College Trip to Peru Sparks World-Changing Nebraska Soap Business

Six years ago, Andrew Vrbas was a budget-strapped college student making soap in his college apartment. He had an idea for a business that would help change the lives of people around the world.

After just five years in business, his Pacha Soap Co™ enterprise is already doing that.


You can buy Pacha soap simply because you need a bar of soap. Some customers do just that.

But, the team at Pacha Soap Co. ™ wants you to know the rest of the story.

Pacha Soap Co. ™ produces natural soap and experiential bath products in its downtown Hastings, Nebraska, shop. It uses premium plant and essential oils; and each batch, from bars to bath soaks, is handcrafted.


When barriers to market entry are lower and competition is higher, building a brand—not just a product—is key to survival. Brand building done right can be the secret sauce for long-term success and a magnet for VCs. In this session, we’ll explore how brands that sit at the heart of a company become true catalysts for innovation. From connecting your offer with consumers to attracting top talent, we’ll look at how building a brand can help you shine in this crowded startup nation.


Andrew Vrbas

CEO and Co-Founder of Pacha Soap Company

Andrew Vrbas has lived the start-up lifestyle and guided others to do the same for more than 5 years. He was inspired to found Pacha Soap Co. after volunteering as a teacher in Peru and learning about the need for sanitation education and better economic opportunities in the country. He knew soap was the answer and went on to teach himself soap making in his college dorm room to be sold at farmers markets. His passion to help led Andrew and his wife Abi to start the company, which now employs 40+ team members who handcraft premium bath products sold in 750 stores across the U.S. and Canada, including Whole Foods Market. Pacha is also a leader in social entrepreneurship and has helped over 235 entrepreneurs start their own businesses in countries like Peru and Burundi, Africa. Andrew has helped these soap makers utilize local ingredients and labor to provide sustainable careers, soap and hand washing education for their fellow countrymen.


Startups & Brands are more than what they say, they are what they #MakeDoSay.

Download the Worksheet from the SXSW presentation featuring Maria Pazos, strategy director at Colle McVoy, and Andrew Vrbas, our founder of Pacha Soap Co. here.