Interview with Pamela Gilden of Bath Treats by Pam
Here's our interview with Pam from Bath Treats by Pam. She makes amazing bath bombs. So amazing that my wife is already making use of them. :) We talked about how she donates using her business, some future products, and more! Enjoy the interview.
Start by telling me a bit about yourself, and how you got started with Bath Treats by Pam?
PAMELA GILDEN: Hmm I have a few different reasons on why I started bath treats by Pam. The first reason: I was tired of paying $6-$10 per bath bomb at the store. So about a year and a half ago, I started experimenting with bath-bomb making. After being pretty successful selling to friends and family, I started selling on Facebook and vendor fairs. But somewhere in between starting and now, I decided I wanted my products to have a cause. I donate 25-50% of all profits made from selling Bath Treats by Pam products to Kool Kat Animal Rescue. It’s also a great supplemental income to my teaching and Army National Guard pay. That’s awesome! I’d love to follow up more about that cause a little later. As far as that initial experimentation process, what was that like when you first started, as opposed to your process now? PAMELA: I started out with bare minimum equipment and a basic recipe. Then I experimented, adjusted, and started creating my own recipes based on Alaska climate. I can’t use the same recipes someone would use in a humid climate because it would be too dry here.
Oh, very interesting. I had no idea that was something that needed to be considered. Is that something that you discovered right away after making your first couple? PAMELA: Oh, it takes months to make the perfect recipe. It’s not as easy as people think. It’s about chemistry and reactions. Too much of one thing or too little of something can ruin the whole bomb or product.
Oh wow. So not only is there not a lot of room for error but it sounds like it isn’t salvageable if you go too far with certain ingredients. The chemistry side of things, is that something you’ve always found interest in or did you only discover that you liked it after starting your business? PAMELA: Pretty much. Well, I think everyone likes things that fizz and explode so chemistry is interesting.
Fair enough! I definitely agree. Going back to recipes, how do you come up with new ones? Based on what you’ve said so far, I’m sure there’s a fair amount of trial and error, but how do you decide what a new recipe will ultimately be?
PAMELA: I do a lot of research online and choose a base recipe, try it, and if it doesn't work the way I want it to, I tweak it. Hence the trial and error part.
Gotcha! That makes sense. Going back to the charity that you mentioned before, Kool Kat Animal Rescue. How did you decide on that one in particular? Love for animals being part of it I’m sure. PAMELA: I adopted two of my 5 cats from them!
Oh, nice! We have a pup that’s a rescue. What about the other 3? PAMELA: One was found as a kitten behind a dumpster and had to be bottle fed, another was a stray from Anchorage’s shelter, and the last one was found in a box in a warehouse last winter and we had to bottle feed him.
Oh wow. It’s great that you found them and were able to give them a home! And they all get along? PAMELA: All the boys do. The girl hates all of them. *laughs*
The boys are probably annoying. *laughs* I got off on a tangent there. I do that sometimes. Back to the business. This is sort of a two in one. When you started this, were there things you thought would be hard that were actually easier? And what struggles have you had to overcome? PAMELA: Well when I started it, I was still in college. It was during my teaching internship. So I was dead broke, and I didn’t realize how much it would cost to truly get started with all the equipment. So I did a lot of things the hard way at first to save up money.
Ah, I see. And there was a point where you eventually stabilized and had a good baseline of equipment and then you were able to run with it from there? PAMELA: Ish. I’m still upgrading stuff and buying new things constantly to be able to make different things.
Gotcha. That makes sense. What are some things that you're currently looking to upgrade to or add to your collection? PAMELA: I just bought some more display bins and another table. I also bought a KitchenAid for making bubble bath bars. And I just ordered about $300 worth of ingredients. Dyes, fragrances, and other things.
Oh, awesome! It sounds like there are some cool new things on the horizon. Anything you can tease? No worries if you'd rather keep it under wraps for now! PAMELA: I’m working on a line of Alaska-themed products. Northern lights being one theme.
That’s exciting! My wife is already making use of the bombs from our box and that sounds right up her alley. When you need to treat yourself, do you have a personal favorite out of all of your products?
PAMELA: No, I mix it up. No personal favorites. I like them all.
Cool! As far as The Bear Box, what was it that made you want to be a part of it?
PAMELA: I love subscription boxes and thought an Alaskan subscription box is cool. That's awesome. We're glad that you were excited about it and wanted to be a part of it. It's been a lot of fun connecting with new Alaskan business owners. Last question! Is there anything else that you'd like to share about Bath Treats by Pam, any events, anything like that?
PAMELA: Not that I can think of.
Okey doke! Well, that's all I have Pam. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It's much appreciated. Another big thank you to Pam for being in our Fairbanks box and sharing her awesome bath bombs with us! If you want to order more, or connect with her, please reach out to her on Facebook.