Spacebath creates bath bombs from natural ingredients to promote mindful living

Hospitality and travel are an integral part of Suki Lim Fonxin’s profession in hotel management – she has worked in renowned hotels and resorts including JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Laut Resort, Tanjong Jara Resort and DoubleTree by Hilton – and software engineering. “When I was in hotel management, I was serving guests and I was able to see their experience with the facilities and learn the feedback in detail. When I joined McKinsey (global management consultancy), I had the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia for various projects and to be the guest.

As someone familiar with both sides of the spectrum, she noticed that the least talked about facility on hotel premises is the bathroom, as opposed to hot tubs, beds or swimming pools. “Their amenities would have some sort of menu, like different types of pillows, bedding, and towels that customers can request. But bathrooms don’t have much of an impact in a hotel.

So Suki started a bath bomb business to add significant value to space and transform the user experience in hotels as well as homes. Established in January of this year, Space bath aims to help its customers relax. They include travelers, fitness fanatics, and those who lead mindful and healthy lives.

Like many others who found more time to spend at home during the lockdowns, Suki filled the hours by learning new skills. “There wasn’t much to do. So I took the opportunity to learn a few tricks and that’s when I started making bath bombs.

She followed methods and recipes from various sources such as YouTube and books, and tried to replicate skincare products. Was it easy to do from the start? “It was quite difficult because a bath bomb is delicate before hardening. It is a very sensitive object and can break. Making them is tedious,” she confesses.

Suki sources her herbal ingredients and vegetable oils from local suppliers. She uses common ingredients such as tea leaves, coconut oil, citric acid, baking soda and baking soda as a base before adding fruit and flower extracts such as as rose, lavender, jasmine, peppermint and orange.

Currently, Spacebath offers bath bombs with six scents. In keeping with its mission to provide relaxation, each fragrance is named after places around the world known for their beaches – Bali, Jeju, Hawaii, Miami, Seychelles and Kyushu. It also allows customers to customize the ingredients of their purchases.

One of the most important aspects of making bath bombs is getting the aroma right, notes Suki. “First, I choose the scent that will suit our target audience. Then I experiment by mixing one ingredient with another to make sure the bomb smells good. Sometimes the essential oil and the scent of the tea leaves don’t match. So I have to throw them away and move on to other combinations.

“It takes time to get the perfect scent. It’s mostly trial and error. When I imagine two different scents combined, I think they will work. However, when you actually make them, they don’t smell good at all.

Spacebath bath bombs expire after six months. Suki opts for an airtight plastic molded packaging that prevents moisture from entering. This ensures that the fragrance is maintained for longer. “If the smell of bath bombs isn’t strong, then you know it’s no longer fresh.”

Besides selling the products through a website she built herself, Suki joined a weekend bazaar in Kedai KL when she started. She discovered that customers weren’t really keen on buying the bath bombs because they didn’t have a bathtub at home. “Only those who have one or are going on a trip will buy it. But they won’t buy it early. They will wait until the date is near. For this reason, I no longer participate in bazaars.

The 29-year-old has since focused on supplying products to lifestyle brands and hotels. In the past, she has worked with Ark Workshop & Lifestyle, a local retail store which offers a selection of lifestyle products and gift sets.

“My vision is to partner with at least one hotel in different Asian countries by the end of next year. I am trying to approach hotels in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Sasa (a group of distribution of beauty products in Asia) contacted me, so that I could join forces and work with them.

Persistence and consistency are important for the business to continue, says Suki. “Initially, I knew nothing about e-commerce. I had to figure out how to make bath bombs, how to take photos and create a website, and the right packaging for the products. For example, after taking 10 bad photos, I will get a good photo. You should keep doing this until you are satisfied with the work.

The name Spacebath exudes a sense of individuality and serenity. Suki wants her brand to remind people of the importance of having your own space and taking time for yourself. “If you live with a partner, it will be quite difficult because you have to share every corner of your house with him. Thus, the bathtub will be a space for yourself.

This article was first published on November 21, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.

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