When Gentry Lane founded Proper, she didn’t start with a product. Instead, she founded her company knowing that above all, she wanted to drive conscious consumerism by attaching her brand to a “dire-need world problem”—sanitation and access to clean water for developing nations. Her product lineup and cornerstone cleanser, Proper Bar Soap, was created from that mandate.
BB Man: Why did you choose to address sanitation and access to clean water?
Lane: Every day, 1,400 people die unnecessarily due to poor sanitation and water-borne diseases. To put things in perspective, that’s the equivalent of thee jumbo jets worth of passengers crashing every day. And it’s 100% solvable.
BB Man: How does Proper help?
Lane: We make long term, regular contributions to iDE, our non-government organization partner. By partnering with an established player in the global clean water scene, Proper’s contributions have immediate traction and fast results. In this fiscal semester our proceeds are going to communities in Kenya and Vietnam.
BB Man: How and where is your soap made?
Lane: We use a “French milled” process, which means it is triple milled. This ensures that the fragrance and actives (in Proper’s case: olive oil and Shea butter) are evenly distributed throughout the bar, and that there are no air bubbles or crystals. So every bar lathers and moisturizes consistently.
It’s made in a family-owned and operated factory in downtown Compton. The factory is run by a lovely French family that now lives in California yet continues to uphold grand tradition of fine French toiletry creation. I’m also quite proud that the factory is part of an urban revitalization program that provides jobs to a part of Los Angeles that used to be quite dangerous and economically depressed.
BB Man: What does it mean to be a “pure vegetable soap?”
Lane: It means our soap is vegan. It’s a Castile base, a century-old formula that doesn’t use tallow or any other animal products. It’s very expensive and really produces the highest quality soap, in my opinion.
BB Man: How did you decide on the ingredients and scent for Proper?
Lane: This particular scent palate is inspired by a specialty cocktail I used to enjoy at the Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo. The main fragrance note is elderflower (a clean-scented white flower that dots the French Alps), and the lychee, pear and marine notes are accents to this main note. I wanted to create the most luxurious soap possible.