Robert R. Taylor, who took soap out of dishes, put it in pump bottles and forever changed the way people wash up, has died. He was 77.
Taylor’s family said Thursday the entrepreneur died of cancer Aug. 29 in Newport Beach.
Taylor created and sold more than a dozen businesses during his lifetime, including those that produced toothpaste, shampoos and popular fragrances.
Most well known among the latter was likely the Calvin Klein fragrance Obsession.
It was SoftSoap, however, that made his reputation as a business genius.
He came up with the marketing concept first. Then, through home experimentation and some trial and error, created the soap.
He planned to begin selling SoftSoap in 1980 through his small company, but realized that if it caught on, huge home products manufacturers would copy the idea and quickly put him out of business.
So he leveraged his company for every penny it was worth, $12 million, and bought 100 million little bottle hand-pumps from the only two U.S. manufacturers that made them. It created a back order so huge that the businesses couldn’t make pumps for anybody else for more than a year, giving Taylor’s brand time to become established.
In six months, he had sold $25 million worth of SoftSoap.The Associated Press