The why of Alepp.
Alepp is the simplest thing in the world — a bar of soap that is gentle on your body, reduces plastic packaging and has a positive community impact. But Alepp’s vision? Boy is it big! We want to bring good to the world — not such a big ask, huh? To flesh out the vision, we came up with a manifesto that will help us stick to our vision:
• we are here to do good
• with natural things of beauty
• to reduce unnecessary waste
• in support of asylum seekers and refugees
The concept for Alepp was created during the long lockdown nights of the 2020 pandemic. The idea had been bubbling along as we grappled with two problems - the annoying waste of body wash plastic bottles and how to easily find the traditional Syrian Aleppo Soap that is so good for sensitive skin.
Why had bar soap had gone out of fashion and how did we so easily replace it with something that caused so much environmental damage – single use pump bottles of bodywash. If bar soap had been good enough for our parents and grandparents, why did we move to such an environmentally damaging plastic pump bottles?
Cleaning our skin is pretty simple.
Why did we make it so complicated?
So we got to work to try to understand why, and in all our research we couldn’t find a compelling reason why we should use body wash plastic pump packs in the shower. We surveyed our friends and family to find out more and were surprised to learn that while 24 per cent used a plastic pump pack in the shower - 52 per cent used bar soap! This told us that the barriers to bar soap use weren’t as high as we thought and it might not be such a big job to switch people over to a natural alternative.
We then started to think about how Alepp could have a have a positive social impact. After a lot of research and soul searching we decided to set up Alepp as a social enterprise with the purpose of supporting vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees. This means that all profits from the company will go to organisations that offer programs to this community. This has a connection with the soap as Syria has been catastrophically affected by war, particularly in Aleppo (where the soap is traditionally made). It is estimated that since the war, 6.6 million out of 11 million Syrians have fled their country to seek asylum elsewhere. This issue had come to our attention after our founder spent a year volunteering at the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre in her hometown of Melbourne.
We also made a conscious decision to source the soap directly from Syria to support the struggling Aleppo soap industry there. Most soap makers in Syria have fled to Turkish border areas where it is safer to operate. But this means that there are dwindling numbers of traditional family run businesses that have generations of history in Aleppo.
When we started to think about Alepp, we started with the ‘why’. This conversation helped us develop Alepp’s vision to bring good to the world. It will be our north star, driving our decisions and keeping us focussed on the things that matter.
Alepp is an amazing product that reduces our environmental impact, helps our most vulnerable members of our community and supports a struggling industry.
This is the ‘why’ of Alepp.