By Nila McGinnis
Jessica Hieger started off her day fielding a phone call from a man who clearly had not been introduced to the sensation that she has helped build-the tremendously popular spa product known as “bath bombs”.
“I saw your ad in the newspaper,” the older gentleman innocently said on the other end of the line. “I wanted to see if you could help me remodel my bathroom.”
“I’m sorry, sir. I don’t remodel bathrooms, I make bath bombs,” Jessica replied. “They’re fun blends of essential oils and other natural ingredients that people put in the bath to help them relax,” she patiently explained.
This isn’t the first time someone has been confused about what she does, but with the popularity of bath bombs continuing to grow, she suspects the frequency of confused calls will decrease. After hanging up the phone, Jessica gets ready for the rest of her day, where she works full-time in management at the Super 8 Motel in Troy.
After work, Jessica and her husband, Tom, often work for several more hours measuring out ingredients, brainstorming new recipes, and carefully organizing product packaging. Jessica is the owner and sole proprietor of Bath BOMBshell, LLC, a Troy-based company run out of her home, and makes custom, handmade, large-sized bath bombs of many different scents and styles. Bath bombs, as she explains them, are tightly compacted spa products that people use in the bath to receive benefits such as stress reduction, muscle relaxation, moisturized skin, and aromatherapy. The bath bombs she produces are made of a combination of baking soda, cornstarch, epsom salts, citric acid, and natural and essential oils.
To use a bath bomb, a person would simply fill a bathtub with warm water and then drop in the bath bomb, which fizzles up and diffuses in the water, usually leaving behind a relaxing scent and changing the color of the bath water.
Jessica’s love for bath bombs started a few years ago when she visited a LUSH store in Las Vegas, which is a national chain that specializes in luxury handmade bath products. After falling in love with the LUSH bath bombs, she made a first attempt to make her own after her husband nudged her to put her creative and crafting skills to work to try and save a few trips to St. Louis, where the area’s only LUSH store is located.
Jessica was able to successfully create her first batch of bath bombs, and officially began selling under a nameless brand at Troy’s Night of a Thousand Stars event in 2016. In the year and a half since, Bath BOMBshell, LLC launched, Jessica has grown to sell dozens of bath bombs each month, and has even expanded into the hotel business. After giving a few bath bombs to her boss’s wife as a gift, they loved them so much that the owner of Troy’s Super 8 decided to begin a business relationship with Jessica to put one of her bath bombs as a gift to guests in several of the higher-end suites at several of their area hotels. Jessica reports that much of her business now comes from her relationship with almost half a dozen hotels throughout Missouri and Iowa, although she still enjoys selling handmade and custom products to bath bomb lovers all over the area. She often attends area craft and vendor shows, and participated in Troy’s citywide garage sale on April 7.
Jessica says that her favorite aspects of running the business are providing a quality product to all of her wonderful customers, concocting custom products based on her customer’s needs, and getting to be creative while brainstorming new recipes for her bath bombs to create new scents and color combinations. She says that her best-selling products usually include lavender scents, but that her seasonal designs are also very popular, including the candy heart-themed bath bombs she recently produced to celebrate Valentine’s Day or her Christmas wreath bath bombs she sold last December.
Jessica stays busy crafting bath bombs, which are the only product she sells in order to keep things simple. She doesn’t know what the future holds for the business, but knows that as long as people keep loving her bath bombs, she’s going to keep using the creative skills that turned her hobby into a wonderful business.