We're celebrating our 20th anniversary this year! Bramble Berry Founder and CEO Anne-Marie opened the company in 1999. She put $15,000 on a credit card to buy a pallet of melt and pour, 5 fragrances, and a handful of soap molds.
From the start, Anne-Marie's goal was to support and empower makers and female entrepreneurs. During the first year, Bramble Berry moved from a 400 square foot warehouse to an 800 square foot warehouse. Back then, Anne-Marie did everything from answering the phones to packing orders.
"It was in the basement of a downtown Bellingham building, so everything had to be carried up and down the stairs," she said.
The business grossed about $70,000 the first year, so Anne-Marie continued to sell soap at craft fairs to make ends meet. The business grew each year, so she started hiring employees to help with the workload. In 2004, Bramble Berry moved to a new warehouse. Despite the growth and Anne-Marie’s ever-present optimism, the company went into debt. She hired a business coach and sought out mentors to help the company get back on its feet.
In 2006, Anne-Marie started the Soap Queen blog. What started as a personal blog turned into a source of inspiration with hundreds of DIY bath and body tutorials, tips, and small business advice. You can now find those resources on the Bramble Berry website. The Bramble Berry team is constantly formulating new recipes and ideas and sharing what they learn with customers. We wanted to create new recipe videos as well, which is why Bramble Berry started a YouTube channel in 2009 called Soap Queen TV. It has hundreds of videos and more than 300,000 subscribers.
In the next few years, Bramble Berry started more social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Anne-Marie wanted to connect with fellow makers so she could share her love of DIY. Our social media platforms are now a bustling online community where people share their creations and ask for advice.
Bramble Berry is continuing to grow and change. We now have 60,000+ customers and more than 90 employees in several Whatcom County, WA locations. In 2019, we launched a new website. It includes resources, supplies, and all-inclusive DIY kits to help customers get creative. We’re launching new and exciting collections with products that are thoroughly tested by experts.
Anne-Marie is excited for what the future holds. Soap will always be her first love, but she also enjoys exploring all things DIY and share that with customers. Right now we're working on kits and candle making.
"Creativity is essential and we want to expand on that," she said. "Our customer base is full of people who make candles, roast their own coffee beans, make their own kombucha. We want to grow creatively along with them."
Thank you for your support and feedback over the past 20 years. We wouldn't be here without our amazing customers - we can't wait to grow with you in the next 20 years.
We have fun plans for our 20th anniversary, including giveaways, new products, and more behind-the-scenes content. Check back here for updates!