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The Fizz Biz: from hobby to legit business, two sisters share all

When sisters Caroline and Isabel Bercaw showed up at a craft fair with 150 homemade bath bombs, the last thing they expected was to sell out on the first day. But they did—and their business has been blowing up ever since.

What started as an obsession with bath bombs turned into Da Bomb Bath Fizzers, a company that cranks out 500,000 bombs a month for retailers like Target and Ulta. The craziest part? Caroline and Isabel were just 10 and 11 years old when they launched their business.

So how’d the sisters make such a splash at such a young age? A lot of it has to do with the uniqueness of their product. Back in 2012, the girls loved the fun of bath fizzers—but they didn’t love how quickly the bomb would dissolve into nothing (leaving them disappointed way too soon) or how sticky and slimy they’d feel afterward (they’d have to hop in the shower *and* clean
out the tinted tub after every bath).

After months of trial and error—and countless bombs that, well, bombed—the Bercaws came up with a formula for a “clean fizz” with just enough moisturizing oils and fragrance that would leave them—and the bathtub—still feeling clean. The sisters gave the bombs catchy names (Snow Ball or Ninja Bomb, anyone?) and tucked tiny toys, charms or messages inside each one; it would be a fun surprise once the fizzling was finished.

The formula worked—and business boomed after that initial craft fair. Today, Da Bomb Bath Fizzers are sold in over 7,000 stores. Caroline and Isabel’s parents help run the company, which employs
over 150 people and makes millions every year. And Caroline and Isabel serve as co-chief creative officers, juggling Da Bomb Bath Fizzers’ social media accounts and appearances with other normal teen stuff (like, you know, school).

We sat down with the sisters to talk the future of fizzers, their #girlboss schedules—and the
importance of good old-fashioned hard work.

There are so many products in the bath and beauty industry. Why focus on bombs?
ISABEL: This business, above all else, is about fun and taking something really simple like a bath bomb and adding a surprise inside to brighten up your day. In a world where everyone spends most of their time looking at screens, the bath is one of the last places where you can escape technology and take a moment for yourself.

What was it like when you realized you could turn your passion into a successful startup?
CAROLINE: The business has grown at a crazy pace. At one point, we were making 20,000 bath bombs a month out of our basement and the neighbors would talk about how they could smell our bath bomb fragrances from down the street! That’s when we knew we needed a warehouse and office. And what I love most is that my whole family was able to get involved and we all really respect each other’s ideas and support each other. Our office is a place where I can always express my honest opinion.

Tell us about your greatest challenges.
ISABEL: It’s a roller coaster ride at our office! In the past week alone, a possible partnership with a retailer fell through, but the next day we signed with two other even larger retailers. Then we got our numbers mixed up and accidentally had 2,000 extra Spooky Bombs left over after Halloween, but we decided to donate the bombs to some deserving kids and they were totally excited to get a free bath bomb. Every week is pretty much like that—there are always triumphs and tragedies. You learn to roll with whatever comes your way without dwelling too much.

So what’s one of the coolest experiences you’ve had as an entrepreneur?
ISABEL: Once, I overheard a man say that women should stay at home and shouldn’t have careers. Then, he asked me what my father did to support my family. I looked him in the eye and said, “He works for me. I created a business that employs over 150 people.” I’ll never forget the look on his face.
CAROLINE: It’s been great to give back. We donate proceeds from the sale of our Earth Bomb to ocean cleanup efforts. We’ve donated tens of thousands of dollars to several different organizations.

How crazy is your average day?
ISABEL: We wake up at 6:45 a.m. I usually start the day with overnight oats and fruit, and Caroline has a slice of avocado toast. We make our own lunches—it’s just so much healthier than cafeteria food. We’ll answer a few emails on the ride to school together. It’s important to keep up with our inboxes.
CAROLINE: We get out of school early to head to the office at 1:30 p.m. every day. We earn course credits for our work, which is really helpful and allows us to balance our time. When we get home, we usually hit the books until bedtime.
ISABEL: We also squeeze in a little time to work out a few days a week, whether it’s crunches and pushups on the floor of our room or popping over to the gym for a quick run after work. We hang out with friends on the weekends, but we try to lay low and regroup on Sundays.

This year you’re launching new products and releasing a book about your story. So…what’s next on your bucket list?
ISABEL: World domination!

No doubt you will take over the globe, one bath bomb at a time. What’s your best girlboss advice?
CAROLINE: Just say yes! As our business grew, we kept getting really cool opportunities,
like appearing on the news and speaking to students about being teen business owners. We kept saying yes and each experience taught us something.
ISABEL: Put the work in every day. People always say, “Wow, you’re so lucky!” And yes, we got lucky because we came up with a really good product and we were able to build something amazing out of it with the help of our parents. But our success truly comes from hard work. We give 110 percent every day. You can have the best idea in the world, but it won’t go anywhere unless you do the work.

A version of this story appeared in the February/March issue of Girls' Life magazine.

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by Kelsey Haywood | 4/12/2018
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