The fascinating history of Softsoap: A lesson in ingenuity and tenacity

Some people are simply more clever and tenacious than others, and this is why they are successful.

In 1980, Robert R. Taylor began selling Softsoap through his company, Minnetonka Corp.


Up until that time, soap had not been sold in a pump bottle, even though the design and patent of such a bottle had existed for more than 1oo years. 

Taylor knew others would quickly copy the soap-in-a-pump-bottle idea, so he purchased 100 million small bottle hand-pumps from the only two U.S. manufacturers that made them, so that any competitors wouldn't be able to buy any for one year. This, he hoped, would give him enough time to establish the brand name.

It worked.

In six months, he sold $25 million worth of Softsoap. The package made it very easy to spot on store shelves when nearly all other soaps were in bar form.

Taylor sold the Softsoap brand to Colgate-Palmolive in 1987 and retired.