July’s Featured Artist is Brianne Lavallee, the one-woman show behind downtown Brantford’s Bathtub Bakery. A few years ago, Lavallee noticed that many of her coworkers were strong, female entrepreneurs. She realized that she also wanted to create something that she was passionate about. “If I could land myself in my own business that I absolutely loved,” she says, “I would never feel like I was going to work.”
She has always had a passion for eating delicious treats and creating new ideas. In 2016, she “sprinted” with the concept for Bathtub Bakery: a bakery-inspired bath and body treats store. She started out by making bath bombs in her home, taking orders online. Her product line quickly grew as she started recognizing how customizable bath products were, and how much she loved creating new, delicious-looking bath treats. Now, she makes items ranging from shower cupcakes, to cake slice bath bombs, to soap popsicles, to candles topped with whipped cream.
In the summer of 2018 she opened her first brick and mortar store at 35 King Street in downtown Brantford. Her business continues grow, even though she is the only one staffing the store and making the products! She regularly introduces new products; week to week you’ll find new scents, brand new limited edition products, and more. She loves the creative process of her business, like working with amazing scents, bright colours, and fresh raw materials. She loves turning favourite treats into bath products, and absolutely loves brainstorming. “It’s almost like my brain doesn’t shut off because I am always trying to come up with the next fun product to enter my store!” she exclaims. To read more about the products offered at Bathtub Bakery, check out our blog post about the shop that was posted earlier this year.
Lavallee has lived in Brantford most of her life, and is appreciative of a community that understands and practices shopping local as it “gives my business a fair chance to thrive,” she says. She also finds inspiration locally from other strong women, and particularly notes that Lush Lemon Co. is an incredible, locally-owned company with a high demand and strong social media presence that inspires her.
Like many of our small business owners that we feature each month, Brianne sought advice from the Brantford Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre (1 Market Street, Brantford). She particularly credits Julie Perkins, Small Business Consultant, for helping her with Bathtub Bakery’s success. “Upon meeting [Julie], I knew she just got me, and understood my concept. She was just as excited about it as I was… She truly goes above and beyond for anyone who walks into that building and is such a positive spirit to be around.”
If Lavallee had one tip for developing artists, it would be that feeling discouraged is totally normal. “Us creative people often feel stuck; it’s a common theme in the arts industry,” she noted. Being discouraged is the “perfect opportunity to grow into something that you love… anyone who does anything for themselves ends up changing their ideas, or modifying their passions a tad. Sometimes you roll with it, other times your mind gets confused and you end up giving up on your dreams… never give up!”