Member Spotlight – Erica Pence, The Bonnie Bath Co.

Erica discovered soapmaking in a roundabout way. After teaching and being a librarian for a number of years, she had a dream – to have an educational sheep farm, open to the public. After considerable thought, she decided to work toward her goal by putting into play some projects planned for the farm. One was a small gift shop with handmade products like wools and yarns, soaps, cheeses, etc. It seemed easiest to start with soap.

To become a soapmaker, she conducted extensive research, compiled countless resources,

recipes, tutorials, etc. deciding on products that were mostly natural. Finding sheep’s milk living in South Florida presented a problem. So she used the next best thing – goat’s milk went into making her first batch of lavender scented soap. She was hooked. She reached one of her farm goals and found it was very enjoyable to make. In addition, she and her family loved the skin benefits.

For the past couple years, she developed a full range of products, most using goat’s milk, essential oils and other natural ingredients. Besides soaps, she has lotions, body butters, bath salts and teas, tub melts, bath and massage oils, and much more, including a baby line of products and just coming out in time for the holidays, a fun kid’s line.

She stumbled upon that important niche market. Her daughter competes in Scottish Highland dancing, so they attended many Scottish festivals. Being partly of Scottish and Irish descent has led to many scents and designs centered around her heritage. Erica mainly sells her products at Scottish and Irish festivals, as well as local craft shows and will soon have an online store at www.BonnieBath.com.

Erica loves to network with others. She has developed two blogs. The Bonnie Bath Co. Blog, is designed for general interest in her products. Another blog, The Bonnie Bath Co. Blog Pro is designed for others in the bath and body industry. Erica’s teaching skills are reflected in posts of recipes, tutorials, social marketing information, general business articles, contests, and lots of features and spotlights on other great soapmaking businesses. It is her outlet and a great way to make new friends. Erica invites soapmakers to visit her pro blog and contact her about being featured BonnieBathCo@gmail.com .

That’s not all! She is the Herbal Wisdom and the Chandler column editor for the Saponifier Magazine. Erica joined the HSMG this year and volunteers on both the Social Media and the Members Programs and Services Committees. Thank you, Erica!! She enjoys being involved in the promotion of handmade soaps and working with others to achieve overall goals for the industry.

She is still working towards her farm but in the meantime continues to follow her dream one step at a time. After all, “it is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end” (Ursula K. Leguin).

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