Amy Wordsworth is the 27-year-old founder of Good Bubble, a new brand that is out to prove that it is possible to buy natural and high-quality bath products for kids at an affordable price. We asked A Better Place’s own Sophie Charara to talk to Amy (her friend of 15 years) to find out more about why parents should care about using natural products for their children at bath time, and what it takes to start your own health and beauty business.
A charming clutz, full of childlike wonder and just recently married to her teenage sweetheart, Amy Wordsworth’s mission to take on established, trusted toiletries brands could seem naively optimistic at first glance. Get to know her a little better, however, and you soon realise that her enthusiasm is that rare combination of intelligence, awareness, and determination. Not to mention the fact that she really knows what she’s talking about.
The Good Bubble’s first range of children’s bath products launched in April 2014. For 18 months prior to that, Amy collaborated on the careful development of the products with her parents, Sue and Les, who have been in the personal care business for 30 years. The family factory in Manchester in the UK manufactures toiletries for mainstream brands such as Baylis & Harding and Grace Cole, and this has allowed Amy to gain insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of the industry over the years.
The family business isn’t the founder’s only insider experience of health and beauty products, though. After graduating from university she worked in marketing in London for a year on accounts that included brands such as Pantene, Gillette, Olay, and Head and Shoulders. During this time she learned the tricks that the world’s biggest brands employ to both suggest certain health and beauty benefits and disguise nasty, chemical ingredients.
Amy also became aware that many parents were concerned with the safety of the products they use to clean their children. Within months, pictures of friendly looking children’s toiletries were plastered across the bedroom wall of her poky Camberwell flat as she began planning her own business. To adapt a Joshua Oppenheim quote, the foolish woman seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under her feet. Amy returned to her roots in Manchester and blossomed there.
she learned the tricks that the world’s biggest brands employ to disguise nasty, chemical ingredients.
“I’ve tried to stay true to the intentions I had when I started Good Bubble which is to create a good, decent brand that I’m proud of. There have been a few opportunities which I’ve passed up, where it’s been a question of morals. My advice is to follow your gut, and stand up for what you believe in.”
To that end she is as transparent as possible about every aspect of the products and the business. The range is free from sulphates, parabens, PEG, silicone, phthalates and artificial colour. All the products are dermatologically-tested and ophthalmologically-tested “for a tear free bath time”. The business is also registered with the Vegan society as none of the ingredients are derived from, or tested on animals.
My advice is to follow your gut, and stand up for what you believe in.
One thing she is particularly proud of is the fact that her toiletries perform as well as big name rivals – the most satisfying feedback is when bloggers and customers report that they get lots of bubbles from very little product, which is unusual for a natural range. (And, as any parent knows, the more bubbles the better the bath.)
There are four Good Bubble products to date, all 98% natural and suitable for children two years and up: Clean As A Bean shampoo, Smoothy Softy conditioner and Bish Bash Bosh! hair and body wash, as well as the classic Super Bubbly bubble bath. Each one is available with either dragonfruit or cloudberry extracts, with more superfruit variants planned for the future as well as detangling sprays, moisturisers and products designed for newborns and babies. Good Bubble hasn’t reached US shores yet but stockists include Ocado, Holland & Barrett (online and in the Chester superstore), Whole Foods Market as well as independent health stores in the UK and Ireland.
“We can only do one thing at a time. The packaging is recyclable and we are looking into packaging that is made from recycled material so we’re not even using new plastics. It does cost more, but as the brand grows I want to make everything kinder to the hair and skin, as well as kinder to the planet. We’re in a good place, but I just want to keep making it better and better.”
The range is not currently organic. That’s partly to keep the prices affordable enough for most families at £3.99 for the bubble bath and £3.69 for everything else. But it’s something Amy has understandably received queries about, and she would like to look into creating an organic range in the future.
“Our products aren’t organic, but they’re at least 98% natural,” she says. “So the 2% is the EcoCert approved preservative and allergen-free fragrance. EcoCert is one of the bodies that approves organic ingredients but the preservative isn’t organic. Our conditioner is more like 99% natural, as well as being biodegradable, because it doesn’t need as much preservative in it.”
I just want to keep making it better and better.
Good Bubble’s carbon footprint is low as the products are designed, manufactured, packaged and stored in the Middleton factory. All her suppliers but one are based in the UK, the cloudberry extract originates in Scandinavia, and the dragonfruit in Indonesia. Her parents employ around 40 local people in Manchester, many of whom have worked for the Wordsworths for years.
A safe and natural bath time is a noble enough cause, but Amy has also surrounded herself with talented collaborators including illustrator and children’s book author Kristyna Litten who created the Dexter Dragonfruit and Clara Cloudberry characters on the Good Bubble packaging.
“I wanted to explore this world of these weirdly named, wonderful fruits that are practically unheard of and that we could bring to life through these characters and stories on the bottles,” says Amy. “The range is aimed at toddlers and older children and I want to give them the stimulation that they thrive on at bath time.”
She has also enlisted the help of designer (and old friend) Samantha Meachin to turn Dexter and Clara into bath mitt accessories which will launch as part of a gift pack in time for Christmas. Amy is in talks with Save The Children around using the gift packs to raise money for the charity. This follows a successful campaign in which Good Bubble gave 10% of the sale price of products sold through Ocado, Whole Foods Market and Holland & Barrett to WaterAid, raising over £2,000.
From small beginnings come great things. “There isn’t another range that offers the same ‘free from’ benefits and the superfruit extracts we have”, Amy says. This accomplishment, paired with her commitment to ethical business and natural products, makes Good Bubble a must-know brand for families with young children everywhere.
Author: Sophie Charara