Joshua discusses mistakes as a part of experiencing life, learning from your failures, the challenge of being a truly sustainable company in a competitive industry, and his desire to influence corporations to follow in Pangea’s people-oriented, sustainable path.
It was Pangea founder and CEO Joshua Onysko’s personal devotion and commitment to inspiring social sustainability that sparked the inception of Pangea Organics eight years ago. He devised the selling of the highest quality organic, personal care products as a means to an even greater end. After seven years of traveling to the likes of India, Nepal, and Tibet, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Thailand, Onysko had an epiphany: He realized that corporations were inheriting the earth and that by leading by example there was potential to influence others to reconsider their ways. He shared with his friend Tom that he dreamed of starting an Institute to aid existing corporations in learning to become more socially responsible and environmentally sound and also to act as an incubator for start-ups. Tom looked at him and uttered those life-altering words: “You should start a soap company to fund the project and you should call it Pangea.” Two days later Onysko took these words to heart, literally. He up and moved to Boulder, Colorado, landed a job as a baker at Whole Foods, and made soap in his garage at night. Onysko, who grew up in rural Rhode Island and dropped out of school at age nine to pursue an acting career, has always followed his heart and his passions. When he realized that he wanted to move to India he stopped at home to visit his parents first. There, he noticed a coffee table book of his mother’s—“Making Hand Made Soap.” As a bonding project, Onysko made soap with his mother. They distributed a few samples to friends and family and saved a few bars for Onysko and his travels. In Goa, Onysko realized he really liked the soap. He also started getting emails from people he had given the soap to, saying how much they liked it too, how it was clearing up their eczema, and doing great things for their complexions. Pangea Organics is currently the largest cold-processed organic soap manufacturer in the US. Throughout Pangea’s growth, from its inception in 2000, Onysko, 32, has retained private ownership of his company, never straying from its vision: Ecocentric bodycare; always beneficial, never artificial.
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