Raw Sugar Living is a natural, personal care brand that pairs ColdPress Technology with integrity and kindness to create pure products for a positive purpose. Brought together by a shared belief in doing good, life duo and co-founders Ronnie Shugar and Donda Mullis’ common goal of inspiring a sweeter world prompted the birth of the revolutionary beauty brand with an aim to create real change — one product at a time. I sat down with Raw Sugar’s Co-Founder, Ronnie Shugar, to get his thoughts on how to build a lasting and impactful brand.
Let inspiration guide the way:
Our product line was inspired by something so profoundly simple: love. It was from the love we share, as partners in both business and in life, and the message of self-love we meticulously communicate to consumers, whether it’s through our natural product ingredients, our packaging designs, or our philanthropic cause. It’s this love-based inspiration that has allowed us to reach the milestone of donating 1 Million bars of soap to families in need.
Take risks and invest in goals that span beyond short-term ROI:
Entrepreneurship involves adventures, risks and challenges — and we welcome them. Look at our business model, and you’ll see it ‘goes against the grain’, which naturally brings its own obstacles. While many companies opted for short-term online retail strategies, we leveraged a long-term brick-and-mortar business strategy in order to rebirth the consumer in-store shopping experience and organically build an authentic brand community there. It takes time to invest authentically and to make a difference — but it’s worth the wait and celebration.
Instill your mission and purpose into every aspect of company culture:
We champion a company culture of excellence, performance, integrity and kindness, and consistently demonstrate them through our words and actions. These standards guide every aspect of our business — from product development/testing, to business operations, to partner/employee relationships — and always through a lens of accountability and responsibility. Whether it be the donation of a bar of soap for every product sold or celebrating our milestone donation of 1 Million Bars of Soap with the Union Rescue Mission in Downtown LA, our Raw Sugar family lives and breathes our mission, every single day.
Grow steadily, not speedily:
Believing that less is more, we’ve structured our business model to sustain growth and maintain profit margins, without compromising brand quality. We don’t want to immediately ‘take over the world’ of beauty care; rather, we’re strategically growing the brand outside of Target and methodically expanding our benefits program to only exclusive retail partners and avenues in “Best in Class” categories.
Focus on your strengths:
We all have certain aspects of business to which we excel, and other stuff that we just figure out; even through failure we learn the biggest lessons. There is often never a perfect “right answer” — so take action with confidence.
Raw Sugar’s core belief is that all persons have the right to clean, healthy living at an affordable price. “We believe that feeling beautiful is being beautiful. It’s really the heart of our story,” says Mullis.
The company’s accomplishments over the past three years include donating over 1.5 million bars of soap to families in need last year. “This donation has been so incredible for us to recognize and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with our Los Angeles community at the Downtown LA Union Rescue Mission and continuing to connect with families and organizations that Raw Sugar can support,” says Mullis.
The founders of Raw Sugar are also thrilled to announce their recent nomination for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Ernst & Young nomination has been a huge milestone, primarily because it’s a platform that recognizes innovation as an agent of change. “For us, entrepreneurism is all about giving back and doing good. We’re looking forward for what’s to come!” says Mullis.