Bramble Berry Founder and CEO Anne-Marie Faiola has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. After an unsuccessful career in corrections, she took a chance and opened Bramble Berry in 1999. Anne-Marie put $15,000 on a credit card to buy a pallet of soap, 5 fragrances, and a handful of soap molds.
From the start, Anne-Marie loved helping female entrepreneurs. During the first year, Bramble Berry moved from a 400 square foot warehouse to an 800 square foot warehouse. The business only grossed about $70,000, so Anne-Marie continued to sell soap at craft fairs to make ends meet.
The business grew each year and Anne-Marie began 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 with hundreds of DIY bath and body tutorials, tips, and small business advice. Find that information In the Studio. The team is constantly experimenting to find the best formula and sharing what they learned with customers. That’s also why Bramble Berry started a YouTube channel in 2009 called Soap Queen TV. It now has hundreds of videos and more than 350,000 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 all things DIY.
She continues to teach people to this day. She has written 4 books - Soap Crafting, Pure Soapmaking, Milk Soaps, and Live Your Best Day Ever: 35 Strategies For Daily Success.
Anne-Marie is the recipient of several awards, including Small Business Person of the Year from the Washington State Small Business Association, Business Woman of the Year by the Washington State Women’s Business Owners Association, and a Best Boss in America as named by Fortune Small Business.
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 continuing to launch new and exciting collections with products that are thoroughly tested by experts.
For Anne-Marie, it’s still hard to believe all of this came from a dream to teach people to make soap.
“Running Bramble Berry has been a unique gift with many challenges but even more opportunities and joys,” she said. “Being self employed feels like a gift in and of itself and the ability to help other women entrepreneurs all over the world is a dream come true.”