Cleanlogic Co-Founder’s Inspiration Comes From His Mom
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing a special Beacon Story featuring Isaac Shapiro, co-founder of Cleanlogic. Isaac’s mother, Bea, lost her vision at only seven years old but went on to become an entrepreneur and help others in the blind and visually impaired community through adaptive technology.
Husband and new father of a three-month-old, Isaac Shapiro, has been the chief executive officer and founder of IMS Trading, the parent company that owns Cleanlogic, for the last 20 years. Isaac’s inspiration for becoming a social entrepreneur is thanks to his mother, Beatriz, better known as Bea.
Bea was born and raised in Mexico and started losing her vision at seven years old, eventually diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Her entire family moved to New Mexico so she could attend a school for the blind, where she received mobility training and became a very independent person from a young age. Once she graduated from college, Bea was employed by the U.S. Military, becoming an operator for the White House and the Pentagon since she was highly skilled with technology. Later, Bea, her husband, and her children moved to Arizona, and she started volunteering for the Tucson Association for the Blind. From there, she trained students at the Association and built a $2 million assistive technology computer program for the blind and visually impaired community to obtain employment, working 80-90 hours a week to grow her business.
“My mom’s students became like family, and I watched them use adaptive technology to gain employment in the Tucson community,” says Isaac. “It was really inspiring to see that and watch my mom start a Foundation in Mexico as well. She has always been an extremely passionate person and has a huge impact on others.”
Bea then went on to work for the state of Arizona’s Rehabilitation Services Administration, where she is currently about to retire, working as a counselor for job placement. Bea’s life work has been dedicated to technology and advocating for the blind and visually impaired community’s independence.
Since Isaac often traveled with his mother while she worked, he was exposed to the blind and visually impaired community his entire life.
“When we’d walk to a restaurant or something in public, people would sometimes stare at my mom,” Isaac recalls. “Those were the times I remember thinking, oh, my mom is different. I always wondered why people would stare just because she has a white cane because, to me, there was nothing different about her. But that’s why now I’m so driven to create awareness and help people understand what blindness means.”
After high school, Isaac attended Arizona State University, double majoring in supply chain and marketing. Isaac knew he wanted to start his own business early on, just like his mom.
“I speak fluent Spanish, and I wanted to travel the world,” says Isaac. “But in college, recruiters told me I would have to stay in the U.S. and work my way up for five to ten years. I just got this itch and decided to do my own research on international business. So my senior year, I started my business and moved to Argentina.”
Eventually coming back to the U.S., in 2006, Isaac and his business partner, Mike Ghesser, came up with and launched Cleanlogic, a line of high-quality bath and skincare tools. At that time, the pink ribbon creating awareness for breast cancer was just started to boom, and other businesses were adopting their own give-back initiatives.
“I decided this is the time I’m going to do what I’ve been thinking about since I was a little kid watching my mom,” recalls Isaac. “I knew this is exactly how I’m going to help give back to the blind and visually impaired community.”
They started by first adding Braille to some of the Cleanlogic products, to call attention to the blind and visually impaired, and to help individuals lead a more independent life, coining the mission, “Brands with Braille.” In March 2021, Cleanlogic underwent a rebrand on its packaging, and now it is more sustainable, being made from paper instead of plastic. And with this change, Braille can easily be printed on all the Cleanlogic packaging.
“Other industry leaders questioned why we would spend so much time and effort into adding Braille to our packaging when the community is so small and only 12% of the blind and visually impaired even read Braille,” says Isaac. “I always respond that I’m doing it to call attention to the community. We’re creating that conversation when someone sees the Braille or for someone that has vision loss, they may not even know our name, but they get excited that a brand is thinking about them.”
Historically, the body care industry has been inaccessible for the blind and visually impaired, but now more brands are starting to think about accessibility and finally be more inclusive, and Cleanlogic is leading the way.
All Cleanlogic products are made in the U.S., which also helps to reduce their carbon footprint and goes along with their core belief of “doing the right thing.” Cleanlogic is the only bath and body accessory brand in the world that is Control Union Certified.
“Sustainability is such an important part of our growth too, and we are constantly looking at new ways to develop even more sustainable products,” says Isaac. “Since we own our factories, we’re able to make this a core part of our mission and be completely transparent with our audience.”
Another way Cleanlogic is helping the blind and visually impaired community is by recruiting and providing opportunities in the workforce for blind and visually impaired employees. Cleanlogic recently opened up a facility in Pennsylvania, partnering with the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia to train and hire older students.
“From being in this business for over 20 years, I’ve learned we have to change people’s mindsets to understand someone with vision loss is just as capable as someone with their sight,” says Isaac. “Society is moving in the right direction to finally help those with disabilities gain that confidence to enter the workforce. I just want to help give them the opportunities to succeed and give them hope to dream big.”
Cleanlogic’s Inspiration Foundation was created in 2006 to provide technology for those with vision loss as well as award grants to other blind and visually impaired nonprofits, focusing on his mom’s passion for using adaptive technology. They started looking for individuals to help in California and Arizona but found it challenging to get connected with individuals that needed help. So, Isaac joined and started working with VisionServe Alliance, a leadership collective of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life with and for people with vision loss. They shifted their original idea and decided to donate to VisionServe to give grants to agencies providing adaptive technology training. Over the last 16 years, IMS Trading has given over 70 grants and gained 35 Foundational partnerships.
In addition, Cleanlogic is also giving back through partnerships in local communities. In October 2021, Cleanlogic hosted its first Blindness Awareness Month event in San Antonio, Texas. Cleanlogic donated $30,000 to the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind by purchasing their products from H-E-B stores across. The goal of this partnership was to recognize and support the blind and visually impaired community and also acknowledge that 70% are unemployed. This promotion not only raised awareness of this important cause, but it helped to fund the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind's Children's Tech Education program.
“This type of partnership really helps to create conversation in the community and even get community leaders involved,” says Isaac. “The fact that we were able to bring together great organizations and create excitement in the community like this, now we feel like we can roll this type of partnership out nationwide to grow even more awareness and funds for the blind and visually impaired. I’m happy that I’ve been able to use Cleanlogic to focus on my mom’s passions and hope that I can create a better world and future.”
Cleanlogic is partnering with the Foundation Fighting Blindness! Use the discount code FFB10 at checkout to get 10% off your purchase, with 10% of the total sale going directly to the Foundation. Shop at: cleanlogic.com