Social Entrepreneurs Create Holiday Pop-Up Store From Cardboard, Dedicate Profits To Lift Women From Poverty
When social entrepreneurs Salah Boukadoum and Craig Tiritilli decided to expand their online retail business to include a holiday pop-up store, they gave themselves just a $200 budget: the same amount that a woman might receive from a microloan.
Boukadoum and Tiritilli founded Soap Hope in 2009 with a purpose: to give customers a way to empower women to escape poverty. Using an innovative business model called Good Returns, Soap Hope volunteers all its profits every year as interest-free loans to nonprofits. The capital helps women start microbusinesses, sustaining their families and building individual opportunity, both in the U.S. and around the world.
Until recently the company offered shopping only online – sourcing top-brand natural and eco-friendly products for its roughly twenty thousand health-, beauty- and eco -conscious customers.
This month Soap Hope opened its first brick and mortar “pop-up” for the holidays. The founders wanted to try to open the store on a budget similar to the women they help – under $200. Tiritilli explains, “To do that, we had to think completely differently – like a microbusiness would. Volunteers from around the city came together to help build the popup. All the fixtures in the shop were made from reclaimed cardboard wrapped in packing paper, to stay in the microbudget and to minimize our environmental impact. It took the creativity of a lot of people pulling together, just like the women in the villages we saw when we started our microloan program.”
The experience taught the social entrepreneurs just how resourceful the women they support must be. “Think about all the advantages we started with over what the women have,” said Boukadoum. “Electricity. Water. A big network of friends who provided cardboard, a computer, and hours of time. It makes us respect and admire these women that much more.”
Soap Hope has opened its doors at The Shops at Park Lane, an upscale outdoor shopping mall in the heart of Dallas, Texas. The pop-up is offering top brand natural products for body and home, from cosmetics to cookware, eco-fashion bags to facial and bodycare products, holiday gifts – and of course luxury natural soap bars, the retailer’s cornerstone offering. The company also sells over 1,000 products to customers nationwide on its website at soaphope.com.
Boukadoum continued, “Just by shopping at Soap Hope, every customer becomes an instant philanthropist. Even just one bar of soap funds a woman’s business for two days. Our customers are already responsible for helping hundreds of women escape poverty, and as we grow we believe we can impact more than a million lives together.”
Soap Hope is a retailer of top-brand natural products online at http://soaphope.com and now at its holiday popup shop. The pop-up is located at 8060 Park Lane, Suite 130 at The Shops at Park Lane (downstairs level, near Gordon Biersch). The pop-up is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, Sundays from noon to 6PM.
Jasmin Brand, Media Relations