A LETTER FROM CHARLIE
That handsome fellow in the photo over there is me, Charlie Sutherland Jr. I am the founder of Charlie’s Soap. When I started the company way back in the late 1970’s, I never expected that our simple but powerful cleaner we be the center of an international operation some 40 years later.
It all started when I was working for my dad, Charlie Sutherland Sr., at a textile lubricant plant in North Carolina. One day, word came down that we needed to find a good cleaner for the textile machines – and quick! Not only would it have to clean up the oil on the machines, but it could not harm the little old ladies whose job it was to clean them. It also had to be acceptable to local wastewater treatment.
Well, my background is in engineering, chemistry, and a bit of mathematics. And I knew how to make the oils we used in the plant. So, I reverse engineered a formula to break those oils down in water. Wouldn’t you know it, the stuff worked much better than I expected. Originally, the whole goal was just to keep the machines clean, but soon we discovered that the soap cleaned fabric really well too. I even named it ‘SB-2069’ to make it sound like I knew what I was doing. Not bad for a first try.
Folks working with the cleaner loved the stuff and started calling it “Charlie’s Soap” after my dad. Soon thereafter, we knew a demand was growing for Charlie’s Soap because the employees kept stealing the stuff left and right! That’s when I knew it was time to quit my day job, take a leap of faith, and buy our little soap plant outright. The local Winn-Dixie agreed to be our first outlet and Charlie’s Soap was officially born.
In the early years, I was on my own, adrift in a sea of suds and uncertainty. We tried many ways to grow the “Soap.” Some worked; many didn’t. Marketing was really not my forte. But my family never stopped trying. My kids get the credit for our success. As they grew older, they joined the business and helped make us into what we are today.
My youngest, Morgan, and I created the Laundry Powder. Today he runs IT and Quality Control. Taylor, the oldest, took on sales and marketing. James specializes in engineering and international sales. My daughter Jenny is chairman of the board. And my wife Jane is our treasurer. Thanks to them, today we sell in thousands of mom-and-pop specialty shops, major hardware chains, supermarkets, and through the largest online retailers around the world.
But through it all, we have always operated Charlie’s Soap with a dedication to producing the highest quality biodegradable, environmentally safe products possible. Over the years, they have been tested against the best and they have always won, hands down. The combination of good science, environmentally friendly ingredients, and a darn good soap is one that still gets me excited. It is a combination that none of our competitors can claim, and it is something that I am very proud of.
Thanks for visiting our website, and please try our Charlie’s Soap. We’ll keep making it the best product.
-Charlie Sutherland Jr.