Determined to establish a more sustainable, healthy and overall zero-waste lifestyle, Texas State student Marcie Sobol took her passion for making organic zero waste soaps and shaped it into a profitable business.
In July, Marcie Sobol, an economics senior, launched her small business, Sustainable Cowgirl, in pursuit of helping herself and others live a more sustainable, organic life.
The name Sustainable Cowgirl is a representation of the sustainable life Marcie Sobol is pursuing, along with the celebration of her small-town Texas roots.
The brand offers a variety of soap scents such as peach poppy, coffee coconut, activated charcoal eucalyptus and tea tree, which can all be found on its Etsy shop.
In addition to being organically crafted, all products from Sustainable Cowgirl are 100% cruelty-free, palm oil-free, free of sulfates and parabens and packaged with zero-waste materials.
“By doing [zero-waste packaging] I’m saving so much plastic just for myself, and selling it to other people basically does the same thing," Marcie Sobol said. “I think that it's therapeutic for me, knowing that I’m doing something different, you know, reducing my plastic use."
Marcie Sobol is working on extending her product line to include shampoo, conditioner and lotion bars, all of which will help extend her reach into making a change for zero waste.
Starting a business as a full-time college student can seem daunting; however, she welcomed the challenge. She scoured the internet, and in due time, with the help of YouTube and other sources, taught herself how to make organic soaps. She says she became interested in soap-making after wanting to become more aware of the products and ingredients she used on her body.
However, creating sustainable, organic soap has not been an overnight success. Marcie Sobol says starting a business comes with unavoidable risk factors such as money, time and mistakes.
“There’s so much trial and error that goes into making a business," Marcie Sobol said. "You spend all this money, and it's like you don’t know what's going to happen."
Despite the uncertainty that comes with starting a business, Marcie Sobol's mission to help others become environmentally friendly is something of value and a commonality she shares with her sister, who owns the vintage store Mantra Materials.
“She just came over to my house one day with all of the ingredients and started whipping it up in my kitchen,” said Maddie Sobol, sister of Marcie Sobol and a Texas State alumna.
After finding out her sister had dreams of starting her own small business, Maddie Sobol encouraged her sister to establish a plan and remain strong through all the ups and downs. She says it has been enjoyable to watch her little sister pursue her dream.
“She was always trying to really find herself,” Maddie Sobol said. “And I think that Sustainable Cowgirl has been helping her build the community that she's been looking for.”
This journey to help others become environmentally aware has helped Marcie Sobol find a community and attract customers with 100% organic ingredients and her zero-waste brand.
“Marcie takes her time and makes [the soaps] very well, which is special to me because I love supporting people’s passions,” Olivia Maxwell, a computer information science junior and day-one customer said.
Maxwell says she prefers Sustainable Cowgirl to big corporation brands because of the products' more personable presentation and how fresh the soaps are.
With plans to expand her business, Marcie Sobol encourages other young college students to go after their own dreams.
“It’s definitely not easy, and there is going to be a lot of trial and error where you just wanna quit,” Marcie Sobol said. “But don’t because it's really worth it, in the end, to see random people buying your soap.”