When a pair of University of Florida student started working on Gator-themed soap bars, you might say they were trying to make a clean start.
After all, the soap, called Gator Glyss, is made from glycerin, which can be produced as the byproduct of the bio-diesel process. And even the fragrances used to scent the bars came from fruit peels recycled from Chick-fil-A on campus.
Concepcion and fellow student Eric Layton developed Gator Glyss while working on the UF Biodiesel project to create bio-diesel fuel from used cooking oil on campus. They used a collegiate identity on the soap and developed bars colored orange and blue, some cast in the shape of the Gator mascot.
The original goal of the project was to make UF sustainable and “close the loop of waste on campus,” says UF grad Telly Concepcion. “It’s basically the way of the future.”
While Layton later left to pursue research in solar energy, Concepcion stayed on, and he believes the business can be profitable if he can create a culture around the soap. His goal is to make it “the soap of The Gator Nation,” he says.
So far, he is enjoying some success. Over 1,000 bars of soap have been sold to local bookstores, and Concepcion looks to move the product into every area bookstore by August. Gator Glyss also is available in the Reitz Union Bookstore; Gator Haven, the largest gator store in the world; and Gators Plus on University Avenue.
Concepcion says Gator Glyss is different from standard soaps because glycerin is removed from most bars during production. Gator Glyss also contains aloe and vitamin E. Also, the website offers customers the option to personalize their soaps with their names.
In the future, Concepcion wants to use Gator Glyss to fund-raise for different causes. For now he aims to promote it by targeting alumni, fraternities and sororities and advertising at special events.
Eventually he wants the company to branch out to other universities, with product lines such as Bull Glyss for USF fans and Seminole Glyss for FSU students.