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From Soap & Candles to Largest Consumer Company in the World

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Thursday, July 19th, 2018

From Soap & Candles to Largest Consumer Company in the World

The history of one of the most well-known companies in the world began when two immigrants met by chance. William Procter, a candle maker from England, and James Gamble, a soap maker from Ireland, both emigrated from the United Kingdom and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. They met only because their wives happened to be sisters. Their new father-in-law convinced the two of them to become business partners, and in 1837 Procter and Gamble was born.

Cincinnati was an influential location for their business. As a meat packing hub, the area offered plenty of fat and oil for soap and candle making. By 1859, the company’s sales had already reached $1 million and 80 workers were employed. Both William Procter and James Gamble lived just long enough to see the first major advertising campaign for a P&G product—the introduction of a new soap that floats—Ivory Soap.

The two generations following William Procter served as presidents and CEOs and continued the company’s tradition and business philosophy based on product quality, value and fair treatment of customers, suppliers and employees.

As the company continued to grow, they were forced to expand to other locations in the United States since they had outgrown their Cincinnati facilities. In the 1920’s as radio began to gain popularity, P&G sponsored several radio programs, and as a result the shows became commonly known as “soap operas”.

They quickly grew to international expansion, adding new products such as Tide Laundry Detergent, Prell Shampoo and the first fluoride toothpaste, Crest.

Today, P&G is ranked as one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” and the company is praised for the diversity of their board of directors. Five of the company’s eleven directors are female and have been on Fortune’s annual Most Powerful Women list. William Procter and James Gamble’s emphasis on product innovation, value and fairness still holds true to this day.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2018 at 4:51 pm and is filed under Cosmetic Leaders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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