If you live in the US and have been crafting soap for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of Bramble Berry. Bramble Berry, based out of the western US city of Bellingham, Washington, has been a vendor member of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild for six years. “HSMG helps to further soapmakers in all of their endeavors, wherever they may be in their journey, and that’s what appealed to us about the HSMG and prompted us to join,” comments CEO Anne-Marie Faiola. Recently, we sat down with Anne-Marie to find out more about what makes Bramble Berry tick.
Anne-Marie’s journey from a career in law enforcement to the establishment of Bramble Berry is well documented, but did you know the name ‘Bramble Berry’ came out of piano-playing brainstorming sessions?
Can you imagine a workplace where the second-in-command puts on a raincoat and lets the entire company pelt him with eggs? Or where coworkers have dance offs, play softball, and enter trivia competitions? This is exactly the kind of workplace wackiness that occurs at Bramble Berry, where “…ultimately, the entire team embraces the zany and is genuinely game for anything”. As Anne-Marie says, “Brambleberrians rock!”
Bramble Berry sells a huge range of supplies, but, as Anne-Marie relates, “Ultimately, it’s absolutely a soap factory and we all are obsessed with the latest, greatest batch of soap. We genuinely live and breathe soap.” With Anne-Marie making 30+ pounds of soap and her team producing 10 times that for rebatch soap each week, Bramble Berry makes 8 tons or more per year. Wow. Conservatively estimated (and if you convey it with locomotive powers), that’s enough soap to run a 5K.
When not making soap, the Bramble Berry team is hard at work stocking new products and bringing more resources to the soapmaking community. This year, look forward to more recipes on TeachSoap.com, lots more SoapQueen.TV episodes, and a blog series featuring palm-free soapmaking. In addition, Bramble Berry is planning to stock both more exotic essential oils and a full line of silicone, no-line cold process soap molds.
Need a fragrance suggestion? While Bramble Berry’s 12,000+ Facebook fans are a great resource, Anne-Marie suggests personal favorite Energy fragrance oil “because it lasts forever in soap, gives tons of time to work with it (including for a recent batch that was a 12 color swirl!) and smells so delicious! In the essential oils, I’m absolutely obsessed with the tart, musky smell of Bergamot essential oil lately.”
While Bramble Berry’s Facebook page is undoubtedly their most popular social media forum, don’t overlook the Bramble Berry newsletter, which always includes exclusive recipes and coupons that you won’t find anywhere else. Bramble Berry won’t send you the newsletter unless you opt-in, so make sure you visit the home page and sign up to receive it.
“We are here to help,” shares Anne-Marie. “We love being industry leaders with our active blog, our YouTube channel, our forum, our Facebook page and all the customer interaction points that we have. We live and breathe small business, soapmaking and all manner of toiletries. We hope that our customers and friends take advantage of all the resources we offer to expand their craft. And yes, we’d love to see you as a customer as well. We advertise monthly specials in the HSMG newsletter (and our newsletter). Check ‘em out and try us out. We’d love to serve you.”
Thank you, Bramble Berry, for sharing a glimpse behind the scenes and for your support of the HSMG!