Bramble Berry Athletic Club: Bonnie Garrity
Here’s another one of our BBAC 2012 athletes! Bramble Berry is committed to donating a portion of our profits to charity (and has been ever since we opened our doors!). BBAC is all about bringing YOU in on our charitable contributions. Today’s interview is with one of our star athletes from last year’s team, Bonnie Garrity, owner of Good Earth Spa. You can catch Bonnie’s BBAC teammate Andrea Edgar’s feature here. I hop you feel totally inspired after reading (I know I do!). There’s still plenty of time to apply to be a part of BBAC 2013! Check out the details here.
Tell us a little more about your charity and why you chose it?
I choose to support the American Cancer Society because I find it alarming how many incidences of cancer there are today. I know two people who are living with cancer today and it seems like I am constantly learning of more and more people being diagnosed with cancer. It is very hard on cancer patients and their families to go through the diagnosis and treatment. The American Cancer Society is funding important research. Initially, I wanted to raise money for independent cancer research for alternative and natural treatments but the first charity I contacted did not respond. After researching different organizations, I realized that my marathon event was already sponsoring the American Cancer Society and I would be one among many doing my part toward a common team goal. According to the American Cancer Society, 71.6% of the money raised goes directly to funding research so that seemed like a great use of the money.
How was your event?
The event was great. I spoke to a lot of other racers and everyone seemed to be having a blast. It got a bit rainy but I did not mind. The constant running kept me warm and the energy of the crowd kept everyone’s spirits bright. I decided to take a slow and steady pace since I had a recent surgery a month before running the half marathon. In the end, I surprised myself in that my time was not much different than previous half marathon times. I guess you could say that taking it easy yielded the same results as trying hard! So, that was a pleasant surprise. After my race was over, I actually got a little lost in Seattle and ended up walking another 4ish miles trying to find my car (due to a combination of faulty GPS and construction road closures). Luckily, some Seattle natives were able to point me in the right direction and I got to see a lot of the city along the way.
You can check out a short video of Bonnie’s race here.
What is your favorite Bramble Berry product and why?
It’s really, really hard to pick a favorite Bramble Berry product. I love the fragrances most and they are among the most purchased items that I buy from Bramble Berry for my soap making business. Some of my favorite picks include Dragon’s Blood, Celestial Waters, Energy, Green Tea, Indian Sandalwood & Christmas Tree. I feel confident purchasing from Bramble Berry because the products are top quality and fragrances are tested for use in soap making.
How did you get involved in soaping?
I started getting soapy back in 2007. I always had dry skin problems, especially in the dry winters. My skin would crack and bleed and commercial cleansers would make my skin feel itchy, burning sensations and constantly dry. After my twins were born in 2006, I had a lot of time at home and didn’t know what to do with myself. I played around with candle-making and melt and pour soap making but the glycerin soap also had detergents and while it was a little better, it still bothered my sensitive skin. I discovered hand made soap and one day I made my first Cold Process soap. It was an olive oil soap made in a one pound batch and molded in tupperware lined with plastic wrap. The soap turned out perfect and worked great on my skin. My dry skin problems vanished and I started breaking out less. I quit buying overpriced hypoallergenic cleansers and started making my own soap for a fraction of the price. A few years later, I discovered that I actually have an allergy to sulfate detergents, which are very commonly found in detergent based cleaners and bars found in the stores. I never knew the allergy existed but apparently it is what caused the dry skin, eczema like symptoms and rash. I now make my own laundry soap, dish soap and all other soap type products for myself and my family. In time, I started selling my extra soaps and then a small business formed.
Tell us a little more about your business!
My business, Good Earth Spa, started after many people around me wanted to buy my soaps. I’ve always had an entrepreneur spirit and wanted a way to earn money from home, so I could stay home with my young children. Making soap has enabled me to have a job I love that challenges me both creatively and scientifically (art and science were my favorite subjects in school!) I get to be my own boss and set my own hours.
The “Good” in Good Earth Spa is my business being able to give back. I’ve structured my soap business so that for every retail bar sold on the website, one bar will be donated to a charity or charity fundraiser. Every other month I select a new charity. With the help of my customers who I appreciate more than I can verbalize, I’ve been able to donate soap to homeless shelters, our troops overseas, raise money for environmental causes, help find cures for diseases and support organizations that empower and employ people in 3rd world countries. The “Earth” represents my love for things natural. I support organic agriculture and strive for a more natural product. The “Spa” is the feeling of being pampered. Everyone deserves products that make you feel good. I seek materials that promote health, pleasure and well-being.
I loved reading about your event, the research you did for the benefited charity, and the charitable contributions and “one for one” model that you’ve built into your business. Thank you for being a part of Bramble Berry Athletic Club, Bonnie!