• No products in the cart.
View Cart
Subtotal: £0.00

Episode 10: Building a Mission Driven E-commerce Brand and Breaking Into Retail with Mera McGrew

In just a little over a year, Mera McGrew has gone from making soap in her apartment to getting published in the New York Times, acquiring a number of celebrities as customers and landing on the shelves of major retailers like West Elm.

She was able to accomplish all of this by starting with a simple and clear mission – “get soap in the hands that need it.”

In this episode we discuss exactly how she came up with her idea for Soapply while working in Africa, how she enlisted the help of the United Nations and World Health Organization to do initial market research, and how she quickly started growing through word of mouth after landing her first customers.

We also break down her process for building out retail relationships, and why her brand has been able to garner so much organic support.

Show Notes

  • 4:30 Identifying the business opportunity while working in Africa
  • 5:00 Getting meetings with the United Nations and World Health Organization
  • 6:33 Finding out that soap isn't regulated in the US by the FDA
  • 8:45 How Mera landed a meeting with the WHO
  • 12:45 Starting a business around a personal pain
  • 15:20 Taking into account the environmental impact
  • 15:58 Learning how to make so at home
  • 17:38 Meeting with soap makers and finding a supplier
  • 19:35 Getting the first sales
  • 20:28 Doing market and consumer behavior research
  • 22:45 Starting with your own network
  • 25:00 The importance of quick wins
  • 25:30 How Mera broke into retail
  • 27:38 Lauching with West Elm locations
  • 28:37 Getting covered by New York Times
  • 30:10 Expanding internationally with West Elm
  • 32:30 Launching with other retailers
  • 34:35 Chance encounter that lead to a new partnership
  • 35:27 Why Soapply is a public benefit corporation
  • 39:45 Getting celebrity endorsements
  • 40:30 How Jesse James and Chevy Chase found Soapply
  • 47:05 The importance of finding advisors and mentors
Scroll to top