Think back to when you were about 10 years old. Like most kids, you likely had the foresight and motivation to finish your chores and complete your homework, and you may have even dabbled in crafts, sports, or extracurricular activities on the side. In 2013, Sisters Isabel and Caroline Bercaw were doing the same thing, only their adventures in making and selling bath bomb at the local art fair ballooned into a multi-million dollar business before they were even old enough to drive.
The Impetus to Make and Sell Their Own
“When we were younger, we loved using bath bombs, but most of the ones we were buying had over a dozen ingredients and thick, greasy additives. They left a lot of gross residue in the tub, and we felt dirtier after our bath was finished," Isabel told SWAAY. “So, we set out to create bath bombs that were simpler, and had just the right balance of color, fragrance and moisturizing oils."
Today, Da Bomb Bath Fizzers are sold at over 5000 stores around the USA, including Target, with a projected growth of 500 percent over last year's revenue. They've also got 150 employees — including their CEO mom, Kim Bercaw, and CFO/COO dad, Ben Bercaw — and have 30 SKUs with plans to expand the line in 2018.
Isabel and Caroline Bercaw.
In addition to being made with simple ingredients, part of the reason why Da Bomb Bath Fizzers have been so well received is because of their playful packaging and product titles.
For example, there's the “F" Bomb, Galaxy Bomb (which creates very Instagrammable black bath water), the Earth Bomb (which donates partial proceeds to ocean protection organizations), and Cake Bomb (made with sprinkles). Also, each bomb comes with a kinder surprise, to add an additional “element of fun" to bath time.
“When we were initially thinking about our package design, we decided to go with black because we thought the black would offset the bright, bold colors of our bath bombs," explained Caroline. “We hired a designer to bring our ideas to life. Beautiful, well-designed packaging was one of the first ways we reinvested in the business; that decision really paid off."
Organic Growth and Funding
Speaking of investing, what's even more impressive about this story is that the sisters haven't purchased any paid ads to promote their business. Da Bomb Bath Fizzers have grown so quickly on their own that they haven't had any need to formally advertise.
Instead, they've used Instagram and Etsy as platforms to spread brand awareness. Word of mouth has also played a big role in their success. And, they're completely self-funded, a fact they're very proud of.
“We've been really smart about putting money back into the business in order to grow it. We jokingly call this our 'accidental' business, because in the beginning we only thought of it as a hobby. We never had any idea it would become as big as it has. We kept getting more and more opportunities and we kept saying yes."
Caroline added, “Our success has been a collection of thousands of small steps — mostly forward and some backward — that has brought us to where we are today. We've worked really hard, and we were so lucky we created a product that people love."
The Bercaw sisters say that what helps maintain momentum is taking time for themselves, which includes family bonding, unplugging, and traveling. When it comes to work, they've carved out time after school to focus on their business, and use these hours to address business tasks, talk innovation, and harness their upward trajectory.
Right now, they're working on a bath bomb recipe book, due out summer 2018, and have plans to create new products and expand into an international market.
WRITTEN BYWendy Rose Gould