Soap Wholesaler Opens Haleiwa Shop

Black Friday is a big deal for a lot of retailers, but for Bubble Shack Hawaii, it was huge this year: After conducting wholesale operations for the nearly 10 years it’s been in business, the natural bath, beauty and home products company opened its first retail location at The Plantation Shops in Haleiwa.

“It’s a really good time,” explains Holly Harding, who co-owns Bubble Shack with husband Ashley. “Over the last year, we have been analyzing the business … We realized that we are in just about every store we should be in, and we started looking at other opportunities to grow and expand.

mw-ent-120314-bubble

mw-ent-120314-bubble
Picture 1 of 4

Ashley and Holly Harding founded Bubble Shack Hawaii in 2005. They opened their Haleiwa storefront last week

“We thought it would be really great to be able to have one store where all of our products are under one roof.”

Bubble Shack creates vegan and organic products including body wash, loofah soaps, soy candles, lotion and more.

When the Hardings moved to Hawaii from Boston in 2004, Ashley landed a job in advertising, while Holly worked in marketing. In Boston, Holly had owned an entertainment agency, and the couple dreamed of starting their own business here.

“We were just trying to make it, and we were both just feeling like we were in the rat race,” Holly says. “We wanted to come up with something that was more of our own and we could put our own stamp on — and not just get by.”

Ashley, especially, always had enjoyed handmade soaps — so they thought they would figure out how to create their own.

“At the time when we started (Bubble Shack), we felt like the natural products on the market were just packaged in kind of a boring way,” Holly recalls. “It was really just kind of, ‘blah.’ We felt like we could put our own spin on it and make it fun.”

The venture started small, run out of booths at craft fairs and markets, but grew quickly.

“Before we knew it, people were coming up to us and wanting to put it in their shops,” Holly says.

Today, Bubble Shack products can be found in dozens of retailers throughout the state, including Whole Foods, SoHa Living in Kahala Mall, select Longs Drugs stores, Bed Bath & Beyond Pearlridge and more. It also makes a number of sales online to individual customers on the Mainland and in Japan.

Over the years, Bubble Shack has increased focus on items that are organic and environmentally friendly.

“We want to offer products that are good for (customers),” Holly says.

Plus, it is constantly expanding its product base. In 2007, for example, after adopting a stray dog that had wandered by their factory and really needed a bath, the Hardings launched a line of dog items, the Bungalow Woof Hawaiian Natural Dog Shampoo and the Bungalow Woof Hawaiian Dog Wash. A portion of the proceeds from the dog lines go toward no-kill animal welfare organizations.

That is one major advantage of having a storefront, Holly says: It provides them with a space and an audience to test out its new items.

The new Bubble Shack storefront is open (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily) and will host a grand opening ceremony from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 featuring food, giveaways and sales.

For more information, call 455-5900 or visit bubbleshackhawaii.com.

coconnor@midweek.com