I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, James (Jimmy) Gould, Founder of SoapStandle. I first discovered SoapStandle at the annual Alabama Soap & Candle Meeting.
After personally using a SoapStandle for about a year now, and being pleasantly surprised by Jimmy’s simplicity in product design and effectiveness, I wanted to know more about him and his new company. Below is a quick interview about Jimmy and SoapStandle.
What does a SoapStandle do, actually?
“It makes a great bar of soap even better. SoapStandle is a handy and eco-friendly tool that sinks its “teeth” into bar soap and stays with it, creating a platform that keeps the soap elevated, allowing the bar to shed water and dry so goo never develops, and since it’s not degenerating into goo, the bar lasts up to 30% longer. And the “sine-wave curve” grooves give your fingers a comfortable no-slip grip.”
How did you come up with this?
“SoapStandle was born out of one simple frustration with soap. I thought, ‘There has to be a way for soap not to slip.’ And I couldn’t let it go. It started with creating the base, but then I learned how soap develops goo and then, if you eliminate the goo (the biggest complaint about bar soap), how that makes soap last longer. After a lot of trial and error —over 20 design changes— and ‘thought experiments’ (Einstein did those, too), the SoapStandle was born! Now it’s available for potentially billions of people. I like to say ‘It’s a deceptively simple (but effective) step in the 4,000 year history of soap.’”
How might the SoapStandle get liquid soap buyers to switch over to bar soap?
“Avoiding soap goo is the single biggest reason people give for buying liquid soap for their home. If the goo is eliminated, bar soap becomes viable for many people — it’s more sustainable and can improve your personal health. If you like using artisanal, handmade or organic bar soap, you’ll enjoy the SoapStandle even more. And there’s the whole environmental aspect –plastic packaging / extra fuel consumed in shipping liquid soap that’s 70% water – bars are just better.”
Why SoapStandle as a name?
“It’s both a stand and a handle for your soap – SoapStandle… right!?!”
Have you always invented things?
“I haven’t always invented things, but I’ve always looked for ways to make things simpler and more efficient. Even as a kid I would try to figure out how to mow the lawn in a better way and save time and energy. I’ve always liked to streamline tasks or systems so we can do more with our day, and just to make things… better.”
Is this patented?
What’s the 1 for 1 program?
“The 1 for 1 program is a way to support saving and improving lives through hygiene. For every SoapStandle sold, we will donate a SoapStandle to The Global Handwashing Partnership, which implements hand washing in areas of the world without access to soap and clean water. Those are places where soap is a precious resource, so something that helps it not waste away — and makes it easier for small hands to use — is a big plus.”
What’s your family life?
“All five of our kids are out of the house and doing cool things throughout the U.S. and around the world — getting their education and pursuing their careers. We’ve always encouraged them to combine what they had to do with things they’re interested in. When they follow through and put that in action, it puts pressure on you to do the same. That’s why I left the finance industry and now find myself in the soap world! I’ve learned from my wife, Katie, as well. She founded and runs an incredible non-profit that began as a ballet school 12 years ago, but is now a youth development organization that’s a resource for children and young adults (and their parents) incorporating all types of dance. They perform throughout the Memphis area, but NYC and D.C., too. Their alums can be seen on Broadway and TV — you may know the Apple Air-pods commercial where the guy dances on the side of a car and up a building… that’s Lil’ Buck, Katie’s student!”
What gets you out of the bed in the morning?
“Our two dogs don’t allow much sleeping in — and wondering what our kids are doing on two or three continents wakes us up, too. I’m involved in a small foundation with my brother that’s good motivation. We focus on the intersection of children and education, so it’s pretty gratifying work. But building SoapStandle into what I think it can become is the biggest reason to grab the first cup of coffee… global domination is a big responsibility. You think I’m kidding. :)”
So what would you say is the ‘mission’?
“To get SoapStandles in use around the world! Really, educating people that there’s a simple, inexpensive, reusable device that makes bar soap better — no goo, doesn’t slip, lasts longer — and allows bars to be the answer instead of the ecological and personal health train wreck of many liquid soaps. We know the SoapStandle works, so now it’s a question of communication and exposure. I hope I can work with your readers. Everyone in this group makes wonderful / beautiful / important soap — of course your customers would love their experience with it to be even better. We can help!”
What else is coming up / on the drawing board?
“If I told you I’d have to kill — well, it’s not like that. There are a couple of things in the ‘patent’ process… but let’s say colors, size… and travel.”
“It’s been a pleasure. Thank you!”
If you’d like to find out more about SoapStandle, check out www.soapstandle.com. Jimmy offers wholesale options for soapmakers who might wish to cross-sell a fantastic new product with their handcrafted soap bars.
Thanks for this article, Benjamin! I went to their website to check it out, but neither their contact page form nor their email is working. Is this business still in operation?
Thank you kindly for your help!
Sorry about that – it’s corrected now. Please let us know of any questions and we’ll get back to you quickly.