This week, we speak to Hannah Pereira, co-founder of Bath Box. Starting out as a hobby, Bath Box has evolved into a multi-million dollar business in just a few short years since it was started in 2017. Hannah has built a reputation for colourful bath bombs that are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and 100 per cent made in Australia.
ISB: How did you get into making your own soap and skin products as a hobby?
HP: I moved to Australia from the United States after dropping out of university in 2014. I had a reliable collection of skin care products I would use in the USA, but couldn’t really find similar ones here, especially as I preferred natural and cruelty-free products. Years ago, I feel like these product features were quite niche (unlike today). I did look in many of the department stores, but eventually decided to learn how to make “DIY” facial masks, soaps, skin scrubs, etc. This became a hobby, spending my weekends making these products for myself and close friends and family.
ISB: Why did you decide to turn that hobby into a full-fledged business?
HP: When I had moved to Australia, my career opportunities were limited and I found myself working in hospitality and childcare, where I wasn’t passionate about the work. I knew I wanted to own a business one day, this is fueled by my parents, who are entrepreneurs, as well as my husband who is also entrepreneurial. He helped me create a website and as soon as I received those initial sales and positive product feedback from customers, I was hooked and never looked back!
ISB: What was your biggest challenge as you were starting the business, and how were you able to turn things around?
HP: The biggest challenge in the beginning was being able to get things done, without breaking the bank! When I assessed the costs to build a website, run online advertising, make my products, purchase packaging and materials, fulfil customer orders, have a large enough space to store everything, etc., it’s very easy to rack up a huge list of expenses that could have crippled my business in the early stages. To get around this, I focused heavily on keeping costs low by asking help from my husband, family, and friends. With some effort, I was able to find an expert in almost everything I needed for my business in the early stages, who was happy to help me for free or in exchange for lunch!
ISB: What drives you in your motivation to get ahead of the competition, despite the challenges that may be involved?
HP: I truly love what I do and have an undying desire for Bath Box to be the best. Although this wasn’t an initial driving force, it has come about as we broke through the initial “start-up” stage of business. Now that we are an established brand, I believe that the experience our products can bring customers is superior to our competition, and this drives me (and the team) to get our products in the hands of every potential customer in Australia. There will always be challenges associated with this blue sky thinking, but I think it’s important to acknowledge there are challenges in the way of anything worth achieving, and I believe with the right team, support, and systems in place, any challenge can be overcome.
ISB: What is the vision for Bath Box that you hope to achieve in the next couple of years?
HP: We have a large range of new products in the pipeline to launch over the next few years and hope that these, along with our current products, helps solidify Bath Box as a household name in Australia. Further to that, it is another dream of mine to share Bath Box with the world, starting with the USA, of course!
ISB: What is the most important lesson you think everyone should learn about being an entrepreneur?
HP: It’s really hard for me to say just one thing, but if I had to, I would say that entrepreneurs need to remember to be patient. Patient with everything. It has been a huge learning lesson for me because it is what led to some of my setbacks and I learned it the hard way. For example, when you start to see success with something, be patient and grow it slowly, ensuring there is a solid foundation for success. If you try to expand too quickly, you risk the entire thing toppling over. Likewise, if you see something as a failure, don’t rush and give up on it, be patient and try another way. Be very sure that you only give up on things when you have exhausted all options and are sure it is indeed a failure.