Sisters Isabel and Caroline Bercaw are Da Bomb
My interview with Isabel and Caroline Bercaw, founders of Da Bomb Bath Fizzers, kicked off similarly to those with other business owners. They were multi-tasking as we began, though it was high school they were juggling. “We’re doing well, getting ready for school and then doing some work,” said Isabel without pause. The self-proclaimed “sisterpreneurs,” are not your average high-schoolers. They started making bath bombs as a hobby at ages 10 and 11, selling at a local art fair. Within a few years, they formed an LLC, acquired a warehouse and now employ 150 people. Da Bomb Bath Fizzers are sold in more than 8,000 stores nationally, and every month 675,000 bombs are locally made. Together, they handle all aspects of Da Bomb, from social media and marketing to attending trade shows. This “accidental business,” has become a family affair, with both parents and their brother also driving its success. As the business has grown, the Bercaws have learned to juggle running a business with doing homework.
Tell me from the beginning, how did this get started?
Caroline: It started as a hobby, and we decided to make bath bombs because we always used them growing up. I guess we still are growing up.
Isabel: A bath bomb is something that you put into your bath. It’s usually spherical and when you submerge it in water, it fizzes impressively and releases fragrances, oils and color. We really wanted to make our product unique, so we put surprises inside of them, like a toy, message, jewelry or charm.
Caroline: We felt like there was space in the market for a bath bomb brand that wasn’t so much about relaxation, but more about fun. My mom has an advertising and writing background, and my dad was a business consultant at the time, so together they worked really well to support us.
How do you juggle school and building a company you never necessarily set out to start?
Isabel: First, it was really difficult because obviously, we’d never done this before, but now we get out one to two hours early from school depending on our schedule. That helps us balance a little bit, but still, we have to make sacrifices. If we want to hang out with our friends, we’ll just have to stay up a little later that night, or we’ll have to make up the work somewhere else.
Caroline: We’ve learned a lot about time management since we’ve started this. I’ll be in math class and answer a quick email, or we’ll be in the car on the way home from school and already be on a conference call. Let’s just say I work 24 hours because I’m always thinking about it.
Isabel: When we started the business we were so young that we never really had a definition of normal. So, to us, doing cool things outside of school is normal. But to other people, it’s definitely a unique situation.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far?
Isabel: We had a really awesome mentor through the MN Cup, Michael Miller, and he told us to never make decisions out of greed or fear. That’s something that I carry with me in my day-to-day business decisions.
Caroline: Something we’ve learned along the way is to expect the unexpected. If something can go wrong, it will, and you just have to accept it and know how to handle it in a mature way.
In addition to creating 150 jobs in the community, how do you give back?
Caroline: With our Earth Bomb bath bomb, we donate money to different organizations to help clean up the oceans. We’ve always loved the ocean and want to make the world clean and safe. We are also starting to donate to chronically ill teens with our Love Bomb. We’d like to donate even more but also have to think about whether it’s a good business decision, which is kind of sad. However, I’d really like to beat the odds of that because we’ve already beaten the age odds, so why not beat the donation odds?
Have you ever doubted yourselves or your abilities?
Isabel: Every day. Every day it’s always something that wakes you up at 6 a.m. thinking, “Oh gosh, did I do this right?” It’s always different. But you just have to be confident without being narcissistic.
Caroline: I also think sometimes people underestimate us because of our age. It was even worse when we were younger because we were 10 and 11. People thought, “Oh, you can’t even drive. You’re not even in middle school. How are you doing this?” And we proved them wrong. It was kind of fun for us to say, “Oh, actually we own our own business.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Isabel: Graduated from college and maybe not in Minneapolis anymore. I love traveling and seeing new places.
Caroline: I definitely know I want to be my own boss, so probably still working for myself. Potentially making bath bombs still. I think it’s important to explore, but bath bombs are something I have always thought about coming back to as well, if I ever go away from them. I also see myself traveling a lot.
The two sisters have big plans as they continue to grow Da Bomb Bath Fizzers, including international distribution and expanding their line of products. They also have a book coming out in August 2018. As they look toward the future, it’s clear the sisterpreneurs will keep striving toward big goals. In fact, Isabel Bercaw made up the perfect word for their success: “obliviosity,” which means, “I had no idea what my limits were, so I just went for it.”
Purchase Da Bomb Bath Fizzers at dabombfizzers.com and local retailers.