At first glance, Soap Hope is simply an online store that sells high-quality, all-natural skincare and cleaning products. But, Soap Hope is unique – 100 percent of its profits have been poured into the global community. The business began in Dallas in 2009 through the collaborative efforts of Craig Tiritilli and Salah Boukadoum. Craig and Salah shared a dream for a company that would use its profits to make a positive impact on the world.
Each year, Soap Hope used its profits to benefit social organizations that focused on microlending to women in impoverished communities, in order to lift families across the globe out of poverty. And each year, those loans were paid back.
Craig and Salah decided to continue making a difference through a new endeavor, Good Returns, a company that helps corporations make microloans a part of their business model. This social impact experiment had been a success, but now Soap Hope needed a new home and a new purpose.
Soap Hope Joins My Possibilities
That’s when Plano-based My Possibilities (MP) came into the picture. MP serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in North Texas through vocational education and job placement.
Now, through a partnership with My Possibilities, not only does Soap Hope employ adults with IDD, but all its profits benefit the IDD community. Soap Hope has always operated under the belief that every person deserves equality, and when Craig and Salah learned about MP, they wanted to offer that opportunity to the population MP serves.
“Hiring a person with a disability is like dropping a boulder in a pond. Major ripple effects are felt in every direction – colleagues benefit, the company benefits and the community benefits,” reads the mission page on Soap Hope’s website.
With this new focus on inclusive employment, Soap Hope has relocated from its original warehouse space in Deep Ellum to join MP in Plano. Soap Hope currently employs two MP clients, known as HIPsters, or Hugely Important People, and hosts 13-week HIPster Academy internships.
“We are very excited to officially call Plano home,” said Kate Knight, director of MPact, which now oversees operations at Soap Hope. “Being in the neighborhood creates a community feeling. We’re half a mile away from the campus so it’s easy for the HIPsters to get here.. We have HIPster families come by and pick up orders, and as community safety allows, we’ll be easily accessible for a lot more HIPsters to join us in a working capacity.”
MPact Initiative Gives Adults with IDD Employment Opportunities
Soap Hope is My Possibilities’ first official MPact partner. MPact is an initiative started at MP to bridge the employment gap for adults with disabilities. With the great success already experienced in its partnership with Soap Hope, MP is planning to expand MPact even more.
“Soap Hope is a great example of what being an MPact partner entails. I can’t wait to see more HIPsters participate in the academy program and gain employment experience,” said My Possibilities’ Executive Director Michael Thomas. “Our campus plans to accommodate a full retail plaza, housing many local businesses that will provide HIPsters with job opportunities.”
The retail plaza, which is still in the planning phase and set to launch in the next couple of years, will feature Soap Hope and other businesses-to-come that will employ HIPsters. HIPsters can walk from class to work, easing their commute. The plaza will act as a fully functional retail space but also a training ground for each HIPster to transition into the workforce.
In the meantime, Soap Hope’s warehouse and showroom sit just down the street from MP. Jake and Cathi, the two HIPsters on staff, are core to the daily operations.
“I like feeling accomplished – from filling orders and shipping them out to filling hand sanitizer bottles,” Jake said.
“It’s been cool to see Jake’s confidence grow and his mastery of different aspects of the business,” said Kate. “He’s very good at packing which is quite challenging. Nothing’s worse than getting your order and all the soap is spilled. There’s a science to it, and he knows it.”
“Cathi has come in with this bubbly attitude, and great positive energy. She injects so much joy into the space,” she also said. “She is getting really good at the hand sanitizer process. She’s taking over that operation, and she’ll be great on the register in the showroom too.”
“I love working so close to MP. And I really like working with my job coach, Anita,” said Cathi.
Kate sees the ongoing partnership between Soap Hope and MP as an opportunity to perfect the integration of retail into the world of My Possibilities. Once the retail plaza launches and more businesses come onto its campus, a system will be in place to effectively run those businesses and employ plenty of HIPsters.
MP celebrated Soap Hope’s move with a ribbon cutting Oct. 29. “After 10 months of work, we finally get to present Soap Hope as a part of MPact,” said Kate. “We’re excited for folks to know we’re here and open for business. The space already feels like home.”
The Soap Hope showroom is open to the public 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday for shopping.Soap Hope >
600 Data Drive Suite 150
Plano, TX 75075
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