Amy Ruble of Phoenix planned ahead, doing product and marketing research and making business decisions even before she and her husband Scott started to try to have a baby. She knew when she was a parent she would work and raise her without resorting to full-time daycare. She opened her business, Pink Bow Bath Boutique, six months before her son Brayden (2) was born.
Ruble researched the manufacture of homemade bath and body products online and tested various scents and combinations of ingredients for her products. She prefers sweet scents like cupcake, sugar, vanilla and chocolate.
She always had an interest in handmade lotions and soaps. When Ruble was 10 she made an oatmeal-banana facial mask after reading about it in a beauty magazine. She liked the homemade beauty tips she read about because the ingredients were in the kitchen and cost less than store-bought cosmetics.
Now Ruble sells products like Cupcake Exfoliating Goat’s Milk Soap, Tea Tree Bentonite Clay Facial Butter Bar and Shea, Sea Clay and Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Bar. She mixes the ingredients in a spare bathroom and her office is in the adjoining spare bedroom.
Ruble makes all her products at after sourcing the various lotion, soap and shampoo bases, fragrances and containers online. Brayden is active enough, and the business has grown enough, that Ruble sends him to a sitter twice a week for a few hours so she can fill orders on her Etsy.com store and her own website. “I appreciate working, that is my time and my creative outlet and when he is home I can solely focus on him without stressing out,” she says.
She is keeping her business manageable for now, not trying to grow it beyond her production capacity and her priority to spend time with her son. Currently she works about 12 hours a week and will increase that as Brayden goes to preschool and then elementary school.
Business has increased each month since she’s been open and she does make money. She thinks the recession makes her products inexpensive luxuries women can afford. “If you smell good, or your skin is soft, then you do feel like you carry yourself maybe a little bit differently with a positive outlook,” Ruble says.
Ruble doesn’t foresee opening a storefront, which would require her full-time presence. She prefers to just do her work and interact with customers online and at craft fairs. She credits the Internet with making her business possible, not only because it allows her to work at home without the overhead of a separate space but also because it’s invaluable to researching the many ingredients and processes that go into her products.
Ruble says the Internet also has made it easier to be a mom. She doesn’t have to put her son in the car seat when he doesn’t want to and drive with him to Target to get diapers or other daily necessities when she can order them online and have them delivered for less money and hassle. “Now I go to Target just as an excuse to go to Target,” she says.
Learn more about Pink Bow Bath Boutique.