Introducing our Maker of the Month series! We're constantly inspired by the DIY bath and body community, so we want to showcase their talent here. We'll be featuring a different business owner or hobbyist each month. Learn more about how they got started creating, what inspires their work, and their advice for fellow makers. If you want a chance to be featured, share your photos with #BrambleOn!
For Michelle with BombShell Creations Soapery, making bath and body products is essential for her family's health. She first made oatmeal bath bombs to help with her son's severe eczema. Then, after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she quit her job to heal, spend time with her family, and learn everything she could about making bath products. Michelle now makes colorful and creative soaps, bath bombs, scrubs, and more. Get to know her below!
How long have you been making DIY bath and body products, and how did you get started? How long have you been selling your products?
My soaping journey all started 4.5 years ago, winter of 2015, because of my son's battle with severe eczema. He has had eczema since about 6 months old and still has it today (now my second born does as well). I bought every product imaginable on the shelf from cheap to outrageously expensive, I tried every tip and trick his doctor had given me - nothing worked for him. He would scratch and scratch and scratch to the point of extracting blood and I just couldn’t bear to watch my poor babe go through it anymore. So naturally, being the creative entrepreneurial person I am, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could make all-natural products for him.” I decided to start doing some research and came across Bramble Berry’s articles and Soap Queen TV. Instantly, I was hooked. My first product attempt for my son was an all-natural oatmeal bath bomb. I knew what was being put in the product and that it was all natural. No more yucky chemicals/detergents like in store-bought products to make his eczema flare. Let’s just say they became a regular in our household and I never stopped soaping!
This is also how my business name developed - Bomb because the first product I ever made was a bath bomb for my boy and Shell because my name is Michelle, BombShell Creations Soapery LLC.
I have been selling my products for 3.5 years. What started as a way to find relief for my baby quickly turned into my greatest passion and small business. Family and friends loved my products so much that they offered to purchase them. I couldn’t stop there - I was longing to learn and make more, but at this point of my life finding extra time was hard. I was running my small business as a hair stylist, working at a photography studio, baking as a side gig, and experiencing first-time mamahood - it was a lot.
Then February of 2016 arrived and the unexpected happened. I was diagnosed with cancer at 25 years young and underwent surgery May 31st, 2016 (4 years cancer free today 🤗). Between that time I made HUGE life changes. I decided to quit my salon and photography job to become a stay-at-home mom and focus on my child, my health, and my soaping. I told my man that soaping is what I’m meant to do, he agreed. Ever since, he has supported and helped push me in the right direction. Not being able to do much of anything for a while after my surgery, time opened up. I used this extra time and read every Bramble Berry article, watched every Soap Queen TV video, watched YouTube videos, read soap making books and business books - filling my head with all things soapy. After sometime healing, I quickly got into trying other products besides bath bombs, including melt and pour soap, whipped soap, whipped body butter, emulsified scrubs, sugar scrubs, lotion, lotion bars, lip balm, body wash, nail polish, candles, and more. Later in 2017, I finally opened my Etsy shop. I was selling on their platform and locally. Now, my Etsy shop is shut down and I am working on the finishing touches of my website!
What do you love most about making bath and body products?
What I love most about making bath and beauty products is the creativity it has allowed me to unleash, the happiness my creations bring me and my customers, and the endless challenges that keep me going. My favorite soap form of all is cold process soap, which I just started doing July 2019, but have researched since the beginning of my journey. It has always been a goal of mine to make it. Being the creative soul I am, I admired the versatility that came with soaping - especially CP soap. I was born to create. Throughout my life I have dabbled in many crafty hobbies, always finding a new one to learn. Creating with my hands has always been second nature to me. I love expressing myself through soap and creating something beautiful for someone to help make the skin they’re in feel beautiful too!
What's your favorite color combination at the moment?
