COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Caroline & Isabel Bercaw, founders of Da Bomb Bath Fizzers

As an entrepreneur, I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and reading entrepreneurial articles, mostly because I love soaking up knowledge which besides the fact that it’s opening a brand new perspective, it makes me feel less alone in my struggle when the lows hit. Entrepreneurship is not for the weak of heart and so it’s always comforting when you read stories on how someone else is dealing with failure, how they turn it into a success and what they do to brush off rejection. Few months ago, I was going through my emails and was lagging behind my reading list, which for some reason for me is a super stressful ordeal, to have an inbox full of unread emails makes me super anxious, when I stumbled upon an article bearing the titleHow These Teen Sisters Make $20 Million a Year on Bath Bombs”. That was it, my interest was immediately piqued. I thought to myself, how the hell two teenagers deal with so much stress. I mean here I am, a 32 year old woman and even I sometime get crushed under the pressure and believe me, I have plenty of experience dealing with all sorts of rejection. I was impressed. 

Caroline and Isabel Bercaw were only 11 and 12 years old when they started experimenting with making bath bombs to heal and soothe their sore muscles after intense sports sessions. As athletes they were using a variety of bath bombs, but weren’t happy with neither one, as they had to shower again after taking the bath and the bath bombs often left stains across their bathtub. So they decided to make their own more sustainable version. They borrowed 150$ from their mother and started experimenting and a year later Da Bomb Fizzers was born. Fast forward 6 years later, the company is making more than 20million dollars a year, employs 230 people and donates more than 150.000 dollars into an organization called The Water Project, a non-profit that builds clean water systems and latrines in Africa. And if you’re not impressed by now, then enlightening phrases like ‘Stay humble during the highs and stay hopeful during the lows’ will definitely nudge you towards that direction. Coming from a 16 and a 17 year old, it’s incredible how wise these two girls sound for their age. And they say the future is grim. If you ask me, the future couldn’t be more brighter if you have youth like these two. If you haven’t noticed by now, these two have turned into personal idols of mine. So for this installment of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir, Caroline and Isabel Bercaw share their wisdom on all things business, what they do to deal with the pressure and their secret sauce of what it takes to run a multi million dollar venture while still being teens. Read on to find more about their unbelievable entrepreneurial journey.

BASTET NOIR: If you had to pick 5 words to describe each other, what would they be?

ISABEL: I would describe Caroline as: methodical, hilarious, logical, contributive and spicy.

CAROLINE: 5 words that describe Isabel are: authentic, driven, confident, direct, and sometimes a little goofy. ;)

BASTET NOIR: Being a teenager is super hard while trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do and we can only imagine how much harder it gets when you’re running a multi million dollar business on top of that. But you two make it look so easy. Any tips on how you’re managing to juggle life and business?

ISABEL: My biggest tip would have to be to put your authentic self into what you’re doing. When you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and true to yourself when building your business, it won’t be so difficult to be constantly working, because your work will become a part of you.

CAROLINE: I’m constantly working to find a balance. It’s been one of the biggest challenges that has come with the business. However, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to work with my high school and find some flexibility in my schedule that allows me to be at the office each day. I currently get out a few hours early, and I take a class called “On the Job” which gives me credit for working. I think having a strong support system is super important because ultimately, that support system is going to be there for you no matter what. I’ve found this in my family, and I know none of this would be possible without them.

BASTET NOIR: What does a morning look like for busy bees like yourselves?

ISABEL: I schedule my courses in the morning so I can get them over with early and have some time afterwards to get my day planned out. My study breaks usually involve answering emails and calling my sister to plan upcoming interviews, photoshoots and meetings. She also keeps me in the loop with the day to day happenings in the office when I don’t have a chance to come in. Luckily my college is only about 25 minutes from my office, so I can come in if my schedule allows. After I finish up my work for the day I’ll squeeze in some more studying and maybe a boxing or cardio session to keep my stress levels under control. It’s all about finding a balance and being flexible with the days unplanned mishaps/ events.

CAROLINE: I’m constantly working to find a balance. It’s been one of the biggest challenges that has come with the business. However, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to work with my high school and find some flexibility in my schedule that allows me to be at the office each day. I currently get out a few hours early, and I take a class called “On the Job” which gives me credit for working. I think having a strong support system is super important because ultimately, that support system is going to be there for you no matter what. I’ve found this in my family, and I know none of this would be possible without them.

BASTET NOIR: Tell us a bit more about how your business came to be and what it took to build it up from the ground up? Are there any milestones you’re most proud of?

ISABEL: The business originally started with Caroline and I making bath bombs for ourselves to heal our muscles after intense sports sessions. We were competitive figure skaters, played soccer every week during the summer and participated in our school’s track and field program. After these sports, we would take baths to cure our soreness, however after using other companies bath bombs, we realized there was a void in the market for bath bombs that didn’t cause you to have to shower after you bathed. because of all the extra grimey and sticky ingredients, we were often left caked in oil or scrubbing pigment out of the tub after our baths. We did some research, formulated our own products, and decided to add a surprise to the middle of each fizzer. After gifting our products to some friends and hearing positive feedback, we decided we wanted to reach more people with our recipe. The summer of 2014 we decided to borrow 150 dollars from our mom (thanks mom!), spend our free time making bath bombs and rent a booth for the weekend at a local art fair in our hometown of Minneapolis, where we could share our products with anyone who saw our booth. The art fair went so well that year, we decided to participate the next year, and were lucky enough to meet the very first person to carry our products in a retail location. The next couple months, us and our family got together and realized that our hobby had the potential to grow into a real business. With guidance from our parents, we refined our recipe and began reaching out to more and more stores across the Twin Cities. Since we made the decision to actively grow the business, we’ve gotten our products into over 25,000 retail locations across the US, including Target, Ulta and CVS. We now own a warehouse where we produce over 30,000 bath bombs per day, and both our parents are employed by the business, as well as over 230 people during peak season. There’s no question that we couldn’t have done it without the help of our parents, employees and fellow entrepreneurs. It’s really crazy how supportive people were in the beginning and we’re so thankful for everyone who’s believed in our business.

