. What makes us unique? It could be our passion for quality, for customer service, for the environment, for making a positive impact, or even for using less plastic (we only sell our soap by the gallon to cut back on plastic used across the soap industry - and recycle the one gallon jug). But it’s something different. The unique aspect that will drive our success is the fact that we found a way to solve the hotel bar soap problem. We collect those used bars of hotel soap, that would otherwise be thrown into a landfill, and we clean, sterilize, and manufacture them into a premium liquid hand soap. We have been relentless in researching and understanding the requirements for product testing, product safety, consumer demand, and market readiness and have successfully introduced The One Gallon Soap Company into the marketplace. Having completed these early stage steps, We have a clear vision for the future of our business as a premium liquid hand soap company driven by a mission to reduce waste.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

The One Gallon Soap Company impacts the community by weaving together a web of likeminded businesses. We create ecosystems in which our raw materials are supplied by local hotels and manufactured locally and Then our products are delivered to local businesses. This highly localized model allows for ample job creation in the community being served as well as employees who truly care about the community they serve. We keep up to 2,000 pounds of bar soap out of landfills for every hotel we collect from. And we keep thousands of plastic bottles from being used.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

We manufacture all of our soap in our own shops. We constantly need supplies to maintain the manufacturing, shipping, delivery, and collection processes we run on a daily basis. We would use the money to buy those supplies allowing us to continue operations.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

My SCORE mentors have introduced me to the lean business model canvas, countless high level local entrepreneurs and industry experts, guided me with confident reassurance through tough questions and growing pains, and most importantly questioned my path forward with encouragement and discussion resulting in clarified and stronger company directions.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

It took me over six months to find a way to sterilize the used soap that would guarantee every batch after was also safe. It's by far been my biggest obstacle. I made so many calls. It took the longest finding a group that could help discover the sterilization method. I assumed there was no real way to sterilize the soap that also made financial sense. I brainstormed constantly with my SCORE mentors. They connected me with resources that led me to a professor in the USM Biology department. Only weeks after that, product testing was under way. I had almost given up on the project. Having the partnership and encouragement of my SCORE mentors gave me the confidence and direction to persevere.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

I will use it to help share the work The One Gallon Soap Company is doing with potential customers. It will be an important stepping stone to future grants and other programs to help drive The One Gallon Soap Company further in it's mission.
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