I can’t say I have a color combination that I’m specifically into right now because color choice is always changing for me and there are so many amazing colors/combinations! I try my best to offer a wide variety of soaps, but you may notice in my work that I tend to add bold/vivid/bright colors no matter how simple a bar may be. I don’t have a huge collection of colorants shockingly, so often I’m mixing my colors to try and come up with new and unique concoctions. It’s one of my favorite parts of soap making - I LOVE COLOR!
What inspires you to create?
Most of all my boys, especially my son Mason Owen, who is the whole reason why I started this incredible journey. My customers always inspire me to keep on pushing myself with all of their continuous love and support. I am one of those people who is constantly thinking and creating in my head. I often come up with my best soap ideas at the most random of times. I can’t tell you how many soaps I have planned in my head right now, and all that inspiration comes from anything and everything such as colors, gardens, nature, music, movies, foods/desserts, seasons - the list goes on and on. Taking the simplest of things in life that I love and turning them into a beautiful skin-nourishing piece of artwork is what fuels my fire!
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get started?
There are a few pieces of advice I would give someone wanting to start out. Starting with research, research, research. Do your research and grow your knowledge. I honestly can’t stress this enough. I’ve been researching all kinds of soapy things for the last 4.5 years and I’m still researching with so much more to learn! Knowing the ins and outs of soap making is key, and the rest will follow. Another is before you go off filling your online cart(s) with all different kinds of soap supplies, resulting in way too much money spent... stop for a moment. Think about what you truly NEED to get going, start there, and start basic - you can expand and buy more later. Lastly, be confident in what you do and just go out and do it! If soaping is meant for you, then don’t let anyone stop you from doing it, especially yourself. Moments get hard. At times we feel defeated or scared moving forward. Find the people who will support your dream every step of the way and if you don’t have people who are supporting you, then open up to the soaping community - I know a lot of incredible soapers who would be more than happy to help! I wish I opened up to the community WAY sooner than I did. It is filled with incredibly genuine and talented people!
Who’s another maker you admire? What do you love about their work?
Shayna of Bearfoot Gypsy Soap Co. She has such a genius approach to simplicity and her work stands out along with her choices in color. I have also purchased her soaps and they are as luxurious as they look!
Have you experienced a fail? How did you work through it, and what did you learn?
I’ve had some major setbacks in my soaping journey that have prevented me from being able to make soap and start my business. These setbacks had me feeling very defeated and like a total failure, but I just kept going and never stopped. At times where I had a hard time lifting my head up or lost confidence in myself, I received the assistance of loved ones. The moments where I couldn’t physically be soaping, I would at least then read about it or watch videos to keep me involved and learning. I learned with my setbacks that life happens and that’s OK. You aren’t going to be on top of everything ALL the time, that’s OK. You may get behind, that’s OK. It happens. Just keep moving forward and never give up on yourself.
What plans do you have for your business moving forward?
I do great selling locally, but all I have ever wanted is my own personal website and I have finally made the moves to allow me to do so. I recently formed an LLC and I am in the middle of putting the finishing touches on my website. I also have plans to add some new products to my line that are not bars of soap. I’m very excited and ready to get back into other products as well, expand my brand. My biggest dream for my business is to open a storefront one day. It’s only up from here!
Michelle's top Bramble Berry picks
- Tussah silk fiber - It's so incredibly luxurious and makes soap feel silky smooth. I use it in EVERY soap I make, yeah it’s that good.
- Oat extract and lemon extract - They truly do add a very special touch to products!
- Shea butter - It is the best shea butter and only shea butter I use, and I’ve tried other suppliers.
- Lemon Verbena Yankee Type Fragrance Oil - This has always been one of my favorite fragrances - it’s one I always go back to and it’s delicious no matter what time of year it is.
What’s the first Bramble Berry project you tried?
The Natural Soap Kit for Beginners is my favorite Bramble Berry kit. I had a fear of trying CP soap for so long, especially with having little ones. It was a goal of mine to start making it one day. So for my first attempt, I purchased this kit and it guided me through the entire process with such ease! I highly recommend this kit to all who are just starting and need to kick that fear to the curb!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Soap
Find BombShell Creations Soapery