Joshua Onysko, Founder of Pangea Organics, Will Discuss Sustainable Business Models, Social Responsibility, and Eco-Sustainability
Joshua Onysko thinks the world would be a better place if people made more of an effort to listen, do more, and talk less. With that in mind, he will speak at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) about the concept, business model, and goals of his company Pangea Organics, manufacturer of natural skincare products, and the Pangea Institute, which he also founded. The event will take place on Monday, April 19, from 6:30 to 8 pm in FIT’s John E. Reeves Great Hall, 28th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.
Co-sponsored by FIT’s departments of Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, and International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries, the talk is free and open to the public.
Onysko, 32, is the founder and CEO of Pangea Organics, a decade-old maker of natural skincare products that are organic, handcrafted, and cruelty-free. Six years after he founded the company in 2000, Pangea Organics became the Number One organic skincare line in the U.S. Onysko’s unusual story begins at age 16 when he dropped out of high school to follow the Grateful Dead on tour. He subsequently traveled to Wyoming, the Yukon, Costa Rica, Nepal, India, Tibet, Kashmir, China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan, and then earned a GED degree. During a visit to the Angkor Wat ruins in Cambodia, Onysko conceived the idea for the Pangea Institute, a nonprofit organization that coaches corporate executives how to change their thinking – and maximize profits – by adopting the twin values of social responsibility and eco-sustainability. He decided to start a skincare company to underwrite the institute. Starting with soap made from organic ingredients, he added a shower gel to the line and purchased a makeshift factory in which he also lived. Working with West Coast-based design firm IDEO, Onysko expanded his skincare business and created the world’s first plantable packaging impregnated with seeds that sprout with watering and minimal care.
In 2005, his enterprise generated approximately $100,000 in sales. Today, Pangea Organics, with a staff of ten, produces more than $3 million in sales. The skincare line includes bar soaps, foaming hand soaps, body washes and lotions, a face mask, lip balms, a balancing oil, eye cream, and facial cleansers, scrubs, toners, and creams. Five percent of all product sales go to the Pangea Institute, which is now micro-financing agricultural cooperatives in the areas where the ingredients for Onysko’s products are cultivated. Recently, a reporter from USA Today asked Onysko, “What green thing do you do every day?” Onysko replied: “Think.” Students in FIT’s Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing program utilize the Annette Green Fragrance Foundation Studio, which is modeled on professional industry facilities and is the only fragrance lab in the U.S. located on a college campus. Courses in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing include cosmetics product knowledge, packaging design, chemistry for cosmetics and fragrance, and environmental fragrancing. Graduates receive a bachelor of science degree.
FIT’s curriculum in International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries offers courses in U.S. trade policies and world trade, international trade law, international marketing, import/export regulations, international logistics, global sourcing, and international management and finance.
The Fashion Institute of Technology is a selective college of art and design, business and technology of the State University of New York, with 44 majors leading to AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS degrees. FIT’s programs in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion Industries are the only ones of their kind in the country.