‘Tis the Season For Giving

Hello all!  As we enter this hectic holiday season we wanted to take a moment and share a little bit about a charity that is helping those who are less fortunate than us.


Charity: water  is a non-profit organization that is on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet.  Clean water is such a routine part of our lives.  Few of us have ever been truly thirsty or had to leave our home for clean drinking water.  But more than 10% of the people on this planet don’t have easy access to safe, clean water.  In fact, many people have to spend several hours a day walking miles just to get water that is neither clean nor safe.  The impact this has on individuals as well as local and regional societies cannot be overstated.

Here are a couple quick facts that should blow your mind and break your heart:

1.  Disease from unsafe water and lack of sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.

2. Of the 30,000 deaths that occur every WEEK from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions, 90% are children under the age of 5

3. In Africa alone, 40 billion hours are spent walking for water every year.  This burden fall disproportionately on women and children.

If these facts don’t touch you in some way then you may need to check your pulse ( he writes in his least judgiest tone )!

Here are a few more facts that give me hope that the problem can be fixed and make me believe that charity:water is part of the solution!

1.  Improving access to clean water allows communities to establish a secure and local food supply.  Self-sufficient homes and communities are less affected by famine, conflict or inadequate government services.

2. Since most of the water carrying responsibilities fall to women and young girls, a local water project can increase the times that girls can get an education and women can earn extra income.

3.  100% of donations made by you to charity:water goes directly to water projects.  How do they pull this off?  Private donors fund all of charity:water’s  operating expenses.

If nothing else, our hope is that you will pause during this busy season and take a moment to appreciate how truly fortunate we are.  Whispering Willow will be donating 10% of our profits from 2013 to charity:water.  If you are able and willing to give a little something to those who are not as fortunate as us; then we encourage you to donate to charity:water .  100% of your donation will go to water projects.

May you and your family have a peaceful holiday season.

The Bearded Soap Guy

Getting Green With French Paper

Lately we’ve been getting in an eco groovy mood and have been looking through our ingredients and supplies to see if we can get a little greener.  This is a fun exercise we do several times a year because we just don’t think its a good idea to rest on our environmentally conscientious laurels.

So, you may be wondering what little gem our search uncovered?  Only a sixth-generation, family owned paper company that has been making paper in the USA for 140 years.  Hold on, it gets better!  In 1922 the French Paper company installed hydroelectric generators on the St. Joseph River which flows by their mills in Niles, Michigan.  Since that year, they have been generating all the power they needed, and a little extra for the rest of us!

Here is an old school post card with a pic of the French Paper mills next to the river


The environmental impact of producing all that power on site is huge.  They have saved the equivalent of one million barrels of fossil fuel and have avoided the release of more than 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere (the equivalent to the use of over 4,878,049 lbs of coal).  While we are big fans of carbon credits and support companies buying these to offset their carbon footprint, credits just can’t beat this type of onsite, renewable energy!  Way to go French Paper!


So you are probably reading this thinking, Wayne, this is really cool but what does a paper mill in Michigan have to do with  Whispering Willow , a little soap company in North Carolina. Well, it just so happens that we use thousands of sheets of paper annually labeling bar soap, neck & eye pillows and more.  So, in the coming weeks you will notice that the labels will look a little different.  We are transitioning to French Paper’s Speckletone kraft paper.   Speckletone is French Paper’s line of recycled paper which they have been making since 1955 (talk about being ahead of the trend)! Our labels will be a little lighter in color and you will see more natural flecks and shives.    We will also eventually start using French’s standard copy paper for our office use and are working on some ideas that may be perfect for some of French Paper’s other lines of great paper.

So this is how I (known for being a little wordy) like to announce that we are changing our paper supplier.  Whoever said ‘brevity is the soul of wit’, just didn’t get it!

Be Well,

The Bearded Soap Guy