Joshua Onysko founder and CEO of Pangea Organics


Joshua Onysko of Pangea Organics

Through his stewardship, Pangea Organics became the first company to introduce (and be awarded for) biodegradable, compostable, plantable packaging; Facebook/Twitter on packaging; and origami fold packaging. His efforts and products have been lauded by Entrepreneur, O (The Oprah Magazine), Time Style & Design, among many other top tier media outlets.

To date, Onysko and Pangea’s efforts have been recognized in 53 notable awards since 2006, including: Entrepreneur of Distinction (Espirit) Award ’08, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 & 2008 (Rocky Mountain Regional Finalist in the category of Socially & Environmentally Responsible), Redbook’s 2007 MVP Beauty Awards (for Facial Creams, Facial Scrub and Facial Cleanser), Gala Spa Award (Germany), and the New Business Journal Business Achievement Award ’07 (in the category of Environmental & Sustainability). With his feet rooted on the ground and his head admirably in the clouds, Onysko is also a renowned sustainable eco-living speaker, and has been profiled in numerous leading print, online, radio and broadcast media outlets.

The Pangea Organics facial and body care collections – available in Whole Foods Market, independent spas, natural grocers and, and in the global markets of the United States, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines and Switzerland – includes lip balms, facial cleansers, facial toners, facial creams, facial mask, facial scrub, eye cream, balancing oil, bar soaps, body washes, foaming hand soaps, body lotions and body oils.

Onysko remains committed to creating products that are always organic, nurturing, handcrafted, fair-trade (whenever possible) and cruelty-free. The products are never made using petrochemicals, parabens, GMOs or other synthetic or harmful ingredients.

It was Pangea founder and CEO Joshua Onysko’s personal devotion and commitment to inspiring social sustainability that sparked the inception of Pangea Organics over eight years ago. He devised the selling of the highest quality organic, personal care products as a means to an even greater end. After seven years of traveling to the likes of India, Nepal, and Tibet, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Thailand, Onysko had an epiphany: He realized that corporations were inheriting the earth and that by leading by example there was potential to influence others to reconsider their ways. He shared with his friend Tom that he dreamed of starting an Institute to aid existing corporations in learning to become more socially responsible and environmentally sound and also to act as an incubator for start-ups. Tom looked at him and uttered those life-altering words: “You should start a soap company to fund the project and you should call it Pangea.” (If you remember, “Pangea” refers to the super continent, before Plate Tectonics divided the landmass into the seven continents of the world that exist today.) Two days later Onysko took these words to heart, literally. He up and moved to Boulder, Colorado, landed a job as a baker at Whole Foods, and made soap in his garage at night.

Onysko, who grew up in rural Rhode Island and dropped out of school at age nine to pursue an acting career, has always followed his heart and his passions. When he realized that he wanted to move to India he stopped at home to visit his parents first. There, he noticed a coffee table book of his mother’s—“Making Hand Made Soap.” As a bonding project, Onysko made soap with his mother. They distributed a few samples to friends and family and saved a few bars for Onysko and his travels. In Goa, Onysko realized he really liked the soap. He also started getting emails from people he had given the soap to, saying how much they liked it too, how it was clearing up their eczema, and doing great things for their complexions.

Pangea Organics is currently the largest cold-processed organic soap manufacturer in the US. In addition to bar soaps, the line also includes shower gels, liquid hand soaps, hand and body lotions, facial cleanser, facial toners, facial creams, facial mask, facial scrub and lip balms. Throughout Pangea’s growth, from its inception in 2000, Onysko, 32, has retained private ownership of his company, never straying from its vision: Ecocentric bodycare; always beneficial, never artificial. Onysko remains committed to creating products that are always organic, nurturing, handcrafted, fair-trade (whenever possible) and cruelty-free. To that end, Pangea Organics’ products are never made using petrochemicals, parabens, GMOs or other synthetic or harmful ingredients. Not only do Pangea’s ingredients begin to break down within 48 hours of use, but a generous portion of Pangea’s profits are helping to build the Pangea Institute, an emerging non-profit organization dedicated to researching and teaching all aspects of sustainable living and business practices. Pangea’s efforts have been recognized with 40 awards since 2006. Pangea’s products are crafted with deep knowledge, craftsmanship, and compassion and, as a result, are standouts in the natural products industry, providing excellence in content and quality at an affordable price point. Pangea’s number one goal is to create a new understanding of health and beauty. With this, Pangea hopes to reinvent the way we, as a society, nurture our bodies and raise the bar for other companies. What we consume today, directly impacts how we – and future generations – will live tomorrow.

Moving Organic Forward – Joshua Onysko of Pangea Organics