How You Can Change Lives When You Buy Soap


As Soapbox approaches its 3 millionth donation, we caught up with CEO David Simnick to get his perspective on running a social good business and how travelers can also help change the world, one bar of soap at a time. 

On a mission to improve personal care for people around the world, David Simnick started Soapbox: a social good business that donates one bar of soap to someone in need for each bar of soap sold. From its humble beginnings in 2010 — when David began operations in his college apartment kitchen — until now, the company has contributed millions of soap bars across countries like India, Liberia, and Cambodia, including the US. 

As of late, the company has been working with its aid partners to bring soap to communities impacted by the floods in East Texas and Houston. Recently, the line of soaps, hair care products, and body washes received a brand new look that highlights the products’ natural, hand-selected ingredients. As Soapbox approaches its 3 millionth donation, we caught up with David Simnick to get his perspective on running a social good business and how travelers can also help change the world, one bar of soap at a time. 

1. There are so many people around the world that could benefit from your give back model. How did you choose which countries you would support and which partner organizations you would align with in those places?

Our mission at Soapbox has always been to do the most good possible, and to fulfill that mission our giving model must be sustainable. We choose the partners that we work with, which in turn allows us to work in certain countries by finding NGOs that have a similar mission to ours. 

We're looking for partners who are creating a larger impact outside of simply donating soap to those in need. We're partnering with nonprofits that are educating and empowering the communities they serve. We also track where, geographically, the needs are most immediate and work to find partners that work in those locations. If natural disasters hit an area we will work with emergency relief efforts to help those affected.

2. We read that you used to be a subcontractor for USAID, but you left to start Soapbox. What about business power do you think drives social good more effectively than working for a large-scale organization or movement?

I believe the intimacy of it allows for social good to really stay true to my original dream in starting this business. It's not about staying aligned to a mission that was placed before me, or with something that I grew a passion for. It’s about reflecting on what drove me,

 what inspired me, and what really lit the fire within me to start our mission and execute it thoroughly and thoughtfully. We're a small, close-knit group here at Soapbox and every ounce of who we are as a team lives in every aspect of our brand.

3. For our readers that aspire to start a social enterprise, what is your best piece of advice to consider that would have helped you to know when you got started?

In my opinion, staring a social enterprise is harder than starting a pure for-profit company. Why? You have to balance two objectives at the same time: how are you maximizing your social mission while optimizing your profits. It's hard, but if you're willing to work hard and have the grit to persevere, you'll build an organization that can deliver on both. The best piece of advice: have the grit to get through the tough times. You will fail often. Pick yourself up and never give up.  

4. In what country do you feel like you are making the most impact?

 How could travelers make a difference there as well?

I would say in India, Myanmar, and Uganda, with our partner Sundara. Since working with them they have established three soap workshops. They have also hired 16 women, recycled 150,000 bars of soap, taught 100 hygiene lessons, and have impacted more than 10,000 lives. 

These numbers are just from our partnership alone. They work within the communities they serve to not only provide soap and educate proper hygiene but also hire local women to empower the community and give them job opportunities that would not have otherwise been available to them. 

Travelers can make a difference by becoming educated about the amazing work that our partnership is able to do, or emailing Sundara if you're interested in visiting one of the workshops to get a first-hand glance at the incredible impact they're making! 

Providing Hope with Soap

5. What recent accomplishment are you most proud of and what's next for Soapbox?

I would say our rebranding. Our products have always been great, our reviews speak for themselves, but the packaging was certainly lackluster. We were placing all of our focus on the actual soap that our design was pushed to the backburner and really did an injustice for how awesome our products are. This new look we've launched truly reflects the quality of our products and I'm so proud of all the hard work that went into revamping our aesthetic. Up next for Soapbox, we’re continuing to reach new milestones in our giving. We're gearing up for our 3 millionth donation, and we could not be more excited to reach this ever-growing goal. 

To learn more about Soapbox and its inspiring and kind products, visit 

Travel writer Megan Snedden is the founder of the pay-it-forward movement, The Kind Effect, which brings the joy of kind deeds to strangers everywhere.