One of the key figures in the Dr. Bronner's line of soap products, Ralph Bronner, died earlier this week. Having lived a life that was dedicated to spreading joy, love, and understanding, he will be sorely missed by many, including the hemp community.
As his family said in a recent statement, "Ralph was a beautiful force of nature, the heart and soul of Dr. Bronner's, who inspired us to hold true to the mission of spreading love first, making profits second." He was 78 years old.
Ralph Bronner was the first son of the Dr. Bronner's soap products creator, Emanuel Bronner, whose parents were killed in the Holocaust. At his time of passing, Ralph was the Executive Vice President and spokesperson for Dr. Bronner's, a brand that has been embraced whole-heartedly by the organic food and beauty movement of recent years.
Known for his many songs and stories, Ralph spent years of his life touring the country, promoting the unique soap brand and spreading a quasi-religious mission of love; a philosophy he shared with his father. For decades, he sought out inner city youth, singing and speaking with 7th and 8th graders across the country. He visited hospitals such as the Patch Adam's Gesundheit Institute, and did the same for the sick and infirm. He collected many humorous stories from his travels and the life and times of his father, a number of which are available here.
He had a breakthrough when his brother and business partner suggested they replace jojoba oil in the soap with a more sustainable product: hemp. He was initially opposed to the idea, not knowing much about the substance, but wanted to test the reaction of his distributors--so he phoned a number of them. Ralph was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reaction. This prodded him to not only approve of the changing the formula for the soap, but also to do more research on the topic. In time he became a staunch advocate for hemp, visiting conventions around the country, and meeting with numerous hemp leaders. Dr. Bronners is an importer of more than 20 tons of hemp oil per year from Canadian farmers.
They recently shared some of the benefits of using hemp oil-based soaps:
- Skin Renewal – Hemp oil is an abundant source of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to proper organ function and cellular renewal.
- Fights Cellulite – Hemp oil increases the blood circulation which helps to reduce sign of cellulite and varicose veins.
- Reduces wrinkles – Hemp oil smooths out the free radicals in the body which can help lead to a noticeable reduction of wrinkles.
- Soothes Psoriasis - Hemp oil prevents skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin thanks to the essential and non-essential amino acids that are present in abundance in the oil.
Ralph was also responsible for shepherding the company through a period in the 1990′s when the company was forced into bankruptcy. His guidance helped the company regain financial footing become a leader in progressive employee and business practices.
The subject of Sarah Lamm’s Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox film, Ralph was known for carrying out his father’s messages of hope for a unified world, for being a brave voice in the fight for hemp legalization, and a pioneering force of good in the world. He will be missed.