A Family Business in Detroit Bubbles Over

Customers didn’t seem to mind the company’s first labels were hand-written.


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What started out as a class about bath products became a successful mother-daughter company and vendor favorite. The company asks customers the question, “Are you Bath Savvy?” If they weren’t before, they are now.

After learning to make soaps and lotions, Jan Reaves, co-owner of Bath Savvy in Detroit, shared her talent with her daughters. The girls quickly signed on for R&D testing in the home lab, trying various soap samples themselves. Made with all natural ingredients like Shea butter and essential oils, the product came to market with the help of Reaves’ daughter, Shannon, who held a marketing degree at Michigan State University.

Available at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, among other retail outlets, Shannon says “the products are just us doing something for ourselves.”

Bath Savvy’s first sale was at a Flint craft show. But it didn’t come easy. The company’s first labels were hand-written, and “strictly out of the kitchen,” Shannon says.

Unlike bath products that have sulfates and paraffin, which studies have shown can damage the bloodstream; the Reaves’ use all natural products like flowers and herbs.
In addition to local sales, the company exports its products to Jamaica, Iraq, Singapore, among others. The company also donates to different causes, including care baskets for cancer survivors and community events.

In the past year, sales have increased 25 percent, due mostly to increasing awareness online, including the company’s website and www.etsy.com. The company’s ultimate goal is to operate its own store, but for now, the main focus is direct sales.

“I believe that serving as an example is the one thing that I believe we’re attributing,” Shannon says, “because you can be bogged down with all the negative talk… but if you can hold yourself as an example to young people that this is an option — you can run your own business. I would like Bath Savvy to be a testament to that.”

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