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Meet The Grade-School Sisterpreneurs Who Launched A Multi-Million Dollar Business

People

Think back to when you were about 10 years old. Like most kids, you likely had the foresight and motivation to finish your chores and complete your homework, and you may have even dabbled in crafts, sports, or extracurricular activities on the side. In 2013, Sisters Isabel and Caroline Bercaw were doing the same thing, only their adventures in making and selling bath bomb at the local art fair ballooned into a multi-million dollar business before they were even old enough to drive.


The Impetus to Make and Sell Their Own

“When we were younger, we loved using bath bombs, but most of the ones we were buying had over a dozen ingredients and thick, greasy additives. They left a lot of gross residue in the tub, and we felt dirtier after our bath was finished," Isabel told SWAAY. “So, we set out to create bath bombs that were simpler, and had just the right balance of color, fragrance and moisturizing oils."

Today, Da Bomb Bath Fizzers are sold at over 5000 stores around the USA, including Target, with a projected growth of 500 percent over last year's revenue. They've also got 150 employees — including their CEO mom, Kim Bercaw, and CFO/COO dad, Ben Bercaw — and have 30 SKUs with plans to expand the line in 2018.

Isabel and Caroline Bercaw.

In addition to being made with simple ingredients, part of the reason why Da Bomb Bath Fizzers have been so well received is because of their playful packaging and product titles.

For example, there's the “F" Bomb, Galaxy Bomb (which creates very Instagrammable black bath water), the Earth Bomb (which donates partial proceeds to ocean protection organizations), and Cake Bomb (made with sprinkles). Also, each bomb comes with a kinder surprise, to add an additional “element of fun" to bath time.

“When we were initially thinking about our package design, we decided to go with black because we thought the black would offset the bright, bold colors of our bath bombs," explained Caroline. “We hired a designer to bring our ideas to life. Beautiful, well-designed packaging was one of the first ways we reinvested in the business; that decision really paid off."

Organic Growth and Funding

Speaking of investing, what's even more impressive about this story is that the sisters haven't purchased any paid ads to promote their business. Da Bomb Bath Fizzers have grown so quickly on their own that they haven't had any need to formally advertise.

Instead, they've used Instagram and Etsy as platforms to spread brand awareness. Word of mouth has also played a big role in their success. And, they're completely self-funded, a fact they're very proud of.

“We've been really smart about putting money back into the business in order to grow it. We jokingly call this our 'accidental' business, because in the beginning we only thought of it as a hobby. We never had any idea it would become as big as it has. We kept getting more and more opportunities and we kept saying yes."

-Isabel Bercaw

Caroline added, “Our success has been a collection of thousands of small steps — mostly forward and some backward — that has brought us to where we are today. We've worked really hard, and we were so lucky we created a product that people love."

The Bercaw sisters say that what helps maintain momentum is taking time for themselves, which includes family bonding, unplugging, and traveling. When it comes to work, they've carved out time after school to focus on their business, and use these hours to address business tasks, talk innovation, and harness their upward trajectory.

Right now, they're working on a bath bomb recipe book, due out summer 2018, and have plans to create new products and expand into an international market.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.