12 Mar 2019
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Acting Naturally

Creating natural products and caring for the environment

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Karina Birch (OPM 49, 2017) is CEO of Rocky Mountain Soap Company, based in Alberta, Canada. In this interview, she explains how the mission, culture, and products of her company are blended together.

“I was 24 years old and right out of university when I started Rocky Mountain Soap Company. At the time, it was [with] my now-husband (we weren't married at the time) and we bought it from a woman who had started it out of her home. It was very small, not making any money, and grew it into what it is today.

“The culture and the mission at Rocky Mountain Soap is the fabric and the heartbeat of what comes next in everything that we do. We have a very diverse group of people that we work with, because the business is complex. And somehow it all works, where everybody has bought into this common purpose of creating natural products and caring for the environment.

“We live in Canmore, Alberta. Canmore is this amazing, small, 15,000-person town nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. I'm constantly inspired by, first of all, all of the natural ingredients that are growing in the mountains. As well, we're constantly reminded that our environment is precious.

“Everything that we do in our business has an impact. So we're very conscious on our labels, and our packaging, and what we're doing for the people inside of Rocky Mountain Soap, in the communities that we exist in.

“We've gone to India and Africa and taught communities how to make soap. And part of that project and initiative is not just teaching them the fundamentals of soap-making, but asking these communities what it means for them to make a difference. And I mean, just asking that question can have a profound effect on how people view themselves and the world.”

(Published March 2019)

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Class of OPM 49
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