By Gailyn Jackson The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Piper Burgess says that the idea for her bath and beauty products company developed after her own struggle to find natural products she could use on her unique, combination-type skin.
The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
Piper Burgess, 19, founder and manager of Bath Bliss, has refused to let her age restrain her from pursuing her dreams.
In fact, she has done the opposite -- she has used her age to set an example to others and break free of the idea that higher education is a necessity for success.
When Piper was 16 years old, she knew college was not in her future.
"I knew I needed a career path, but I just wasn't interested in college," Burgess shared.
Instead, she looked to her dad, who owns Discount Tile in Beckley, for guidance. Burgess' dad started his own carpentry business when he was 16, the same age Burgess was when she created Bath Bliss.
Her father helped with the business aspect of the company, but everything else was left to Burgess.
At the time, she was a sophomore at Shady Spring High School, but after realizing she wanted to follow in her father's entrepreneurial footsteps, she left the public school system to enroll in an online homeschool program.
Within five months, Burgess had finished the entirety of her high school education, had received her GED, and was already formulating recipes for her all-natural, homemade bath and beauty products.
So, why bath and beauty products? What was the motivation behind creating Bath Bliss and a line of all-natural products?
Burgess said she struggled to find natural products she could use on her unique, combination-type skin.
"There aren't a lot of natural projects out there anymore that are easily accessible," she said. "I have always leaned more toward all-natural products due to my dry and acne-prone skin. It is so hard to find products for that skin type, so I wanted to create products that were all natural and easy for people in this area to buy.
"I don't want people to worry about what they are putting on their skin."
Multiple times, Burgess referred to her business as her passion, which is evident in her dedication to the craft. After many hours of careful research, she began creating her own recipes in her parents' kitchen and testing them on herself and her family.
Burgess said both her father and her mother were instrumental in helping her turn her dreams of being a business owner into a reality.
"If I didn't have my parents and their support, I couldn't have done this."
Within a year, she moved from her parents' kitchen and selling her products solely online to a brick-and-mortar store.
Burgess shared how she felt when it was time for her to open her own store, saying she was "very nervous but confident."
The self-made businesswoman celebrated her store's one-year anniversary on Sept. 30. In the past year, Bath Bliss' online sales have greatly increased.
"The business has grown quite a lot, not so much locally but across the country."
According to Burgess, her online sales consist mostly of monthly subscription boxes and wholesales that she sends to both small boutiques and larger companies.
Locally, the most popular items are her bath bombs, which are all hand-pressed by Burgess in small batches. Inside the Bath Bliss store and online, customers can find essential oils bath bombs, surprise bath bombs (bath bombs filled with various toys), and seasonal bath bombs.
They can also search through sugar scrubs, essential oils, body sprays, lotions, eyeshadow and many other products. Individual products range anywhere from $1.50 to $10, while subscription boxes and whole sales vary.
In just a short time, Bath Bliss has become quite the success, as illustrated by customer reviews. One bath and body reviewer said she was "blown away" by the product she tried, while another customer spoke of how his dog loved the doggie bath bomb he purchased.
One customer review stated, "Piper is such a genuine and talented soul! I've tried several of her products and have yet to be disappointed!"
Even though her business is already a success, Burgess isn't stopping here. She shared her many goals for the business' future.
First, she revealed that she wants to supply her products to larger retail stores such as Walmart and Target. She hasn't yet reached out to these companies but is instead working her way up by sending samples to smaller stores and boutiques.
Also, within five years, Burgess would like to either relocate her store to another state, or open other locations along with her Beckley store. She hopes to accomplish this by expanding her business locally, since her online sales currently surpass her sales from the brick-and-mortar store.
Because her business is still relatively new, Burgess cannot yet afford to hire employees. This means she not only manages Bath Bliss, but she also runs it alone. Her final goal is to eventually hire employees to help her with the retail aspect of her business.
Above all, Burgess said she wants to be a role model to others who are afraid to pursue other avenues besides college, or to those who are intimidated by their age.
"I want people my age to learn that there are more options out there for them than just college... I am not going to let anything push me back because this is what I want to do."
For more information about Piper, her business, and her products, visit the Bath Bliss website at bathblissbypiper.wixsite.com/bathblissbypiper or visit the physical Bath Bliss location, 1320 S. Eisenhower Drive in Beckley.