CAROLINE: Everything Isabel said! Our story is the same because we’ve both experienced the same journey. However, a particular milestone that had a big impact on me was the honor of us being included in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019. I remember it was in the morning while I was still asleep and my entire family ran into my room and started freaking out. I sort of thought the house was on fire but then I realized we had just received an email sharing the news. After that I woke up pretty fast. Over the next few days and even weeks, everyone at school was congratulating us. It was a surreal experience.

BASTET NOIR: How do you see yourselves in five years from now? Any causes you’d like to dedicate your time to or you wish your business could support?

ISABEL: It’s difficult to say what the future holds, because if you would’ve asked me that five years ago I wouldn’t have envisioned accomplishing all that I have today. I’m very proud of myself for persisting and I think no matter what I do with my life, the business’ impact on my life will follow me.

I think an important part of having a business is to use your impact and influence for something good. I’m happy to say that Da Bomb Bath has donated over 150,000 dollars to organizations that clean up our oceans and provide drinkable water to schools and villages in Africa. I’m going to make a commitment to continue supporting organizations like these in the future.

Isabel and Caroline Bercaw, founders of Da Bomb Fizzers wearing custom-made Bastet Noir dresses
Isabel & Caroline Bercaw wearing the Awinita Dress and the black smocking dress custom-made for them

CAROLINE: 5 Years from now I see myself doing what I love. That could be working for Da Bomb, and it could be doing something completely different. We started this business at such a young age and we never anticipated that it would grow to what it is today. But I think it’s safe to say whatever I’m doing, I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned from the business to my life. When I think about doing something I love, I think about giving back. We work with a really special organization called The Water Project. They are a non-profit that builds clean water systems and latrines in Africa. We have worked with them closely and they tell us exactly where our donations are going. It’s pretty amazing because we can actually see photos of the people we’ve served. My goal is to keep working with them in whatever way I can.

BASTET NOIR: What does success mean to you?

ISABEL: Success is absolutely defined differently by each individual. To me, I feel successful when I take time to reflect on how far I’ve come as a young business owner. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and sometimes the build-up of small failures can become discouraging. As much as I’m all for living in the present, I think it’s healthy to reflect on how much you’ve grown overtime and use that growth as encouragement and motivation for the future.

CAROLINE: Success means feeling whole and content with your accomplishments. It means feeling like you’ve made a positive impact in the world and that you’ve done your part while staying true to yourself.

BASTET NOIR: Three things you wish you knew before starting out…

ISABEL: 1. Finding a balance between work and life (and school in my case) is going to be difficult. Put yourself into your work and do something you love. This will make things easier in the long run. For example, I’m passionate about bath bombs, however I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat, sleep, breath, toilet paper. Working hard on my bath bomb company is easier for me than it would be for me to sell toilet paper.

2. Making the most of your chill time is key because for an entrepreneur, those moments are far and few in between. To relax, I really like to meditate, stretch or… you guessed it, take a bath!

3. In order to start a business, you don’t need a college degree or prior business knowledge. Although these things may be helpful, the most important quality to possess is curiosity. When you mix curiosity and passion, you become unstoppable!

CAROLINE: 1. There’s more hard work involved than you ever could have imagined, but it’s SO worth it.

2. There’s always more to learn.

3. Don’t be afraid to speak up about something you believe in.

BASTET NOIR: Biggest failure in life and what you’ve learnt from it?

ISABEL: Accumulatively, from all my failures, I’ve learned that there’s always a solution to your problem if you work hard enough towards solving it.

CAROLINE: I’ve learned that there are always going to be ups and downs but it’s important to stay humble during the highs and stay hopeful during the lows.

BASTET NOIR: Favorite female empowerment speech

ISABEL: My favorite female empowerment piece is actually a movie called “Joy”. It’s about a woman named Joy who invented a new mop and a company tries to steal her idea, but then she finds a clause in her contract that saves the day. My favorite part about the movie is the fact that she’s entirely self-made and doesn’t even have a crazy business background. She’s super passionate and eventually succeeds and it’s truly inspiring.

JOY, the movie

CAROLINE: I’m so inspired by young people that stand up for what they believe in. An example of this is Greta Thunberg. The impact she’s having on our environment is astounding! Did I mention she just turned 17? Although she’s young, she doesn’t let age define her experience and instead, is inspiring people of all ages around the world.

Greta Thunberg speech at the UN Climate Change

BASTET NOIR:What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?

ISABEL: I currently have the Awinita Dress in my Bastet Noir cart, in an emerald green color. I’m absolutely obsessed with the cut and it’s so cool that you can customize the dress to fit you perfectly. I always have trouble finding high quality, well fitting clothes for meetings, business dinners or even just for going out with my friends or family. Anytime I can guarantee a tailored piece I get super jazzed.

CAROLINE: I have the black Smocking Dress in my cart. Black is my go to color. It’s classy and it goes with anything. I love the flattering fit and flare style of the dress. As a co-founder of a business, I attend a lot of meetings. Something I’ve learned along the way is how confidence plays an important role in these meetings. When I’m confident, I am able to perform and pitch at my best.

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