At the new headquarters of Bunny’s Bath, home of the local all-organic, handmade body products found on the shelves of the Port Townsend Co-op, no two workdays are the same.
That is what happens when one of the employees is a 5-month old baby.
“We play what we call, ‘hot potato baby,’” said Amy Pacifera, new owner of Bunny’s Bath and mother of Asha.
Pacifera and her husband, Gage, both work from home, she in her garage-turned-soap-making studio, him at his computer, doing web development. Their game of “hot potato baby” consists of taking turns looking after Asha. While taking over a business and caring for a newborn has been challenging, Pacifera would not have it any other way.
“I feel grateful that we’re able to be around her in these early months of her life,” Pacifera said. “But also, it’s a little crazy, because it’s non-stop all day long.”
Pacifera took over as owner of Bunny’s Bath in July, after the previous owner of 16 years, Port Townsend resident Lyn Faas, decided to sell the business she had built from the ground up, which she operated for years out of her home.
Collision of Talents
Faas, who had a background in environmental chemistry, started out giving her handmade, natural bath products as gifts, then graduated to selling them at farmers markets, and now her products are sold at a variety of local stores, like the Port Townsend Food Co-op, the Chimacum Farm Stand and Country Aire in Port Angeles.
When she decided to sell the business, she wanted to find someone local, who cared about natural products, and who would retain her loyal base of customers.
“I wanted somebody who was the right person and who was local,” Faas stated in a press release.
Faas’ decision to sell the business coincided with Pacifera’s desire for change, after years of working as a baker at cafes and bakeries such as Pane D’Amore.
“For the past year or two, I’ve been in this place where I really liked being a baker, but I felt like there was something else that it’s time for me to do. And I couldn’t put my finger on what that was,” Pacifera said.
Pacifera and Faas had known each other through Pacifera’s aunt and uncle, so when Faas announced she was selling her business at a Christmas party, Pacifera knew it was her chance for a change in career.
“I went to see what she (Faas) called the ‘Bunny Lab,’” Pacifera said. “I felt like Lyn and I clicked really well, and it started to seem like all the pieces were fitting together. Lyn has always said that what she does is cooking.”
It turned out that making soaps, lotions and candles took all the same skills as making cookies, croissants and breads. Not only that, but managing cafes and bakeries gave Pacifera confidence that owning a business was something she could do.
“Creaming butter into sugar with cookies is an important process and emulsifying the water phase with the oil phase is what’s important part with lotion and creams,” Pacifera said. “So for me, it’s this thing that is just in me, since I’ve been a baker for 16 years. I feel like it’s second nature.”
A Fresh Look
New ownership comes with new ideas. While Pacifera is hoping she can widen the customer base for Bunny’s Bath, she still wants to keep the loyal fans Faas gained over the years.
“My goal for the first year is to keep everything steady as she goes. For a lot of people, change is scary,” Pacifera said. “There are a lot of really loyal customers who really depend on a skin balm, or a lotion, or a face cream ... I’m committed to keeping what Lyn has established.”
Still, that does not mean change is not coming. Pacifera and her husband, who she dubs the “marketing director,” are hoping to rebrand Bunny’s Bath to appeal to younger people. They plan to always stick with the name, but the labels could be getting a fresh look.
Pacifera also wants to add some new scents to the line of lotion and candles.
“There are a lot of floral and citrus and fruity scents which I think are great and a lot of people like those. I would like to add some earthier scents,” Pacifera said. “I know a lot of my friends like things like sandalwood and patchouli.”
Pacifera is still in contact with Faas, who she says agrees the brand could use an update. Not only that, but Pacifera is just as committed to organic products as Faas.
“For a long time, I’ve been really aware of how what you put on your body ends up inside of you,” Pacifera said. “I don’t want lotion or face care to have a bunch of artificial things that aren’t going to have any benefit … or could be destructive or damaging.”
While Bunny’s Bath products can still be found online, at the Co-op, and other local stores in Jefferson and Clallam counties, customers can expect new scents and a fresh logo to be coming soon out of Pacifera’s home workshop, where she hopes to see the business grow and develop, and to delve even further into the world of organic body products.
“I see buying the business as an investment for my family. It’s exciting to know that Asha
is going to grow up making things with me,” Pacifera said. “I’m excited to see how I can grow the business and just to be in this new world.”