Bubble baths are usually seen as fairly feminine. But TOA Waters wants everyone to get the chance to enjoy this form of self care. The company is breaking stereotypes with its unique blend of scents and products. Learn more about the brand in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides premium bubble bath products.
Owner Javier Folgar told Small Business Trends, “We provide a high-end, handcrafted, luxury bubble bath, using only the |nest ingredients. Layered with irresistible scents
like sweet tobacco, limewood, and agave.”
Bucking gender stereotypes.
Folgar says, “People are tired of being placed into boxes. So many companies out there only offer bubble bath products that smell like roses and sliced cucumbers. Women are expected to smell like flowers, and men are not expected to take bubble baths at all, as it could impact their “image.” Enough is enough. We’ve created a line of bubble baths that burst gender stereotypes, one bubble at a time.”
How the Business Got Started
To provide products he wished existed.
Folgar adds, “I always loved taking a bubble bath. I am also an athlete (swimmer and triathlon participant) that relies on a warm bubble bath to aid in muscle recovery. However, when searching for bubble bath products, everything offered in the market smelled like roses and sliced cucumbers. Plus, there seemed to be a social stigma about men taking bubble baths. I wanted something different. I had a vision of creating a company that would kick societal notions to the curb and reclaim people’s bathtubs.”
Partnering with a major online retail outlet.
Folgar explains, “Our most recent, biggest accomplishment was securing a deal with “Touch of Modern”. This company is a members only e-commerce website and app focused on selling lifestyle products, fashion, and accessories to men. Our partnership has expose TOA Waters bubble bath to their large network of members across the United States. It has dramatically increase web traf|c, sales, and took the company to the next level.”
Launching and operating during the pandemic.
Folgar says, “When COVID-19 hit, supply chains were disrupted and the cost of raw materials sharply increased. As a result, we immediately implemented some changes to our operations and pricing strategy. First, we made sure we had enough inventory to handle our customer demands over the next 3-6 months. We also researched, evaluated, and selected several vendors that can provide us with the same raw materials, just in case one vendor was out of stock (such as glass bottles).
“Secondly, we re-evaluated our pricing strategy to make sure that we covered the increased cost of raw materials while offering a fair price to our customers. We ended up increasing our prices from $28.99 a bottle of bubble bath to $32.99. We closely monitored sales to make sure the increase did not negatively impact the company. Given that we provide a premium product, customers were not negatively impacted by these changes. If things took a turn for the worst, we could have lost customers based on the price increase.
“We also invested our personal funds (literally all of our savings) to purchase supplies in advance. If we did not sell our products in the coming weeks, we would have been in big financial trouble.”
Folgar says, “A company that doesn’t make mistakes isn’t growing or taking risks to bring itself to the next level. Honestly, I would not do over again any of the past mistakes I made (and I made plenty). These mistakes were a necessary process in order to learn and have the company grow.
“My hope is to create a company culture where mistakes are embraced and viewed as an opportunity to learn and grow.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Expanding production capacity.
Folgar explains, “As we continue to reach wholesalers nationwide, we will need the necessary equipment to increase our production. This would include purchasing additional equipment to bottle the bubble bath, mix ingredients, add a wax seal, label, and ship the products out. We would also expand our product offering into additional products such as bath bombs, shampoo, body wash, etc.”
Honoring the founder’s Cuban heritage.
Folgar adds, “The Toa River is considered the mightiest river in Cuba. The river is located in the Guantánamo Province of Cuba, which flows across the country. The Toa River is well known for its crystal-clear waters.”
Folgar is actually a conservationist by day, running TOA Waters as an additional project. He has more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit world, including working to end bat extinction around the world. He even brought this passion to the business in a unique way.
Folgar says, “TOA Waters’ bubble bath, Cara Cara, was inspired by the wonders of bats. This bubble bath highlights all the wonderful things that bats provided for us. Many may not realize it, but bats are amazing pollinators. They help pollinate such fruits as guava and agave – fragrances inspired by this sweet and refreshing bubble bath.”
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Image: TOA Waters, Javier Folgar